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Father Mersberger and the Shrine of Our Lady of the Green Scapular collection

 Collection
Identifier: ML-017

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the personal papers and ephemera of Father Jerome Mersberger, pastor at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Green Scapular and organizer of the Green Scapular travel club.

Materials in this collection include school autograph books, creative writing, playbills, and photographs documenting his early life and studies, and entrance into religious life. The collection also contains documents and ephemera produced by the Shrine of Our Lady of the Green Scapular and the Green Scapular travel club based in Palmyra, Wisconsin. Materials include newsletters, pilgrimage announcements and arrangements, Christmas cards, correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, slides, and memorabilia.

The collection also contains a 50th anniversary publication and brochures on Fr. Mersberger's previous parish, the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Monona, Wisconsin.

Dates

  • 1931-2010
  • Majority of material found within 1960-1978

Creator

Access to Materials

This collection is open and available to the public for research in the Marian Library reading room. The materials are non-circulating.

Copyright Notice

The materials in this collection may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). The materials are available for personal, educational, and scholarly use. It is the responsibility of the researcher to locate and obtain permission form the copyright owner or his or her heirs for any other use, such as reproduction and publication.

Biography of Father Jerome Mersberger

Jerome Mersberger was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin on October 8, 1917 to parents Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Mersberger. He completed his elementary education at St. Peter Claver and Holy Name Schools. Mersberger graduated from St. Lawrence High School and Preparatory Seminary in Mt. Calvary, Wisconsin. He studied theology at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and received a Bachelor of Arts from the Seminary of St. Francis de Sales in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1940.

After being ordained in 1942, he served as associate pastor of St. Edward parish in Racine, and St. Bernard in Madison, Wisconsin. In 1950, he was appointed as the first pastor of the newly established Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) parish in Monona, Wisconsin. Father Mersberger served at IHM for 18 years, resigning in 1968. Upon his resignation, he was reassigned to St. Mary's Church in Palmyra, Wisconsin.

He served as pastor at St. Mary's until 1976 when he began to devote all his efforts to directing the Green Scapular Crusade, which encompassed a shrine-museum and the Green Scapular Travel Club. He directed the shrine and travel club until 1996, leading many pilgrimages and travel expeditions around the world. He passed away in Stoughton, Wisconsin, on December 2, 1998.

History of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Green Scapular

In 1950, Bishop William P. O'Connor established the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) parish in Monona, Wisconsin to serve a growing number of Catholics in the area. In December 1950 a statue of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was donated by a Madison family to the IHM parish. The statue was already well known for its blessing at Fatima and its personal benediction by Pope Pius XII.

In 1955 the Bishop gave the first pastor, Father Jerome Mersberger, a quantity of Green Scapulars saying that they might be helpful in strengthening the people's love of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and encouraged Father Mersberger to promote devotion to the Green Scapular. Interest developed rapidly, and the church began to attract pilgrims. In 1961, construction was completed on the World Shrine of Our Lady of the Green Scapular. When Father Mersberger resigned from IHM in 1968, he was reassigned to St. Mary's in Palmyra, Wisconsin, and gained approval to move the statue and shrine to Palmyra.

From the Shrine of Our Lady of the Green Scapular, the Green Scapular Crusade was established and encompassed the shrine, a small museum, and the Green Scapular Travel Club. Father Mersberger ran the shrine and travel club until 1996, 2 years before his death in 1998. His long-time housekeeper Marianne Zeier oversaw the shrine until her death, circa 2000.

Extent

1.5 Linear Feet (3 document cases)

Abstract

This collection documents the history and activities of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Green Scapular and the Green Scapular travel club based in Palmyra, Wisconsin. The collection also contains the early personal papers of Father Jerome Mersberger, pastor at the shrine and organizer of the travel club.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged by subject.

Acquisition Information

Donated to the Marian Library by the Shrine of Our Lady of the Green Scapular in Palmyra, Wisconsin in 2010.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Jillian Slater in 2011.
Title
Guide to the Father Mersberger and the Shrine of Our Lady of the Green Scapular collection, 1931-2010
Status
Completed
Date
2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Sponsor
Marian Library

Repository Details

Part of the Roesch Library Repository

Contact:
300 College Park Dr.
Dayton Ohio 45469-1360