St. Donatus (St. Donatus, Iowa)


St. Donatus (St. Donatus, Iowa)


“Saint Donatus Parish is the only parish in the United States named for this heavenly protector against storms. Soon after the Iowa Territory was opened to settlement in 1833, pioneers from Luxembourg in Europe took up residence on the fertile hills and valleys about ten miles south of Dubuque in the area of the stream named Tetes des Morts (Heads of Death) as a result of a war between Indians in the area. About 1851 a pastor changed the name of the gruesome title to a saint quite popular in the Luxembourger’s homeland. They would like to have named the parish and church for their country’s patron, Our Lady, Consoler of the Afflicted, but Bishop Loras is supposed to have pointed out that there were already several churches named for the Blessed Mother.”

- Rev. Msgr. Edgar Kurt, “Parish Profile #11: Saint Donatus Parish, Saint Donatus,” Dubuque: The Witness, 15 February 1987.


The Archdiocese of Dubuque.
The Center for Dubuque History at Loras College.


Burback, Emily. Burns, Daniel. Gibson, Michael. Oberfoell, Carol. Waldmeir, Helen. Waldmeir, John.


Various primary and secondary sources.


Primarily English and possibly Luxembourgish, French, or German.


Loras College
Kucera Center for Catholic Thought
Frank and Ida Goedken Series: "Spiritual Life in the Upper Mississippi River Valley"


History of the parish over the span of 162 years, including information about its priests and parishioners.

Table Of Contents

Anniversary – 160th Booklet and Flyer 2008 (3 documents) Annual Parish Profile – Fr. Ed Petty 1986 (1 document)

Archbishop Mgr. Ferdinand Frank’s visit to Luxembourg in America Letter (1 document)

Article Release, The Witness on Titles St. Donatus can claim 1987 (6 documents)

Brochure for St. Donatus and the Luxembourg Village (4 documents)

Brochure, Welcome (1 document)

Corpus Christi Procession

Der Wahreitsfreund, America’s First German Catholic Newspaper Information (1 document)

Fr. Ed Petty Booklet stating important historical dates and information on the interior of the church (1 document)

Friends of St. Donatus Chapel Card (1 document)

History (2 documents)

Historical Society, Centennial of the Pieta Chapel and Quasquicentennial of the Present Church 1985 (1 booklet)

Holy Card from the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation, St. Donatus, Iowa (1 document)

Kalmes Resturant Photograph – Des Moines Register, ca. 2000 (1 document)

Ladies Donation to the Sisters Document (1 document)

Pastors of St. Donatus Parish (2 documents)

Prayer to St. Donatus (Translation by Mrs. Kremer of Calumet City, IL of a souvenir holy card from a church in Luxembourg, Europe) (1 document)

Postscript by Rev. Edgar Kurt, on meeting with Merges (2 documents)

St. Donatus Historical Booklet 1963 (1 document)

St. Donatus Historical Calendar 1986 (1 document)

St. Donatus School – New Elementary and Convent Estimated Cost (1 document)

Tete Des Morts Township Cemeteries (2 documents)

The St. Donatus Story, A Bit of Luxembourg in America for the 1985 Luxembourg Awareness Celebration (1 document)


“$100,000 School Building for Saint Donatus Parish.” Dubuque: The Witness, 6 August 1964.

Ford, John. “Old World Village.” Pictures by Carl Turk. (4 documents)

Kilen, Mike. “St. Donatus follows the way of the cross.” The Des Moines Register, ca. 2000. (3 documents)

Kilen, Mike. “St. Donatus’ message is the way of the cross.” The Des Moines Register, 2 September 2000. (3 documents)

Mattes, Alvina and Joe. “St. Donatus at Christmas.”

“St. Donatus observes 160 years.” Dubuque: The Witness, 13 July 2008, p. 3.

“St. Donatus School and Convent.” Dubuque: The Witness, 29 October 1964.

Troaterbattien Band Visit to St. Donatus (3 documents)

Thielen, Rev. T. T., “St. Donatus, Iowa: A bit of Luxembourg in America.” Printed 1963. (3 documents)

Tritz, Sister Mary Cleo, O.S.F., “ST. DONATUS: A Settlement of Luxembourgers in Northeastern Iowa,” Dubuque: Shepherd, Inc. (Originally published in 1954 in Washington, D.C.). Edited by Mary Pat Breitfelder and Bonnie Theisen, 2016.


Wesley, Samuel S. (1810-1876), “O Blessed St. Donatus.”



“St. Donatus (St. Donatus, Iowa),” Loras College Digital Collections, accessed April 12, 2024,