We pray that the faith the early settlers brought to this community
continue to be nurtured and grow. We pray to the Lord. Lord, hear
We pray for our families, for the sick and elderly relatives
that God may comfort them in their trials. We pray to the Lord.
Lord, hear our prayer
We pray for the residents in Nursing Homes that they may be
cared for. For the staff and caregivers that they may provide
continued love and assistance to those in need. We pray to the
Lord. Lord, hear our prayer
We pray for the Wilken, Hockert, Roers and Koeplin families
that they may feel the presence of God's love. We pray to the
Lord. Lord, hear our prayer
We pray Our Lady of the Hills will continue to guide our actions
and to protect this area from harm. We pray to the Lord. Lord,
hear our prayer
We pray for Laura that she may witness Christ's welcoming embrace
and eternal peace with the faithful departed in heaven. We pray
to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer
I'm glad to see so many familiar faces in attendance this morning.
You honor us with your presence. Thank you for coming.
I wish to thank your pastor, Father Lemm, for his generous
hospitality and gracious consent to my Mother's desire to be buried
from her home parish. Thank you also for assisting in the many
details and answering my questions concerning the service. Your
help has made this a beautiful occasion.
Thanks to Father Joe Korpf, our pastor at Our Lady of Victory
in Fergus Falls, for taking time from a busy schedule to assist
in celebrating the Mass for my mother and delivering the beautiful
homily. Father brought communion to our house many times, twice
a month he says Mass at Pioneer Home. He anointed Ma after her
first stroke in January of 1995 and again the Friday before her
last one. The morning of her stroke, he came and said the prayers
of the Church for the dying. One hour before she was to pass away,
Father came without being called, and said the concluding prayers
for someone who has died. He stayed with me until she passed away.
last night he conducted the prayer service at the Olson Funeral
Home. You certainly took good care of mother and she always responded
with a big smile when she heard you were coming to see her.
Thanks to our soloist, Pam from OLV, for singing ma's favorite
religious song "The Holy City". She-would play the piano
and Della would sing it until the walls vibrated.
Thanks to your organist, Rose, and to the choir for leading
in song. Your music filled the church with warmth and joy. Thanks
to the pall bearers for your presence today, Thanks to our relatives
on both sides of the family for your many invitations, family
gatherings, prayers, visits, calls, flowers, food and friend-ship
throughout the years. Ma loved you all.
And finally, thanks to this parish, the surrounding community,
our neighbors at the farm, especially the Allie Korkowski family,
and those at RusDic Manor for your kindness, help and friendship
shown to my parents and to me during these many years. May God
bless you all.
We are gathered here this morning not only to pay our last
respects to the mortal remains of my mother, but also to witness
the passing of the last of the 3rd generation of Hockerts who
immigrated to his country in the 1860's from the little German
village of Schwemlingen in the Saarland of western Germany. Only
surviving member of this generation is Tillie Hockert Reynolds.
According to the late Msgr. Lorsung who spent many hours tracing
family history, Nickolaus Hockert's wife, Anna Boesen ( I'm using
the German pronunciation) is presumed to be the 3rd person buried
in our church cemetery. The reason for this uncertainty surrounding
her death and burial in 1869 is that no church records were kept
until the establishment of a permanent pastor in 1876. A Rev.
Francis Pierz (for whom Pierz, Minnesota is named) was instructed
by his bishop, Bishop Cretin, to walk from St. Paul to Millerville
where he then heard confessions, baptized infants, held marriages
etc. Also the first Mass was celebrated at the home of the John
Miller's. From Millerville Fr. Pierz walked to what is now St.
Lawrence near Rush Lake and from there to Long Prairie where he
remained for several years ministering to both the settlers and
the native Indians.
