History of St. Teresa of Avila Parish

St. Teresa Church has been the center of spiritual life in Westphalia and surrounding community for 137 years.

In the spring of 1880, three brothers from Westphalia, Iowa (Emil, Anton and Carl Flushe) came to this area looking for a suitable location to establish a good home for German Catholics. Later that spring they returned with their families to settle in the new town of Westphalia.  The first Mass was celebrated at their home by a Carmelite priest from Scipio on April 13, 1880.Fourteen adults and several children attended the Mass. More families from Iowa arrived in June of that year.

In May of 1881, the parishioners built the first church, a 22x40 building . It was placed under the patronage of the great Spanish saint, St. Teresa of Avila and was dedicated on July 1881.  The building was used for both church services and parochial school which was taught by lay people. The first resident priest was appointed in 1883 and a rectory was built for him.

By 1888, the parish had outgrown the small church and it was decided to build a new Gothic style church.  The parishioners excavated the basement, quarried and hauled lime stone and sand and made their own bricks. When it was dedicated in April 1891, this magnificent church was rated as one of the most beautiful in the state of Kansas.

In 1965 the 75 year old church became structurally unsound and it was decided to replace it.  A new church was built on the same site. The statues from the old church were refurbished in bronze to match the style of the 60's. The 3 big bells that had been in the steeple of the old church were hung in a free standing tower. This allowed continuity between the old and the new. The present day church was dedicated on August 28, 1966.

Today there are approximately 75 families who worship at St. Teresa Church. May God continue to shower His blessings on them as He has the past 137 years.

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404 Garrison Aveue
Westphalia, KS 66093