Father Christopher Schiesl, C.P., St. Paul of the Cross Province (1848-1913)

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Born Joseph Schiesl on December 20, 1848 in Buffalo, New York, he was several years old when his family moved to Dunkirk, New York. The family then moved to St. Joseph, Missouri where he was a merchant for some time. One night while returning home he attended a parish mission and the sermon led him to decide to join the Passionists whom he had known in Dunkirk. He entered the Passionist novitiate in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and professed his vows on July 5, 1872. He was ordained on September 8, 1878 and was appointed as the assistant pastor at St. Michael’s Parish, the German-speaking parish in Pittsburgh. He was there for almost a quarter of a century. During this time he was granted a leave from there for a short time and then returned. For a short interval he was at Immaculata Parish, Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1900 he was permitted to be a preacher of parish missions and retreats. On August 29, 1913 Father Schiesl and another religious left St. Mary’s Monastery to go for a swim in Lake Erie. The lake was rough. Father Schiesl, though a good swimmer, was overwhelmed by the strength of the waves. His companion went to his assistance, but when they arrived at the breakwall an immense wave tore them apart and Father Schiesl drowned. The body was discovered five days later by fishermen of Van Buren Point, five miles west of Dunkirk.