Quincy News

St. Katharina Kasper canonization commemorated with local ties

Monsignor Leo Enlow of St. Peter Catholic Church leads a prayer service Thursday on St. Vincent’s Nursing and Retirement Campus. The service commemorated the canonization of St. Katharina Kasper, who founded the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, which built St. Vincent’s Home in Quincy. | H-W Photo/Matt Hopf
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Nov. 8, 2018 8:50 pm Updated: Nov. 8, 2018 8:56 pm

QUINCY -- Ann Reis made sure to mention how St. Katharina (Catherine) Kasper was a part of the campus of St. Vincent's Nursing and Retirement Campus in Quincy from the streets to the Casita Catherine Assisted Living Home.

Mentioning the Blessed Catherine Community Center, she realized that the name would probably need to be changed to Saint Catherine.

Reis described the commitment the facility has to Kasper on Thursday during a prayer service commemorating Kasper, the founder of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, canonization Oct. 14 by Pope Francis. The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ built the original St. Vincent's Home in Quincy in 1884 and operated it until 1968.

Reis is the daughter of the late Wayne Messick, who bought the nursing home in 1990 and restored it to the St. Vincent's name. At the time, the facility was known as the Lincoln Hill Nursing Home. Her family continues to operate St. Vincent's.

"I remember (Dad) telling (Mom), ‘I'm going to buy the home, and I'm going to bring St. Vincent's Home back,' " she said. "And Mom says, ‘Oh, my, Wayne, you have enough on your plate.' Dad was ill at during that period of time with cancer, but in 1990 he purchased St. Vincent's home."

The statue of St. Vincent DePaul also was rededicated. It sat in the original St. Vincent's Home building, which was built in 1884 and demolished in 1990. The statue was carefully removed from the building with a crane. It now greets visitors at the nursing home's entrance.

"He said, ‘If there's one thing I want, I want that statue,' " Reis said.

The family also owns another facility in Carlyle, which was originally run by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ.

Reis remembered how her father, a Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ associate, was dedicated in running the facilities.

"I think Dad became committed to Blessed Catherine Kasper and prayed to her," she said.

Founded by Kasper in 1851, the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ advocate for the poor, sick, those with disabilities and the elderly. The organization first came to the United States in 1868.

Monsignor Leo Enlow, of St. Peter Catholic Church, said though poor and uneducated, Kasper was singled out at early age "to do some marvelous things for God."

She possessed a wisdom that was otherworldly," Enlow said. "Basically, she thought about others and not just herself. She had deep faith, an attentive ear and a very courageous heart, and what all of those things combined did was help her through the many difficulties that she encountered and arriving at a dream of a religious congregation."

Kasper died in 1898.

Canonization for Kasper took more than 70 years, with Kasper beatified April 16, 1978, by Pope Paul VI.

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