Kranewitter, Alois,1817-1880, Jesuit priest

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Kranewitter, Alois,1817-1880, Jesuit priest

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  • Kranewitter, Aloysius,

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14 April 1817-25 August 1880

History

Born: 14 April 1817, Stans, Tyrol, Austria
Entered: 21 September 1836, Graz Austria - Austriacae-Gallicianae Province (ASR-GAL)
Ordained: 1847
Professed: 15 April 1859
Died: 25 August 1880, Heidelberg, Victoria - Austriacae-Gallicianae Province (ASR-GAL)

Part of the St Ignatius, Richmond Melbourne, Australia community at the time of death

Irish Mission only begins in 1901, but joins new Irish Missioners in 1870 at Melbourne;

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
1849 he accompanied a group of German emigrants, most of whom settled in South Australia. they settled in areas which at the time were deserts and are now flourishing orchards, vineyards and farms. He was the first Jesuit to land in Australia, and he was Pastor to this flock until he was joined by other Jesuits from the Austrian Province, and together they built the College and Church at Sevenhill.
1870 The Jesuits of the Irish Province, who had been in Melbourne since 1856, asked for one of the Austrians to come work with them to tend to many Germans who were in their district, in and around Victoria. Aloysius volunteered and went to live at St Ignatius Richmond. he spent ten years with the Irish Jesuits, which were full of hard work, and he won universal esteem. He was a model religious, cheerful and exact in everything, of tender piety and gentle as a child. He was beloved by his penitents, who made it their mission to encourage many to choose him as their Confessor.
1879 A wetting he received whilst in a rural district saying Mass brought on an illness which affected his lungs, and consumption caused his death in less than a year. He was removed to Heidelberg, a village near Richmond for a change of air, a few days before he died. On the day of his death he asked by telegram to be relieved of the obligation of reciting the Divine Office. he also said that he was feeling much weaker, but that there was no need for anyone to visit him just yet. As he grew weaker he was encouraged to send another telegram, but he declined saying “God is good, He will, take care of me”. His confidence was well placed, because as soon as the first message arrived at Richmond, Joseph Mulhall decided to go to Heidelberg anyway. As he entered, Aloysius uttered “Thanks be to God that you are here!”. A short time afterwards he died. His last hours were spent in prayer, and his death was very peaceful. he died 25 August 1880.
During his funeral, the people gave many tokens of their sorrow both in the Church and Cemetery, and his name was sure to be long remembered with affection and gratitude in Richmond and South Australia.

◆ Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University online
Kranewitter, Aloysius (1817–1880)
by G. J. O'Kelly
G. J. O'Kelly, 'Kranewitter, Aloysius (1817–1880)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/kranewitter-aloysius-3970/text6267, published first in hardcopy 1974

Catholic pries; grape grower

Died : 25 August 1880, Heidelberg, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Aloysius Kranewitter (1817-1880), Jesuit priest, was born on 14 April 1817 in Innsbruck, Austria, and entered the Society of Jesus on 21 September 1836. He was ordained priest in 1847 but in the revolutions of 1848 the Jesuits were expelled from many of the German-speaking states. Opportunely, a wealthy Silesian farmer, Franz Weikert, asked for a chaplain to accompany German migrants whom he wished to settle in South Australia. Kranewitter and Maximilian Klinkowstroem, a Viennese Jesuit, volunteered. Weikert sold his properties to underwrite the passages of the group who were to work for him in forming a settlement near Clare, but dissensions split the party on the voyage and when they arrived at Port Adelaide in December 1848 only fourteen of the original eighty stayed with Weikert. The arrival of the two Jesuits was a welcome surprise to Bishop Francis Murphy. The thinly-scattered and polyglot nature of the Catholic community presented many difficulties. Murphy asked Klinkowstroem to assist Dr George Backhaus in the care of German Catholics around Adelaide, but ill health soon forced him to return to Europe. Kranewitter moved north with Weikert to Clare. In 1853 he bought a property some miles from Clare, named it Sevenhill and planted the first vines there.

Kranewitter's letters to Rome in these years are valuable accounts of pioneering in the mid-north of South Australia. In 1852 he accompanied a large group of diggers from the Clare district to the Victorian goldfields. On his return he established the settlement at Sevenhill on a European pattern, with houses and farms around a large church and college. Local German Catholics moved into the area to escape the bigotry to which they had been exposed at Tanunda but copper discoveries further north proved a strong attraction to many settlers. By 1856 four other Austrian Jesuits had joined Kranewitter and St Aloysius College was opened. In 1858 Kranewitter was recalled to Europe for his last year of Jesuit studies, and he returned next year with three more companions. In May 1870 he was sent to Richmond to minister to the German-speaking Catholics in and around Melbourne. For ten years he worked mainly in the semi-rural districts of Nunawading and of Heidelberg where he died suddenly on 25 August 1880.

