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Weekly Bulletin July 17, 2022
by Terrie Evans
The history of St. Bonaventure School and Parish dates to the time when early settlers from the East established an area in the community known as “Lick Run.” There were 20 German Catholic Families, mostly farmers who inquired to Archbishop John Purcell about establishing a parish to serve their community. A Franciscan, Fr. William Untertheimer, a German speaking Priest, was chosen to setup the new church on property donated the John Weber Family. A small stone one room building was erected and dedicated as St. Peters in an area that would become known as Petersburg. At that time, this new church was one of only 5 Catholic Churches in Hamilton County with the young Franciscan, Fr. Unterheiner traveling on horseback from Holy Trinity, on West 5th Street to St, Peter’s while serving as circuit rider. With growing families, the church became the schoolhouse during the week with students from St. Mary’s Seminary in Price Hill teaching Bible History and Catholic Doctrine. By 1850, the 2-story school building was completed on the property next to St. Peter’s Church to accommodate the now 60 students.
By 1862, the Franciscan Fathers of St. John and St. Frances Churches were in charge of St. Peter’s and knew the area of Lick Run was in need of a new school and church which was easily approved Archbishop, John Baptist Purcell By 1868, property was purchased on Queen City Avenue for a rectory and church that would eventually merge with St. Peter’s. St. Bonaventure Church, established in 1869 at a cost of $50,000 with a seating capacity of 550. In 1871, a school building was planned for the needs of the growing population of German Catholics residents who attended St. Bonnies in an agriculture area known for farms, breweries dairies, carpenters, stonecutters, and blacksmiths. By the early 1900’s enrollment had overwhelmed the 1st school building and in 1908 a new school was dedicated for the eager 600 children who were ready to start the new school year in the 12 large rooms on three floors. St. Bonnies provided many good memories for all who attended the neighborhood school and were taught and mentored by the dedicated and talented women and men religious from various religious sects.
The Religious Orders who served the school until its closing were the Franciscan Fathers, Sisters of St. Francis (Oldenburg), Sisters of St. Francis (Mishawaka), Ursuline Sisters, Sisters of Notre Dame, Sisters of Charity, Sisters of Mercy, Benedictine Sisters, and those Visitation Nuns. Many of our past of San Antonio Parishioners attended the school took part in the School Band, Cub Scouts, and Girl Scouts. Many have memories of the 3-lane bowling alley that was a big hit in the neighborhood for the many San Antonio boys had jobs as pin setters. San Antonio Parish Graduates: From the Class of 1943, Frank Serraino, class of 1945, Buddy LaRosa, and Fr. Fred Serraino, Class of 1952, Carmella (Serraino) Berger, Mary Lou (Stevens) Russo, Class of 1953, Phyliss (Delseno) Spade Class of 1955, Mary Ann (LaCortiglia) Brock, Linda (Delseno) Panaro, Nancy (Hasenhor) Yankoviak, C lass of 1962, Dennis Gardner, Anna (Belfiore) Davis, Alana (Murvine) Rudemiller, Class of 1963, Linda (Suddendorf) Stoecklin, Linda (Stoll) Kelsey, Class of 1964, Janet (Suddendorf) Steinle, Class of 1965 Lena (Belfiore) Huff and the Class of 1973, Aristide Belfiore. Other parishioners who attended St. Bonnie’s are Joe Cupito, Donna (D’Angelo) Smith, Vince Cerchio, and Rita (Schiesz) Miller.
There is a St. Bonnies Reunion held every year in the Fall for all classes. This year the reunion is scheduled for Saturday, September 24, 2022, in the Hall at San Antonio.