Father Cyril Meis, C.P., Holy Cross Province (1874-1955)

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Born Joseph Meis on October 26, 1874 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he was the son of William Meis and Teresa Immekus. He was educated at St. Michael’s School, Pittsburgh. At twelve, as was common at that time, he left school and worked with his father at his blacksmith shop and hardware store. His uncle Father Ferdinand Immekus was a Passionist and the young boy decided to join the congregation as well; so he went to the Preparatory School at St. Mary’s, Dunkirk, New York in 1899 as one of the first classes. After several months he was back in Pittsburgh to begin his novitiate where his master of novices was Father Frederick Lang, C.P. Meis professed his vows on April 8, 1891 and received the religious name Cyril. He was assigned as a member of the first group of students in the newly dedicated Passionist retreat at Normandy, Missouri. Father Peter Hanley, C.P. was the superior. Studies continued on the east coast and he was ordained on June 4, 1893 at St. Patrick Cathedral, Newark, New Jersey by Bishop W.M. Wigger. After a year of sacred eloquence Father Meis was appointed pastor of his home parish – St. Michael’s, Southside Pittsburgh. He then was assigned to St. Paul’s, Kansas as pastor where he spent eight to ten years. At that time sick calls meant travel by horseback on muddy roads through the rain. When the two provinces were established in 1906 Father Meis opted to stay with Holy Cross Province. For a short time he was at Holy Cross Parish, Cincinnati, Ohio and then he began a distinguished career as a preacher from October 1914 until September 1946. When home at the monastery he was noted for the inspirational way in which he read the Scriptures in the refectory where the monks ate in silence. When he died many of his sermons were found in his room. His last years were spent as a chaplain at Mother of Mercy Novitiate, Des Plaines, Illinois.