Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington



From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302


Compiled by Father Tom Caswell, for the Inland Register

(From the June 18, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)

From the Inland Register – Volume LIV, No. 4 Fifty Years Ago: May 23, 1965

St. Joseph Academy in Sprague to end 79 years of service

Sister Charlotte Marie, Mother Provincial of St. Ignatius Province of the Sisters of Charity, has announced that St. Joseph Academy, Sprague would close at the end of the current school year after 79 years of operation.

She attributed shortage of personnel as the major reason for closing the grade and high schools, as well as the boarding department. The Sprague academy was the last boarding school still in operation by the province.

The Academy celebrated its Diamond Jubilee in 1962 with a pageant, civic reception and banquet. The first Academy was a three-story wooden frame building which stood across the road from the present Academy and was built in 1888 under the direction of the Rev. A. Meuwese, Sprague’s first resident priest. The school was opened under the direction of the Sisters of Providence on Jan. 3, 1887 and many of the first students were “old Sprague names.” Enrolled were four Brislawns: Frank, Joe, John and Mike; four Kirks: Bessie, Peter, Mary and John; four Poraks: Mary, Annie, Charles and Rudolph; four Ebells: Celeste, Rose, Louisa and Esther; two Underwoods: Laura and Arthur; three Murphys: Minnie, Annie and Carrie; three Keogans: Maggie, Bridget and Lawrence; two Mullets: Louisa and Gertrude; and Hattie Bareny, Anna McKiney, Cecilia Hanlon, Minnie Keaton, Katy Lane, Lottie Ganahl, Charles Palmer, Agnes Culross and Lizzie Daily.

By the end of that first school year, student enrollment had increased to 100, and the Academy grew with the town. Then, on August 3, 1895, a wind-fanned fire swept out of control and even Sprague’s efficient firefighting crew was helpless to control the blaze. Within a few hours Sprague presented a scene of ruin and desolation, with more than 320 acres burned, all but a few buildings destroyed and a monetary loss of more than $1.25 million.

That disastrous fire changed the destiny of both Sprague and St. Joseph’s Academy. The Northern Pacific Company, having lost everything but an old handcar house, moved its headquarters to Spokane – and family after family followed. When Sprague lost the county seat to Davenport, the town’s population was depleted still more. But those who remained began the task of rebuilding; and in 1889, the first Lincoln County Courthouse built in 1886 at a cost of $10,000, was bought for $300. In 1904, the courthouse was remodeled to accommodate the Academy’s increased enrollment.

An extensive building program in 1955 solved the problem of insufficient room for the increasing number of SJA students and brought classrooms and a science laboratory up to standards required by the State Board of Education. In 1960, further remodeling was done to bring the building up to state fire marshal’s specifications.

In recent years, the Academy and Sprague’s public school have participated in a shared time arrangement whereby public school students came to the Academy for Latin classes, and Academy students went to the public school for physics classes.


From the Inland Register – Volume LIV, No. 5
50 Years Ago: May 30, 1965

Inland Catholic Register Editor Visits N.Y. World’s Fair

by Father Terence Tully

Life among robots and inter-racial character of our shrinking world are strong features of the World’s Fair in New York.

I cannot properly describe the fair in writing. It is something you have to experience. Nevertheless, I’ll give some impressions. Yours might be quite different. A visit to the Fair is worth a trip across the nation.

Robots in various forms of automation seem to be everywhere in the Fair – a hint that they will soon be general in everyday life. A good example is the popular Futurama show in the General Motors pavilion. As you approach the show you are taken charge by a moving ramp that lifts you to the level of the performances. You then step onto a moving walkway which conducts you to a platform, also moving, on which rows of theatre seats have been installed. You sit down on one of these and immediately listen to loudspeakers in the back of the chair. Meanwhile, you are borne to a succession of scenes that depict life in the future. You behold industry and recreation at the bottom of the sea; you see surprising machines in which explorers rove the icy expanse of the South Pole and the surface of the moon and other parts of outer space. And so forth. When your futuristic journey ends, an usher tells you to leave your moving seat. Soon you are walking under your own power among 1965 products of General Motors.

