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Padua History

In July of 1857, a man by the name of John Jerome Getty moved from Minneapolis to a thick, wooded area nine miles southwest of Sauk Centre. The area soon became known as Getty Grove. Families of German and Bohemian descent found this to be rich farmland and also settled here. The community of Getty Grove had its own school, post office, store, blacksmith ship and cemetery. It was here that the first Catholic church in the area was built. A small plot of land in the northwestern part of Getty Grove was acquired by the Diocese of St. Cloud and in 1884 Assumption Church was built. A priest came to celebrate Mass and administer the sacraments once a month in Assumption Church.

Meanwhile, three miles down the road, in 1866, eight Rooney families who had left Ireland because of the potato famine, homesteaded in the area now know as Padua. Because of the many Rooney families settled there, the area was called Rooney's Settlement or Irish Landing. Mass was celebrated and sacraments were administered once a month in one of their homes. At first these Irish people claimed St. Bridget as the patron saint of their congregation. In 1882 it was changed to St. Ruperts, named after Bishop Rupert Siedenbush.

In 1897, several families prevailed upon Father Thomas Fassbind to begin the organization of a parish. That same year Assumption Church in Getty Grove was closed and the building was moved to Rooney's Settlement. The building was used as a church for a short time, then as a school. It was later moved to the Michael Rooney farm and was used as a granary.

Father Fassbind named the parish in honor of St. Anthony of Padua, patron of the Italian people. Tradition has it that he chose this Italian saint to be patron of the parish, now a mixture of Irish, German, Polish, and Bohemian people, so as to show no partiality to any ethnic group. At this time the name of "Rooney's Settlement" of "Irish Landing" was changed to "Padua" after the new patron saint of the parish.

A new frame church was built at the location of the present church by the men of the parish under the direction of Martin Wiener, a carpenter. This church burned in 1943 and the present one was built in its place.

More about the history of Padua can be found in the book, "Padua, God's Country," written by Sister Janice Wedl.