Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lutheran Orphan's Home in Des Peres, MO

Two days ago I received a wonderful surprise in the mail from a deaconess friend who lives in St. Louis. The surprise is a plate depicting the 100th anniversary of the Lutheran Orphan's Home in Des Peres, MO, from 1868 to 1968. The back of the plate is inscribed: "In Memorial to the 100th Anniversary of the Lutheran Orphans' Home Celebrated July 21, 1968. Dedicated to all the Children, Housemothers, Fathers, and to the Glory of God. 1868-1968."

I'm not sure where my friend found this treasure, but I'm delighted with it. [Of course it is already 41 years old, which makes it even more precious!]

In chapter one of In the Footsteps of Phoebe I make reference to the very first Lutheran orphanage - which opened in Des Peres, Missouri, in 1868. This venerable institution has several connections with deaconesses.

1. We know that at least one deaconess from Germany worked at the orphanage in its early days;
2. We know that in 1934 Rev. Herman B. Kohlmeier, superintendent of deaconess training for the Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America, took a long road trip that included visiting the orphanage;
3. We know that Deaconess Florence Storck was assigned to work at the orphanage at the time of her commissioning in 1937, and worked there until transferring to the St. Louis Lutheran Mission in 1940.

My guess is that there are other connections between the deaconess community and the Orphans' Home that are still waiting to be discovered. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the plate! Thank you, Pam!

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