Fr. Matthias Stein (1872-1951)

The Stein family was among the early settlers in Seneca, Kan., and were instrumental in the beginnings of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish there.  The Stein House is still there and used as a bed and breakfast.  Four of the children of this family entered the Benedictines in Atchison, Fathers Ignatius and Matthias at the Abbey and Sisters Edith and Adelgund at Mount St. Scholastica.

After some studies at St. Benedict’s High School and College, Matthias made first profession July 11, 1891, and was ordained June 28, 1896.  He was named Director of the College in 1897 and Business Manager of the College for 18 years.  In 1922 he was named pastor of St. John’s Burlington, Iowa, and remained there until 1930.  He then was moved to St. Scholastica Academy in Chicago as chaplain and remained there until heat prostration weakened him in 1947.  He never fully recovered.  He was the first native son of the Seneca parish to be ordained to the priesthood. 

Father Matthias once told this story to Father Bernard Sause while the two reminisced about days gone by.  “Father Peter Kassens (OSB) stopped at our place for the night at the time he preached the First Mass for Father William Rettele (OSB) at Sts. Peter and Paul, Seneca.  During the course of the evening he mentioned to my mother, “You ought to give us one of these boys for the priesthood.”  Father Matthias said, ‘I’ll go.’  My father said, ‘I will do everything for him that I can.’  Father Peter came out and got me in September and brought me to the college.  I was only ten years old then.  I came here when I was eleven years old.”