Father Sebastian Stutts, C.P., St. Paul of the Cross Province (1846-1924)

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Born August 18, 1846 in Verden, in the Rhineland of Germany, his family came to the United States, first to Danville, Pennsylvania and then to Pine Creek, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a youth he walked three miles a day to serve Mass. He went to St. Vincent’s College, Beatty, Pennsylvania. Just prior to his entering St. Vincent’s the Passionists obtained a farm near Butler, Pennsylvania. This home of Michael Stutts proved to be a convenient half way house when they were traveling about the area giving various missions. This led to a visit of the Pittsburgh monastery. He decided to join. His family voiced some displeasure that he would join a group of “rigorous and half-starved Italians.” When his father visited the young man, who became a Passionist novice, the kindness of the Passionists was most impressive. After five months in the novitiate the young man came down with a severe cold and was sent home to gain back his strength. After family care and a visit to a lung specialist he was able to return once again to the novitiate. He professed his Passionist vows on September 24, 1864. He went on to continue studies in West Hoboken, New Jersey. He was ordained on July 19, 1869. After ordination he was sent to Immaculata Parish, Cincinnati, Ohio. Then he went to St. Michael’s Parish, Pittsburgh as an assistant priest and at twenty-nine was made pastor. The parish at that time was heavily in debt because a large parochial school had been built soon after the construction of a large church. Father Stutts was able to decrease the debt and helped found social and religious organizations for the welfare of the people. For years he remained in contact with people both through personal visits and correspondence. After twelve years at the parish he went to Baltimore, Maryland where the monastery had just endured a fire. Father Stutts conducted a mail order campaign to raise funds. So genuine was the increase of mail to the monastery that the postal inspectors sent a representative to understand the reason behind it. He eventually was made a provincial consultor which led him to reside at St. Michael’s Monastery, West Hoboken. He helped make the location a genuine place of pilgrimage and he was missed when he was transferred to St. Paul, Kansas. This former Osage Mission which had been run by the Jesuits required renovation and Father Stutts was chosen for the task. He later became rector of Our Lady of Good Counsel Monastery, Normandy, Missouri. Administration meant that he was not a mission preacher but he was often called on to be a spiritual advisor. His later years were spent between St. Michael’s Parish, Pittsburgh and St. Michael’s Monastery, West Hoboken. He rebuilt St. Michael’s School, Pittsburgh after it was destroyed by fire. He also built the first convent for the Passionist Nuns, Carrick, Pennsylvania. His last twelve years were spent as a member of the community at West Hoboken. Before that last assignment he spent a year at the Passionist community in Rome to build up his strength. He held the position of province econome and was a key person in the organization of book-keeping. Heart problems and dropsy slowed him down in his final years.