Bibiana Boerio a Latrobe Resident

COVER PHOTO: Bibiana Boerio, a Latrobe resident who happened to read Rambles and Raves when I wrote about Fr. Philip Brady, just happened to be the Saint Aloysius founder's great great niece. And since she knew that he had come to Holy Family in Latrobe (where I served as PV from 23 August 2005 to 5 July 2007) in 1898 she did some research and found this photograph of the good father. The material (from an old history of Holy Family parish) contained additional biographical information on Fr. Brady, info I had previously not known.

Father Brady began life in far away Edgeworthstown, County Longford, Ireland, receiving his elementary training at the schools of his native place. He entered the college at Mount Mallary to pursue his higher studies, but, before their completion, he came to America and entered the diocesan seminary at Pittsburgh where he finished his courses in theology and was ordained to the sacred ministry, December 20, 1873.

It was his first appointment which proved to be the most interesting one in his career. He was sent to Meyersdale with its several out missions, the principal one of which was the village of Dunbar in Fayette County. Dunbar owed its existence to a blast furnace built in the early seventies and its name to Colonel Thomas Dunbar, who was second in command of General Braddock's ill-fated expedition against Fort Duquesne in 1755. Catholic laborers employed at the furnace were at first attended by a priest from Connellsville. [How history has a way of coming full circle!]

The first mass had been said in a private home in March, 1873. Seeing the future prospects of the place, Father Brady decided to build a church. The cornerstone was laid about June 21, 1875. The church was finished the following summer and it was dedicated on July 25, 1876.

The growing importance of the place and its more convenient location induced Father Brady to build a house and transfer his residence there the following October, although he ministered to the congregation at Meyers-dale till September, 1876. A school house was built and a school was opened in 1878.

For a time Father Brady also attached a station at Lemont Furnace, five miles further south, where a church was built soon afterward and placed under the care of the pastor of Uniontown. He was transferred to Huntingdon in August, 1881...

Now if I could just track down a picture of Fr. Waters!


In my unrelenting effort to track down THAT pic I spent time online searching through old newspapers looking for references to him (thanks to Fayette County Cultural Trust Executive Director Daniel Cocks for his help). I was especially hoping when his death was reported in 1918 a picture would have been included. no luck.

I did, however, find a fascinating article with the intriguing title "Insane Priest is Arrested" from November 1903:

The Rev. Robert Waters, assistant pastor of St. John's Cathedral, Altoona, Pa., who arrived in Washington this morning and who intended to visit the President today, is being held in St.

Elizabeth Insane Asylum until his friends can be communicated with. The priest arrived here early this morning from Westernport, Md. His peculiar actions on the train attracted the attention of the passengers and when the train arrived here policeman were cautioned as to his strange mental condition.

The priest was taken to the police station, where he said he was bound for the White House. "The President is going to give me $2,999,999.99 to defray my expenses to Rome. I'm to be a cardinal and I'm to be made pope in the last days," he said. He said further that "Roosey," as he called President Roosevelt, was to furnish him a battleship and a cruiser to take him to Rome…

He has been mentally deranged for several years, his trouble dating back to an injury received while driving. His horse ran away and he was thrown out, sustaining a fracture of the skull. About six months ago his insanity be-came so pronounced that he was relieved of his priestly functions and sent to a monastery at Loretta. Early in October he went to Westernport, Md., for treatment. He is a native of Ire-land, 50 years old and formerly held a charge at Newry, this county.

(Just like the Greensburg Diocese in 1951, Altoona Diocese was split from the territory of the Diocese of Pittsburgh in 1901. At that time Fr. Waters was serving as Pastor in Newry, Blair County. Thus he died a priest of the Altoona Diocese and NOT of Pittsburgh. The Diocese was renamed Altoona-Johnstown in 1957.)

Again, history has come full circle as ANOTHER "Father Robert" holds the pastorate of Immaculate Conception, And more than a few might argue that he too, is INSANE!


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