September 9, 1848 is the anniversary of the founding of St. Mary’s, Kansas.
Early that June, Fr. Verreydt would pray to the Blessed Mother to help find a good mission site he would name after her. After riding up a high hill which he could see from for miles he decided to settle on the spot where St. Mary’s Campus is today. Many historical people would pass the way of St. Mary’s. One being Fr. De Smet would pass by several times. He always kept his interest in the work of the missionaries in St. Mary’s. Most 49’s would travel west on the Oregon Trail and past right by St. Mary’s which is now US 24 and boarders the front of the College property. The 49’s would travel in covered wagons pulled by oxen and mules and since this journey would be the hardest they would ever experience they welcome the hospitality given by the missionaries at St. Mary’s. Approximately 300,000 westward-bound settlers would pass this way and would become a well known spot on the Oregon Trail.
September 14, 1848 Brother Mazzella begins working on two buildings which he decides to enlarge and quickly puts up a temporary chapel and a barn for horses. The mission barn farm has 170 acres that is fenced. Ninety-five of those acres is cultivated to growing potatoes, corn, oats, turnips, hemp, and buckwheat. There was enough fenced land to graze their cattle too. In 1852 Fr. Duerinck ordered the “McCormick Virginia Reaper” for $100 dollars. This machine would cut 60 acres of oats in five days. It was such an amazing site to see that people would come from 25 miles away just to see it function on the land. Fr. Duerinck then builds up the College farm and uses it as a model to teach the Potawatomi Indians how to farm. Father uses the disabled cattle that was left behind by the immigrants on the Oregon Trial and develops a superior herd. By 1853, the College cuts over 500 tons of hay and oats without a breakdown.
This is just some of the history that’s behind The Old Mission Farm. Today you will find John Yellico, manager of the Old Mission Farm, working away in the same fields talk about above. They sell pasture-raised, non-GMO fed, poultry and say that their happy hens are the only chickens that see a priest before they die. In addition to the chickens they also sell farm fresh eggs and pork which are also pasture-raised and non-GMO fed. The Old Mission Farm hands says that they have bacon with a Catholic upbringing. Mmmm….Bacon! In September The Old Mission Farm will have firewood available for sale. They are working on getting more cattle, goats, and lambs.
To help their operation grow and to replace the old roof on their historical barn which is in much need of replacement, consider buying these thoughtfully nurtured, healthy produce for your family. Since they can’t sell out of state, yet, please consider letting anyone you know in the state of Kansas about The Old Mission Farm. For questions and pricing call 785-437-2471, ext. 460 or go to .
To hear more about this historical building and it’s operations listen to Magnificat Radio at Magnificatmedia.com where we interview John Yellico about The Old Mission Farm. Listen Friday, August 21, 2015 from 6am – 8am and from 3pm – 7pm on Your Morning Tradition…..Living Our Faith.