Mrs. Thomas F. Taylor, Champion for the Paulists in Austin, early 1900s-1908
Published in the Parish Bulletin on April 19, 2015
Fr. Michael Carey, CSP, & Fr. Charles Bradley, CSP, 1910-1914
Published in the Parish Bulletin on June 14, 2015
In the fall of 1910, Fr. Michael J. Carey, CSP, was appointed Pastor of St. Austin’s Chapel. Fr. Charles Bradley continued as Assistant. The priests were frequent visitors in the homes of the parishioners. A note in the“History of St. Austin’s Parish” says these visits formed a bond between the Pastors and their flock. “The Priests were strangers in a strange land and lonely; they welcomed this touch of family life.”
Fr. Carey organized an inquiry class and held conferences with the University students. At the same time, theAltar Society expanded and began hosting breakfast for the children of the First Communion class and also theNewman Club on their Communion Sunday.
Fr. Carey introduced the rental of the church pews and the name plates of many families remained on thepews for several years. Many older parishioners continued to occupy the same pews as the early parishioners did.
Father Bradley left St. Austin’s in the fall of 1911. He was transferred to San Francisco to begin work with theChinese Mission. He was succeeded by Father John Handly, a convert to the Catholic faith and a journalist before becoming a priest. Father Carey left Austin in the spring of 1914.
Fr. John Elliot Ross, CSP, Assistant Pastor and Pastor, 1914-1923
Published in the Parish Bulletin on July 5, 2015
More than 140 Paulist priests have served St. Austin Parish since its beginnings in 1908 and the University Catholic Center since 1964. Some were here for brief periods, others stayed for years, and still others returned several times. Fr. John Elliott Ross first came as an Assistant Pastor in the fall of 1914 and was named Pastor in 1915, a position he held until 1923.
Father John Marks White Handly (pastor, 1914-1915) described Fr. Ross in an article he wrote for the Missionary: “Father Ross was the first Paulist to come to Austin accredited with the titles of University training. The faculty and the community of the University had been waiting for just such a man. The Catholic foundation was at last represented by one whom the University could consider an equal. As Doctor of Philosophy, Father Ross had specialized in ethics and political economy.”
Father Ross later wrote a book on “Christian Ethics” as a textbook for his class in Catholic Theology. He left St. Austin in 1923 to be the Chair of Moral Theology in the Paulist Seminary in Washington, DC.
The Newman Club, 1915
Published in the Parish Bulletin on May 3, 2015
St. Austin was a young parish in 1915, when Fr. John Elliott Ross became parish assistant to pastor Fr. Theodore Petersen. Fr. Ross was also the chaplain of the Newman Club, which had its own building next to the church. It was the efforts of Fr. John Marks White Handly that got the Newman Club built with a national fund raising effort.
The Newman Club’s new home caused quite a stir in the anti-Catholic press of the time. The national anti-Catholic paper, “The Menace,” published an article entitled “Corrupting a State University” on July 10, 1915. Fr. Ross quoted from the page 4 article: “The Paulist Fathers have inserted the papal wedge at the great State University of Texas at Austin.” The article further states that this Newman Club was founded “at the command of the late Pope Pius X.”
The Newman Club served for almost 40 years as the center of a busy campus ministry. It was demolished in 1952 to make way for the new church and rectory.
This early building had three stories of brick and stucco that displayed touches of Mexican Mission style. A large assembly room filled the first floor. There were classrooms, a library and a chaplain’s office on the second floor. There were living quarters and a chapel for the three Paulist priests on the third floor.
The Dominican Sisters and Opening Newman Hall and Newman School, 1917
Published in the Parish Bulletin on May 17, 2015
It was in 1915 that Fr. John Elliott Ross met Mother Mary Pauline Gannon. She was the superior general of a Dominican teaching sisterhood in Galveston. According to notes from the “History of St. Austin’s Parish, 1908–1947,” Mother Pauline wanted her nuns educated at the University of Texas. She wanted to establish a residence where Dominicans and other nuns could live together.
At this same time, Fr. Ross and Fr. Theodore Petersen were being encouraged by Bishop N. A. Gallagher to start a parochial school. On March 22, 1917, the Bishop, the Dominican sisters and the Paulists reached a three-way agreement to sell the corner lots on Guadalupe Street to the sisters for a residence to be called Newman Hall. This would become a dorm for women students at the University.
The Paulists used the money from the purchase of the property and other funds to buy two small houses on San Antonio Street. This was the beginning of a school named after Cardinal John Newman to be taught by the Dominican sisters. The sisters were already involved with another school called Holy Rosary School in the neighborhood. Some years later, Newman School was renamed St. Austin’s School, and a new school building was built in 1954.
Our Updated Parish Logo and Mission Statement, 2007
Published in the Parish bulletin on May 24, 2015
Something new and different happened at St. Austin’s in 2007. A parish graphic image and a mission statement took shape under the guidance of the Parish Staff and Pastoral Council. At that time, Pope John Paul II urged the Church to be more active in the modern world through verbal and visual statements.
The parish mission statement introduces St. Austin’s to the world by proclaiming that this parish is “striving to manifest God’s transforming love in the world.” The next step was to create a visual introduction for the parish. Since the parish’s beginning in 1908, we have been known as St. Austin, after the great Roman missionary, St. Augustine of Canterbury. This monk and his band of missionaries brought the Gospel message to the whole of southern England.
One symbol stands out from this story – the mighty oak tree. Augustine and his followers were greeted under the branches of a great oak by King Ethelbert when they landed in England. In the symbolic language of the Anglo-Saxon world, the oak tree stands as a prime expression of hospitality. The committee planning the new graphic image saw the oak tree as a fitting expression of our parish community.
The new graphic image includes the marks of this parish: the name of our patron saint, our oak tree symbol of hospitality, and the cross of Christ. Look for St. Austin’s graphic image on the front of the bulletin and on all parish printed material.