Church of St. Anthony

201 Central Avenue S,  Watkins, MN 55389

 Phone: 320-764-2755



"Go therefore and make disciples

of all the nations..."

Matthew 28:19


History in Brief



The church community was established, and a small wooden church was built on 2 acres of land, which was purchased for $50.



The Benedictine Sisters of St. Joseph built a school for the faith formation of St. Anthony's parish.



The church community outgrew the small wooden church. A magnificent brick church was built. The winning contractor's bid was around $48,000. The cornerstone for the church was laid on August 12. Parishioners helped build the church. They hauled building materials with horses and wagons. The church was fully constructed after a year and a half.



A new brick St. Anthony's School was constructed.



St. Anthony's became a church in the Diocese of New Ulm.



The Benedictine Sisters left St. Anthony's School after 70 years.



St. Anthony's School was closed.



The handicap accessible entry was added onto the church.



The old rectory was removed, and a new rectory was constructed.

The Church Community was established in 1889 when a small wooden frame church was built.  Mass was being said in parishioners homes several years before the church was  built. There were other churches in the immediate area.  St. Anne’s about 2 miles East of Watkins, Old St. Nicholas about 6 miles North, and a church in Logering (German word for popple bush) about 4 miles West of Watkins.  The present church was built in 1912 on the site of the old frame church which was moved off its foundations.  A wooden frame school was built in 1906 and was served by the Benedictine Sister of St. Joseph until May of 1995 when it closed because of small classes and lack of funds.


There were 10 ordained priests from St. Anthony:

· Rev. Nick Wirtzberger - Ordained 1912.

· Rev. Nicholas Donnay - Ordained 1917.

· Rev. Bernard Schreiner - Ordained 1942.

· Rev. Joseph Bates - Ordained 1947.

· Rev. Joseph Linn - Ordained 1950.

· Rev. Raymond Donnay - Ordained 1950.

· Rev. Richard Gross - Ordained 1962.

· Rev. Ronald Huberty - Ordained 1990.

· Rev. Anthony Hesse - Ordained 2001.

· Rev. David Hennen - Ordained 2005.


One young man from St. Anthony's took vows as a brother: Harold Gabrelick.


There were 12 sisters who took vows from St. Anthony:

· Sr. Scholastica Maus - Vows 1927.

· Sr. Catherine Ashfeld - Vows 1929.

· Sr. Mary Gertrude Maus - Vows 1929.

· Sr. Mary Jane Linn - Vows 1945.

· Sr. Julia Maus - Vows 1949.

· Sr. Emily Donnay - Vows 1950.

· Sr. Colleen Haggerty - Vows 1953.

· Sr. Sheila Rausch - Vows 1954.

· Sr. Marlene Meierhofer - Vows 1959.

· Sr. LaVonne Schackman - Vows 1968.

· Sr. Josepha Dockendorf - Vows 1970.

· Sr. Mary Giovannni Becker - No date for Vows - Died 1995.


The following priests served as Pastors of St. Anthony:

1. Rev. Paul Schmid

2. Rev. Alois Kastigar

3. Rev. Anthony Vilman

4. Rev. J.R. Roemer

5. Rev. Vincent Bozja

6. Rev. J. L. Westfall

7. Rev. Edward Clemens

8. Rev. Joseph M. Kasel

9. Rev. Celestine Pistulka

10. Rev. George V. Schmit

11. Rev. Robert P. Clark

12. Rev. William A. Sprigler

13. Rev. Richard C. Gross

14. Rev. Frank Garvey

15. Rev. John H. Brunner

16. Rev. Jerome Naduvathaniyil

17. Rev. Aaron Nett

Associate Pastors were:

Rev. James Barry (1961-1962)

Rev. John H. Brunner (1962-1967)