Father John Philip Maerder, C.P., Holy Cross Province (1882-1952)

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Born Francis Maerder on May 7, 1882 in Galion, Ohio, he was the son of John Maerder and Julia Amann. He was educated by the Jesuits at St. Francis High School, Cleveland, Ohio and by the Benedictines at St. Vincent College, Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He decided to enter the Passionist novitiate in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He professed his Passionist vows March 18, 1906 and received the religious name John Philip. His novice master was Father Fidelis Kent Stone, C.P. While speaking kindly of his novice master there was a realization that he could be a strict disciplinarian as well. During student life the young man was afflicted with a brain tumor so his ordination was postponed. He was cared for by the famous Chicago, Illinois surgeon, Dr. John B. Murphy, who recommended him to a brain specialist. However it is said that the cure came through the intercession of Blessed Dominic Barberi, C.P. This cure was approved by the Roman authorities. Finally he was ordained in old St. Ann’s Church, Normandy, Missouri on June 1, 1913 by Bishop Paul J. Nussbaum, C.P. As a priest Father Maerder was gifted in his approach to young people. He was appointed assistant pastor to Father Matthew Miller, C.P. at Immaculata Church, Mt Adams, Cincinnati, Ohio. Later he became pastor and served in that capacity for eight years. In the late 1920s he was assigned to be a member of the German foundation for several years where he served as director of the preparatory school in Pasing outdside Munich, Germany. Later he was a chaplain at St. Vincent’s Orphanage, Normandy, Missouri and during World War II was an auxiliary military chaplain at Fort Knox, Kentucky. On occasion he preached missions and retreats. He loved sports especially the Brooklyn Dodgers and Notre Dame football. He was known for his love of chewing tobacco. While at times he suffered from moments of depression he was considered a faithful community man in devotion and service.