By Dena Forret
In 1918, St. Boniface Catholic Church was built under the direction and leadership of a committee of church members. They provided us with a sound church structure that served us for many years and 12 inspiring and beautiful stained-glass windows that graced our former and now new church and education space.
Mabel Loschen, our window historian for this article, was interviewed and recorded many years ago by Bobbie Meyers and Blanche Stork. The audio cassette provided the information for the stained-glass windows donated in 1918. Mabel made a generous gift of farmland to our parish with directions the funds be used specifically for relocating the windows to our new church and reducing the building debt. At the time of our transition from the old to our new church, the stained-glass windows were removed, repaired, and stored until they could be transferred into our new church and education facility.
There are 12 stained-glass windows. The original members and donors who built the church and provided the windows back in 1918 are noted in this article. Family members, both living and deceased, who are descendants of the original donors, are also listed. You may find many names sound familiar since the families have remained life-long members of our parish.
The largest and most impressive of our windows, The Crucifixion of Jesus, was placed in our parish chapel. This window was donated by the Ladies Aide Society and St. Boniface parishioners.
St. Pat’s window was donated by Thomas “Patrick” Cushing who at the age of 19 came from New York to Iowa. His wife, Elizabeth, was a Forret. Mabel Loschen lived with the Cushings from the age of five or six years of age after the death of her parents. She became a part of the very large and historical Forret family that came to America in 1863 and settled on the Cushing Farm.
Before St. Boniface Church was built, a visiting priest came from Granger. Mabel shared that her parents traveled by covered wagon during Christmas and Easter for services at the old St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Des Moines.
St. Agnes’s window was donated by Matt Forret who was grandmother to Helen Palmer, Billie and Francis Forret and Grace Merical.
St. Boniface’s window was donated by Nick Forret who was grandfather to Mary Woodward, Hazel Lauterbach, Buddy Forret, Eva Pegram and Louise Warner.
St. Thomas’s window was donated by the Thomas Lacy family. The family moved right after the church was built.
St. James’s window was donated by the T.C. Robison family who was grandfather to George Robinson and Mary Spatz.
The Virgin Mary window was donated by the Ann Moran family in memory of Daniel Moran and their daughter Elizabeth. Daniel Moran was the great grandfather to Phil Broderick.
St. Cecilia’s window was donated by Carrie Weil in memory of her sister who died very young. Carrie was a teacher and mother to Francis and Leo Weil.
St. Mary’s window was donated by Frank J. and Hazel Forret, parents to Alan and Bernard Forret.
St. Ann’s window was donated by Anthony Forret, whose wife’s name was Ann. Anthony was father to Frank Forret, Nellie Meyer and Bud Forret and grandparents to Alan Forret, Pam Proudy, Charles “Buss” Jordan, and Bonnie Thompson.
St. Joseph’s window was donated by Ed and Kate Broderick. They were parents to Ed Broderick Jr. who was father to Dick Broderick (husband to Pat Broderick), Tom Broderick, Anna Broderick, William Broderick, Charlie Broderick who was father to Phil Broderick, Leo Broderick who was father to Ed and Jim Broderick, and Mary Broderick who died at four years of age.
St. Paul’s window has no designated donor.
As you read through the history of donations, you will see the repetition of a familiar name, Forret. I knew the Dallas County Forrets before my marriage to Bill (Willis) Forret of West Des Moines. I attended school with the Forret families in Waukee. The families from Adel were in the same St. Boniface CCD religious education programs that I attended. My husband Bill was baptized Lutheran. Since our 1969 marriage, he has participated with me in the only church I have ever known and also the church his ancestors helped to establish in 1918.
Continue your journey into the past history of St. Boniface by viewing all the windows in our online album.