Jefferson County Historical Society

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Rev. J. A. Connolly, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, was
born July 13, 1855 in County Mayo, Ireland.  His father, Joseph Connolly,
immigrated to the United States in 1857, and settled in Potosi,
Washington Co., Mo., where he still resides. Father Connolly was reared
in Potosi, receiving there, in the public and private schools, his early
education. His classical and theological education was received at 
St. Vincent's College, Cape Girardeau, Mo., where he completed his 
studies in 1876. Being under the canonical age, twenty-three years, 
required for ordination to the priesthood, in the fall of 1876 he 
entered St. Francis Seminary, near Milwaukee, Wis., for the purpose of
learning the German language.  On June 18, 1878 he was ordained priest
in St. John's Church, St. Louis, Mo., by Bishop P. J. Ryan, now Archbishop
of Philadelphia, Penn.  Immediately after ordination he was appointed 
temporary pastor of St. Columbkill's Church, South St. Louis, where he 
remained five months; he was then appointed to New Madrid, Mo., where 
he was pastor three years and four months. Whilst there he attended 
missions over an extent of country 140 miles, among them Charleston and
Texas Bend, Mississippi Co., Mo., Gayoso, Caruthersville and Couter, in
the swamps of Pemiscot County, Mo.; and by request of the Bishop of 
Little Rock, Ark., he also attended Osceola, Mississippi Co., Ark.  
Sometimes in order to meet his engagements at the different missions in
Pemiscot County, he would have to ride nearly all day in a "dug-out," 
experiencing a few of the difficulties the early missionaries had daily
to contend with.  In May, 1882, Father Connolly was transferred to the 
Church of the Immaculate Conception, B. V. M., St. Louis, where he 
remained more than one year as assistant pastor, and was thence transferred
to the same position at St. Bridget's Church, St. Louis, where he was three
and one-half years. In November, 1886 he was appointed by Archbishop Kenrick,
of St. Louis, to his present pastorate, in De Soto, where his labors have been
successful in reducing the church debt and ministering to the increasing
Catholic congregation.