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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/691

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BOHEMIANS


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BOHEMIANS


Number of Foreign Bohemians born

Wisconsin 43,000 14,900

Minnesota 36,000 12,500

Texas 40,000 12,000

Iowa 35,000 10,800

Kansas 17,000

Missouri 15,000

North and South Dakota . . . 15,000

Michigan 10,000

Pennsylvania 7,000

New Jersey 5,000

Massachusetts 2,400

Oklahoma 4,000

California 2,100

Colorado 1,300

Indiana 1,800

Connecticut 1,300

Arkansas 1,000

Other States 5,000

Of the larger cities Chicago has a Bohemian popula- tion of about 100,000; New York, 40,000; Cleveland, 40,000; Baltimore, 8,500; Omaha, 8,000; Milwaukee, 5,500; St. Paul, 6,000; and St. Louis, 8,000.

It is in the farming districts that the Bohemian immigrants have attained the greatest degree of success. It is here that we can best see the great share they had in building up the United States. Coming for the most part from rural districts, accus- tomed to hard labour, and ever willing to undergo the hardships of pioneer life, the Bohemians have attained an honourable place amongst the Western farmers. There is a saying amongst the Western farmers that if anyone can wrest crops from the soil, it is the Bohemian farmer. About half of the Bo- hemian immigrants have cast their lot vdth farming communities.

Societies. — Amongst the great number of Bohe- mians in this country, there is no one organization uniting them into one national body. Tliis may be explained by the fact that they are divided into two strongly antagonistic camps: Catholics and atheists or free-thinkers. The latter are chiefly those who have apostatized from the faith of their fathers. Only an insignificant percentage of Bohemians are ad- herents of Protestant sects, though Protestants have exjjended great labour and large sums in proselytiz- ing amongst the Bohemians. The two camps are entirely separate, each with its own fraternal or- ganizations. The Catholics have the following fraternal or benevolent organizations: The First Bohemian Roman ^Catholic Central Union {Prvni kimsko-Katolickii UMredni Jerfnoto) , founded in 1877 at St. Louis, has a membership of 11,505; the Catholic Workman {Katolicky Dglnik), founded in 1891, 3,225; the Bohemian Roman Catholic Central Union of the State of Wisconsin {Ceskd Rimsko-Katolickd Us- tredni Jednota ve Stdtu Wisconsin) founded in 1888, 1,380; the Bohemian Catholic Union of the State of Texas (Katolickn Jednnta Texaskd) . founded in 1889, 1,900; tjie Western Bohemian Catholic Union (Zd- padni Cesko-Katolickd Jednota), founded in 1898, 3jP00; ^he Bohemian Catholic LTnion of Cleveland {Ccako-Rimsko-KatoUckd Jednota ve Cleveland, O.), founded in 1899, 1 ,800; the Bohemian Catholic Cen- tral Union of American Women {Ustredni Jednota ^en Americhjch) established in 1880, 14,100; the Bohemian Catholic Union of Women of Xhe State of Texas {Ceskd Rimsko-Katolickd Jednota Zen ve Stdtu Texas) likewise a large membership. All these or- ganizations are thoroughly Catholic in spirit, and not only practise benevolence and charity towards their members, but have lieen the right hand of the clergy in building Catholic churches and schools and in foster- ing the spirit of religion amongst their countrymen.

Opposed to these Catholic organizations are the fraternal organizations of the freethinking Bohe-


mians. The strongest of these is the Bohemian Slavic Benevolent Society {Cesko-Slovanskd Podporu- jici Spolecnost), established at St. Louis in 1854, which has a membership of about 15,000. This organization is chiefly responsible for the loss of faith amongst many Bohemians of this country, having enticed thousands of well-meaning people to join its ranks under the pretext of strict neutrality in religious matters. By association with free- thinkers, and under other evil influences, thousands grew lukewarm in the performance of their religious duties and finally lost their faith entirely. This or- ganization is atheistic in spirit and propagates athe- ism amongst its members. A similar tendency is exercised by the gjinnastic or athletic societies com- monly called the Sokol (turners); by the Western Benevolent Society {Zdpdni C'eskd Bratrskd Jednota), which has a membership of about 7,000; by the Society of Bohemian Ladies (Jednota Ceskych Dam), with a membership of about 15,000, as well as several minor organizations of the same type.

Schools. — Wherever it is possible Bohemian Cath- olics endeavour to build a school. Love of their faith as well as love of their native tongue impels them to send their children to these schools, it being the desire of Bohemian parents that their children learn at least to read and WTite the language of their parents. Experience shows that without such schools children are soon estranged to the language and lose many of the good characteristics of their parents. The number of Bohemian Catholic parochial schools in this country is seventy-five, with a total attendance of about 14,000. There is also an institution of higher education, St. Procopius College at Lisle, Illi- nois, founded and conducted by the Bohemian Bene- dictine Order. The object of this institution is not only to train candidates for the priesthood, but to give young men in general such an education as to enable them to become leaders of their people in the various walks of life.

Press. — The first, and for a long time the only, Bo- hemian Catholic newspaper published in the United States, was the "Hlas" (\'oice) of St. Louis, pub- lished semi-weekly. After its establishment in 1873 it was edited and managed for many years by its venerable founder, Monsignor Joseph Hessoun, pas- tor of St. John's Church, St. Louis, who gave it a special prestige among the Bohemian Catholics of the United States. In the year 1890 the "Prftel Ditek" (Friend of Children) was established in Chicago, a weekly periodical, and, as its name implies, intended chiefly for children. In the year 1892 the "Katolik" (The Catholic) was founded, published twice a week, and by far the best periodical in the Bohemian lan- guage in this country. The "Katolik" was followed by the daily "Ndrod" (Nation) and the "Hospoddi-- sk6 Listy" (Agricultural News), established in 1898, wliich appears twice a month. All of these papers are published by the Bohemian Benedictine Order of Chicago. In addition, there are the following Bo- hemian Catholic papers: "NoN-y Domov" (The New Home), a weekly publication of Hallettsville, Texas; the "Vlastenec" (Patriot) published weekly at La Crosse, Wisconsin; the "Mesi'cnf Vcstni'k ", published by the Redemptorist Fathers of New York once a month. All of these publications are doing inesti- mable service in the cause of religion.

The freethinking press is no less powerful. Four Bo- hemian dailies are ex projesso hostile to religion, while two others, though posing as neutral and independent papers, are in reality anti-religious in their sympa- thies and tendencies. Three Bohemian dailies are published in Chicago, two in New York, and two in Cleveland. There are in addition four bi-weeklies, ten weeklies, and several smaller publications.

Communities and Churches. — There are three Bo- hemian religious communities in the United States.