St. Joseph Catholic Church



202 Main Street
PO Box 98
Liebenthal, KS 67553


At first, church services for Liebenthal residents were held in homes or in the open air (weather permitting) whenever an itinerant priest would visit the village.  The first Roman Catholic church was completed in October 1878.  The complete church measured 48x28 feet, with a sacristy of 15x15 feet on the west side, all of native stone.  In the fall of 1889, a parish house was erected and in the year 1897 the first parochial school, measuring 60x3O feet, was built.

By the early 1900s, a larger church building was needed.  From 1902 until 1905, the members of the parish worked to complete the present native stone church.  It was designed by V. Klutho of St. Louis and dedicated on 28 May 1905.  The first church was then used as a school.  Twice, fire destroyed all of the wood sections and the roof of the cathedral.  It was rebuilt and rededicated in 1921 and 1961, but the interior walls and the altar are no longer as ornately fine as before the last fire.  Located near the church are the rectory and parocial school, both constructed of native stone quarried near the community.


St. Joseph's Parish in Liebenthal has been served by the following priests:

1876 Adolf Wibbert
1877 Valentine Sommereisen
1878-1881 Anastasius Mueller, O.M. Cap.
1881-1883 James Muench, O.M. Cap.
1883-1884 Andrew Eisenhut, O.M. Cap.
1884-1885 Joseph Hardes
1885 Ph. Brockard
1885-1887 W. Bitter
1887-1888 K. T. Withopf
1888-1889 Joseph B. Disselkamp
1889-1891 F. J. Hartmann
1891-1893 John M. Sklenar
1893-1895 A. J. Abel
1895-1899 B. Schroeder
1899-? R. Stollenwerk



Isadore Appelhanz, The Volga-Germans in Topeka, Kansas, 1875-85. Topeka: privately published, 1992.

St. Joseph's Kirche (Rush County Historical Society)

The Golden Jubilee of German-Russian Settlements of Ellis and Rush Counties, Kansas, 1926.

Laing, Francis S. "German-Russian Settlements in Ellis County, Kansas." Kansas Historical Collections 11 (1910), 489-528.