Last week I traveled to St. Nazianz, located in southern Manitowoc County, on assignment and discovered the St. Gregory Parish Cemetery. It is quite a peaceful place, situated behind St. Gregory Church, which was built during the Civil War and completed in 1868.
The Village of St. Nazianz has a colorful history. It was founded by a German priest, Fr. Ambrose Oschwald, in 1854. Earlier that year, he led a group of parishioners from the Diocese of Freiburg in Germany to the United States to establish a colony. He even wrote a list of statutes that governed the colony. The 29 sections of the colony’s statues guided their existence. “Those who will not obey the rules and the regulations … cannot be admitted in the parish, nor remain there,” according to Section 29.
Fr. Oschwald established the Loretto Monastery for the Oschwald Brothers, a convent for the Oschwald Sisters and a community of faithful Catholics. In its heyday, St. Nazianz was home to an orphanage, a high school and a seminary (run by the Salvatorians).
The remains of many of this village’s leaders who helped build St. Nazianz are now resting in the parish cemetery. (Fr. Oschwald was buried in a tomb beneath a shrine he built on Loretto Hill.) If you’re in the area (about 12 miles west of Interstate 43 on Highway C), stop by St. Gregory Church and Cemetery. It is a place filled with beauty and history.
Below is a slideshow of images from the cemetery.