Eustace Families Association

Andrew Eustace



“Candid to the point of bluntness.
So it was said of Reverend Andrew Eustace andthe 1873 account he filed for the diocese immediately prior toleaving St. Dennis was just that. One can sense a bit offrustration as this "man of truth" lamented the lack ofan assistant, the need for a school facility and the fact thatthe parish was no longer covered by insurance. In relation to thelast item, the 1871 conflagration in Chicago was most certainlyon his mind. Just the year before, on the anniversary of the fire(October 9, 1872), Father Eustace, along with future St. Dennispastor William Murphy, attended the dedication of the new St.Mary's.

A common name in France, Norman conquers brought the Eustace coatof arms to the British Isles. During the Anglo-Norman invasion ofIreland, Eustace warriors acquired large land holdings aroundKildare and Carlow.

Born a Dubliner in 1833, Andrew Eustace studied at the IrishCatholic seminaries of Castleknock and Maynooth. He enteredCastleknock at fourteen and moved on to Maynooth as the youngestin his class. His studies at Maynooth extended over several yearsuntil the passing of his parents, both having died within a monthfrom each other.

In October of 1854, Andrew continued his studies toward thepriesthood in America at the Carondolet Seminary in St. Louis,Missouri, where an old friend, Father Feehan, later Archbishop ofChicago, was the president. In the spring of 1857 Father AndrewEustace ventured to Chicago.

The first parish in the Chicago Diocese to receive Father Eustacewas St. Patrick's Church at McHenry, McHenry County, Illinois.There he built the first rectory for the church. St. Joseph'smission church at Richmond in McHenry County received a gift fromFather Eustace in the form of a small church that the parishutilized for forty years. Following his time at McHenry was anassignment presented by Bishop O'Regan for the Church of theImmaculate Conception at Elgin. This was during the War Betweenthe States. He also served St. Mary's Church in Elgin at thistime. Briefly in 1860, he assisted Father Dennis Dunne at'old'St. Patrick's Church at the western edge of downtown Chicago. Hereturned once again to Elgin the following year.

At St. Dennis Father Eustace deposited $3,000 for construction ofa rectory and outfitted it with his own personal furnishings. Therectory served as a vacation spot for Archbishop Kenrick of St.Louis, a second cousin to Father Eustace and also his Godfather.Another task approached by Father Eustace was to fence off thetwo acres of Lockport cemetery land. At St. Patrick's of Lemont,enlargement and remodeling were accomplished. Even with thevarious improvements undertaken by Father Eustace the parishmanaged to have very few debts.

In 1873 altogether there were about 300 families at Saint Dennis,St. Patrick-Lemont, St. James-Sag and the Summit mission. Therewas no church structure at the Summit mission. St. Patrick andSt. James were still missions of St. Dennis. Mass was said everyother Sunday at St. Patrick's and St. James' churches. Mass atSummit was performed once a month or on a weekday.

In his final report to the diocese Father Eustace worried aboutthe decline in church membership at St. Dennis and the otherCanal missions. Lockport and Lemont were seeing an outwardmigration for lack of work in the area. With regret Father Andrewnoted that there were but "a mere handful of people atSag".

In December ot 1873, Father Eustace left the diocese that helabored in for sixteen years. Father Eustace wanted to be closerto his aging cousin, Archbishop Kenrick of St. Louis. TheArchbishop had invited him to come there. Father Eustace'smission had been difficult for him as it was for so many at thattime. He linked his declining health in later years to poorconditions endured in the early days of northern Illinoisdevelopment.

For the next twenty years St. Michael's Church in St. Louis,Missouri, was graced with the ministry of Father Eustace. Hispresence in St. Louis enabled him to assist and care for theArchbishop who had numerous bouts with ill health. Ironically,the Archbishop outlived him. In 1891, Father Eustace was struckby a severe attack of grippe. Father Andrew Eustace passed awayon the 21st of March 1893, a week short of his 60th birthday. Heis laid to rest in St. Louis' Calvary Cemetery within thepriest's circle. His cousin, Archbishop Kenrick, was laterinterred beside him.