Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Priest and missionary, b. at Amsterdam, Holland, 5 Nov., 1783; d. at Little Chute, Wisconsin, 5 Nov., 1851. He made his studies in Holland, was ordained in Germany in 1809, and was received into the Dominican Order in 1817. In 1819 he as appointed to Alkmaar, where he published "Sermons for all Sundays and Holidays". On 15 Aug., 1832, with seven other missionaries, he arrived in Baltimore, and thence went to Cincinnati. The missionaries were sent to different places, and Father Van den Broek eventually went to the convent of St. Rose in Kentucky. After a short stay at St. Rose he was removed to Somerset, Ohio. Hearing of the sad condition of the Indians in Michigan (now Wisconsin ), he obtained permission from Bishop Purcell of Cincinnati to go to them, and arrived at Green Bay, 4 July, 1834. He found there only ten Catholic families, but laboured zealously among the whites and Indians. He completed the church and priest's house begun by Father Mazzuchelli, and devoted himself to the Indians during an epidemic of cholera, aided by two self-sacrificing religious, Sisters Clara and Theresa Bourdalou. In 1836, at the request of the Indians of Little Chute, he took up his residence with them. He taught his Indian neophytes the alphabet, and they could soon read Bishop Baraga's prayer-books and catechisms. The following year he built a log church thirty by twenty-two feet and in 1839 he built an addition thereto of twenty feet. As the mission at Green Bay was for some time without a resident priest, Father Van den Broek frequently said Mass on Sundays at each place, walking the intervening distance of twenty- two miles even in the severest weather. He made arduous and dangerous journeys of two hundred miles, to minister to his Menominee and Winnebago Indians.

He had no income outside of his own resources; he built his first church himself, with the aid of his Indians. He was both priest and physician to the Indians at Buttes des Morts, Fort Winnebago, Fond du Lac, Prairie du Chien, Lake Poygan, Calumet, and even the Indian village on the Milwaukee River. He civilized the Indians, worked with them, showed them the use of tools, how to cultivate the land, and with their help he built a church seventy feet long, which he dedicated to St. John Nepomueene. Between 1836 and 1844 he converted and baptized over eight hundred Indians. In 1847 having obtained a priest to temporarily replace him, he sailed for Holland, arriving at Amsterdam, 13 August, 1847. In 1848 he returned with three shiploads of Dutch immigrants, whose descendants now form the population of north-eastern Wisconsin, and are distinguished by their zealous faith, industry, thrift, and good order. The influence of their missionary work has extended into Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, South Dakota , Noth Dakota, Oregon, and other states.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Philippians 1:1-11
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 111:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 Alleluia! I give thanks to Yahweh with all my ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 14:1-6
1 Now it happened that on a Sabbath day he had gone ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 31st, 2014 Image

St. Wolfgang
October 31: Wolfgang (d. 994) + Bishop and reformer. Born in Swabia, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter