Francis Xavier Pierz

Francis Xavier Pierz

Francis Xavier Pierz

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Francis Xavier Pierz ( or Franc Pirec; ) (1785–1880) was a Roman Catholic priest and missionary to the Ottawa and Ojibwa Indians. Because he was also responsible for attracting large numbers of Catholic German Americans to settle in Central Minnesota, he is referred to as "The Father of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saint Cloud".

Early life

Father Pierz was born on November 20, 1785 to a peasant family in Godica, near the Carniolan town of Kamnik in the Austrian Empire. He entered the seminary of Ljubljana in the fall of 1810 and was ordained on March 13, 1813 by Bishop Antonius Kautschitz. Two of his brothers also became priests.

After seven years as assistant pastor of the mountain parishes of Kranjska Gora and Fužine, he was appointed parish priest of the villages of Pece and Podbrezje. After years of attempting to improve farming methods among the poor farmers of his parish, he published the book Kranjski Vertnar (The Carniolan Gardner) in 1830. His efforts led to his being awarded a medal of honor by the Carniolan Agricultural Society in 1842.

Missionary

In 1835, Pierz departed for the missions of the United States after years of eagerly reading the letters of the Slovenian missionary priest, and future Bishop, Father Frederic Baraga. He arrived in the Diocese of Detroit on September 16, presenting his credentials to Bishop Frederick John Conrad Rese. As Lake Superior, had already frozen, Father Pierz was prevented from immediately joining Father Baraga...
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