The scrapbook is a collection of 40 pictures taken of various churches, chapels, rectories and schools around the diocese during the administration of Bishop E. B Ledvina. Most are annotated in his own hand.* They are a silent testimony to the growth of the faith around the diocese, which at that time included the Valley and Laredo.
When the Bishop arrived in 1921 much had been destroyed by the violent storms of 1916 and 1919. These two hurricanes wrecked chapels, schools, convents, and rectories over a vast area.
The Bishop found his priests living in one little room for a rectory. Often there were no floor coverings, an old kitchen table served for a desk and an army cot for a bed. Many convents were in similar condition. Some had no ceilings so at night the stars were visible through the cracks in the roof. He spoke to Sr. Mary Xavier Holworthy, IWBS about the situation.
“All the money I can get, all the energy I can put forth, I shall spend it on the Missions, this is my aim—to build up the poor missions.”
Bishop Ledvina also took special interest in improving the living quarter and conditions of the priests and sisters. The chief source of funds for all this development were the Catholic Church Extension Society, the Commission for Catholic Missions among the Colored and the Indians and other mission agencies.
In some instances local laity provided funds for churches and other buildings; sometimes making contributions during his Confirmation visits. As a result of Bishop Ledvina’s missionary zeal the number of churches grew to fifty-seven. There were besides, one hundred fifteen missions and stations where Catholic needs and ministration were attended, thirty-four parochial schools, six academies for girls, and three academies for boys.
Source: History of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, TX, Holworthy, Sr. Mary Xavier, 1939.
Digital photography: Glenn Goldapp; Text: Geraldine McGloin