Only a few of the 154 pavilions in the Fair have automated shows of this kind. But these are the ones most visited and most likely to be remembered. Not only are you carried and instructed by machines, but the actors in the shows are mostly robots which walk, sing, dance, and do other lifelike things. This lack of the human touch evidently worried the planners of the Fair. They have employed large staffs of human beings in uniform to act as ushers, guides, guards and performers in the shows. However, the puppets on stage are so lifelike and the live attendants so often stand around passively, that some Fair patrons ask the ushers to say something and prove they are alive.

Besides, the script of the shows often has flesh-and-blood actors conversing and arguing with puppets. One musical show presents live actors in song and dance with partners who are only motion pictures of people on movie screens spotted here and there on the stage.

I thought the IBM Co. and its shows about computers declared with special force that live people are necessary to make computers useful. And IBM has deliberately adorned its pavilion with 19th century ironwork and architecture, harking back to an era of scant automation.

The other notable feature of the Fair is its inter-racial character. This is not due merely to the various African and Asiatic pavilions. Rather, there is a striking diversity among guides, guards, policemen, information workers, cooks and waiters. Frequently you hear European accents among workers at the Fair.

In these respects, the Fair has an image similar to the City in which it is held. New York is largely an international and inter-racial community.

The stress on robots and the variety of races are both new in fair-going experience of this writer, which includes visits to fairs in Seattle, Brussels, and San Francisco. Both features, despite the misgivings of some, point to a day when the world will approach the harmony willed by Almighty God.

The Vatican pavilion with Michelangelo’s Pietà receives its share of the throngs and apparently makes a favorable impression. The building and the chapel are in good taste.


From the Inland Register – Volume 47, No. 17
Twenty-five Years Ago: June 14, 1990

‘The Church must speak on behalf of human life...’

Wednesday morning, June 6, Bishop William Skylstad held a press conference in the chancery building on Riverside to announce changes in the diocese’s relationship with United Way of Spokane County.

During that press conference, he released the following statement to members of the press:

Ten months ago, I made the decision to withdraw the Catholic agencies from membership in United Way and to withhold support of the 1989 campaign. The circumstances and issues which led to this decision of conscience are well known.

Through the efforts of many, the divisive issue which led to my action has been removed from the United Way coalition. Today, I ask all people of good will to now consider how we might best collaborate in the 1990 United Way campaign on behalf of people in need.

There could be a temptation by people on all sides of the issues to point fingers. Such action has no benefit. As bishop of the Catholic community, I am compelled by the Gospel to call for a spirit of forgiveness, to work for healing and to live always in the hope of new life. Such a response seeks the solidarity of our community in service to the weak and less fortunate. Therefore, I will personally support and contribute to the 1990 United Way campaign.

At the same time, the Catholic agencies will remain non-members of United Way. The Church must continue to speak on behalf of the value of human life. This past year has demonstrated that the United Way coalition is not the forum for debate on these issues. Thus, I bring to your attention the restructuring of the United Way which will make it possible for all donors to support the vital services which our Catholic agencies and other agencies provide to the whole community. This restructuring is a new invitation to all to participate.

In supporting United Way and not conducting a parallel fundraising program for our Catholic agencies, I am taking a great risk. I am placing these agencies in the hands of the people of our community. In doing so, I am requesting a positive designation of a portion of their United Way donation to support St. Anne’s Children’s Home, Catholic Family Service and the Holy Family Adult Day Health. I call upon corporations and individuals to responsibly and carefully exercise the donor option provided for in the new United Way structure.

I ask United Way to actively work for the success of this new program during this year of transition. I ask it so that the campaign will be a success, any deprivations suffered by the needy will be ended, and any bitterness might be forgiven.

(Father Caswell is archivist for the Inland Register, and a frequent contributor to this publication.)


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