St. Joseph Parish
Reverend Patrick Heppe, Pastor
818 N. East Ave.
Waukesha, WI 53186
Monday 8:00 am- 4:30 pm
Tuesday 8:00 am- 4:30 pm
Wednesday 8:00 am- 4:30 pm
Thursday 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Friday 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
About St. Joseph
In 1842, Fr. Martin Kundig, founder of St. Joseph Church, said Mass in a log house on East Avenue and Main Street on land donated to the Catholics by Solomon Juneau founder of Milwaukee. Fr. Kundg was a zealous missionary priest from Switzerland who laid groundwork for St. Joseph Catholic Church in Waukesha.
Work began on their own stone church around 1847, and was completed in 1849. As the story was told, Fr. Kundig's parish took in a large area and was too poor to keep a horse. At services on Sunday morning, when the parish went through much illness, he asked the congregation to be patient. He would see them as fast as he could, although the distances were great and he had to walk. After services, several young women agreed to set aside enough money from their small earnings to buy Fr. Kundig a horse. This was a great sacrifice in as much as 50 cents a week was placed into a parish fund.
The present St. Joseph Church, an imposing stone building in a Gothic style, was built between 1888 and 1890 at a cost of $43,787, including the furnishings. The old stone church was just north of it was converted into a parish hall.
In 1902, the old stone rectory was replaced by a frame building. In 1917, a school was erected around the parish hall. the convent to the south of the rectory was remodeled and enlarged.
In 1914, John Paradise converted lighting in the church from gas to electric.
St. Joseph Parish has taken the leadership in providing spaces for church worship and educational facilities for Waukesha's growing Catholic population. In 1949, Catholic Memorial High School was opened in a 30-acre site purchased in 1944 for $50,000.
There was much excitement at the St. Joseph Organ Dedication Recital on September 23, 1988, followed by a Mass of Thanksgiving for the Church Rededication on September 25, 1988, celebrating 100 of worship.
Since that time, the parish has had pastors Fr. Ron Gramza, Fr. John Brophy, Fr. Michael Michalski, and Fr. Bill Key. The Franciscan Sisters of the Christian Charity have also served the parish for a period of 123 years and were withdrawn from parish services in recent years.
St. Joseph's parish is known as "the Church of Second Chances” and has over 1200 registered families.