Kranewitter was an affable priest, deeply dedicated to his people and receiving great devotion in return. His chief memorial was Sevenhill, which became a complex of boarding school, seminary for diocesan students, Jesuit novitiate and scholasticate, wine cellars and the base from which the priests made their circuits of the mid-north. These journeys covered 25,000 sq. miles (64,750 km²), from Morgan to Blinman, across to Wallaroo, Port Pirie, Port Augusta and even down to Port Lincoln. From Sevenhill more than forty stone churches and schools were built. Some 450 pupils passed through the college in 1856-86 and seminarians ordained to the priesthood included Julian Tenison-Woods, Christopher Reynolds and Frederick Byrne (vicar-general). In 1882 the Daly River Mission in the Northern Territory was founded from Sevenhill and lasted till 1899. By 1901 some fifty-nine Austrian priests and brothers had worked in South Australia and the Northern Territory, a tribute to the initiator, Aloysius Kranewitter.

Select Bibliography
M. Watson, The Society of Jesus in Australia (Melb, 1910)
P. Dalton, A History of the Jesuits in South Australia and the Northern Territory (State Library of New South Wales)
Australian Jesuit Provincial Archives (Hawthorn, Melbourne).

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Aloysius Kranewitter entered the Austrian province of the Society, 21 September 1836, and 1846-48 was spent prefecting and studying theology in the Theresianum College, Innsbruck. He was ordained in 1848 and set out for South Australia, the same year wide Maximilian Klinkowstrm and a group of German migrants under the leadership of Franz Weikert, who wanted a chaplain for the group. The life of Klinkowstrom details the planning for this journey.
They arrived in Port Adelaide, 8 December 1848, and on 14 December he and his German companions set out for the area of Clare in the north. On 20 December, land was selected at Sevenhill, two miles south of Clare. Kranewitter worked among the farmers in the area for the next few years, being the only priest in the region that included Clare, Burra, Undalya, and Saddleworth.
On 28 January 1851 a site was chosen for a residence at Sevenhill, then called the Barnburnie region, and building began in 1853 after the arrival of Brothers George Sadler and John Schreiner. Mass was celebrated in a weatherboard chapel built that year. Vines were planted very early on and the first grapes were served on Easter Sunday 1852.
These were the days of the gold rushes in Victoria, and so, in 1852, travelling overland, Kranewitter visited the largely Irish miners working in the area of Bendigo.
When Pallhuber arrived early 1856, Kranewitter left Sevenhill, 28 March 1856, for Austria to complete his theology and tertianship. On 5 April 1859 he took final vows at Baumgartenberg Austria, arrived back in Melbourne on 21 August, and reached Sevenhill on 6 September. On this journey Joseph Moser and two brothers, John B. Schneider and James Matuchewsld accompanied him.
Upon his return, Kranewitter engaged in pastoral work until1870, chiefly at Burra, Saddleworth and Undalya. He was also minister at Sevenhill, 1866-70, and did some teaching in the new school. In 1870 he was sent to the Irish Mission to evangelise Germans in Melbourne and its neighborhood and left Sevenhill, 21 May 1870. The South Australian Germans rendered some assistance. He resided in the parish of Richmond, but was constantly engaged in missionary work, especially in the semi-rural area of Nunawading.
In 1876, Kranewitter, distressed at the sufferings of the Catholic clergy of Germany under the Kulturkampf originated by Bismarck, organised the German Catholics of Melbourne to
contribute generously to a fund to assist them. All the churches of the diocese had sermons preached and funds were collected for this cause; £640 was raised.
While giving a retreat in 1880 he died in the presbytery at Heidelberg of an inflammation of the lungs.
His contemporaries acknowledged Kranewitter as a model religious, childlike and simple. He showed good judgment and prudence in secular affairs, and was a good spiritual director of his people. His chief memorial was Sevenhill, which becaine a complex of boarding school, seminary for diocesan students, Jesuit noviciate and scholasticate, wine cellars and the base from which the priests made their circuits of the mid-north. These journeys covered 25,000 square miles, from Morgan to Blinman, across to Wallaroo, Port Pirie, Port Augusta and even down to Port Lincoln. From Sevenhill more than 40 stone churches and schools were built.
The Australian province owes much to this first Jesuit in Australia who worked as a missionary for over 30 years.

Note from Patrick Dalton Entry
He translated many of the early German documents, such as the letters of Father Kranewitter and the diary of Brother Pölzl.

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