Catholic Ordination Remembrance Card

Catholic Card1Catholic Card2

“En Souvenir du Jour de notre Ordination. P. V. Frecenon. Detroit, 18 9bre 95”

Translated as “In Memory of the Day of our Ordination”  Signed P.V. Frecenon, November 18, 1895.

There are many entries in the Detroit City Directories for a Rev. Joseph Frecenon, who appears to be the same person as the Rev. Francis J. Frecenon, but we would think that this would not be the same Fr. Frecenon that signed this card. According to a Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin biography,  the Rev. Joseph Frecenon was born in Martinique, West Indies, July 27, 1851. He was ordained October 28, 1874 in Paris. He was at Cellule (France) for one year. He spent sixteen years at “St. Pierre, Miquelon” (St. Pierre and Miquelon are two French territorial islands south of the coast of Newfoundland), after that was in Beauvais, France. He was then assistant pastor at St. Joachim Parish in Detroit. (St. Joaquim is now a closed parish. 1885 – 1989) After serving at St. Joachim he went to Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and was pastor there at Holy Ghost Church.

In September 2013, I contacted the Archdiocese of Detroit for help on solving the P. V. Frecenon mystery. I was graciously contacted back by their Archive Dept. and informed that in 1895 Detroit did not have it’s own seminary, so priests serving in Detroit at that time would have been ordained elsewhere. In addition, I was informed that our Fr. Frecenon did not end his ministry in Detroit, as the Archdiocese has no file on him. P. V. Frecenon’s identity remains a mystery for now, and this is a prime example, especially relevant in the field of genealogy, that things are not always as they appear.

The date that Father Frecenon signed the card was November 18, 1895, “9bre” being at that time a standard abbreviation in french for November. (7bre – septembre, 8bre – octobre, 9bre – novembre, 10bre – decembre). I will have to search for the keystroke to make the “bre” smaller with the underline as it was actually written. The card was found in an antique store in Dearborn, Michigan.

Size of card:  4 x 6 1/2 inches

Sources:  U. S. City Directories 1821 – 1989 (

Chippewa County Wisconsin:  Past and Present:  A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement. Volume II. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago, 1913. (Googlebooks online)

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit, Archives Department. Detroit, Michigan, email contact September-October 2013.