A question we may ask of ourselves this morning is - what motivated
the Nick Hockert family and other like families to leave their
native land and to come to America? Was it because they heard
of free land and that money was scarce in Germany, or were they
denied the freedom to dream of a better life for themselves and
their children and that opportunity lay across the ocean? Whatever
their reason, it must have been a heartwrenching decision for
them to leave behind aging parents, brothers and sisters whom
they would never see again and to journey across a vast ocean
and to spend 7 long weeks on the water before reaching New York
with a wife and 4 small children. They must also have been aware
that many could and would die during the passage from various
diseases. In fact, Historians tell of whole families perishing
before they arrived in New York. They sacrificed their privacy
as each family huddled together in cramped quarters. Also what
provisions, what family treasures would they be allowed to bring
along. But "Wenn der Papa sagt, Mir gehen zu America, mir
gehen!!: Kinder mach shnell."
And so the family came up the mighty Mississippi and spent
2 years in St. Louis where Nicholas's sister, Barbara, had arrived
2 years previously. Then it was on to Minnesota where they settled
on the east shore of Lake Moses, the present home of Dennis Hockert.
There was no Welcome Wagon Hostess to greet them, but rather the
harsh reality of frontier life. There was no church, Mass or sacraments,
no school or country doctor, no roads but trails through the woods
- and for neighbors, total strangers bound together by a common
language (German) and faith (Catholic) and the need to survive.
After erecting their log houses, their first priority was to build
a church and a school as the hub of their new formed community.
They also reserved time for duty, responsibility, commitment and
a love for family, church and community. We here today are mightily
blessed because of the strong faith, courage and commitment of
these early settlers of our area whether their names were: Hockert,
Wilken, Miller, Weber, Buscher, Wagner, Dobmeyer, Hopfner, Zwack,
Lorsung, Cichy, Freske or Koeplin.
What guided these immigrants to leave their native land and
endure the hardships of pioneer life? Perhaps, just as a star
once guided the Wise Man to Bethlehem, a star of destiny must
have guided these families to this peaceful area of good rich
soil and void of earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and war and where
their seed, long planted in the earth of our cemetery, has grown
and blossomed. And we today are the fruit of their labor and sacrifice.
Our journey's today are often taken with the aid of brochures
which spell out in detail what we are about to see. Theirs was
not a journey of sight, for they ventured forward into the unknown,
theirs was definitely a journey of faith, a faith not only in
themselves as individuals and as families, but more importantly,
a deep and abiding faith in Cod that His guiding hand would see
them safely through.
The Wilken family originated from Mecklenburg, near Berlin,
and Johan Wilken and his wife, Hannah, and 3 Kinder came to America
in 1851 and settled in Racine, Wisconsin. William was born in
this country and came to Minnesota in the early 1870's. He married
Bertha Hockert in 1878 in the little log church here at Millerville.
To this union were born: Anna(Mrs. John Schwartz), Willie, Johnny,
Carrie(Mrs. John Hopfner), Della(Mrs. James Benoit), Carl and
my mother Laura(Mrs. Joe A. Roers). The descendants of Annie -
Laura and Louise - have passed away and never married, Della didn't
have any children, and Mother's branch of the family is also rather
bare, being I'm the last twig. But the descendants of Willie,
Johnny, Carrie and Carl have made up for these deficits and we
are indebted to them for doing so.
John Donne in one of his sermons written in the 1600's says
"No man is an island unto himself, but is apart of the main.
When the Church baptizes a child, that action concerns me because
that child is here connected to that body of which I am a member,
and when she buries a man, that action concerns me too, for any
man's death diminishes me. Therefore1 when the bell tolls, ask
not for whom it tolls, for it tolls for thee." When the bell
tolled for Anna and Nickolaus Hockert, it was already tolling
for our Grandpa William, for our Grandma Bertha, for my dad Joseph
and my mother Laura, but also for me. I was wondering, as I was
writing this down, what Nickolaus and Anna would say to us today
as they view this response, beautiful church, music and a concelebrated
Mass. Perhaps it would be a simple "Ganz schon". But
they may also add the idea that hope must triumph over adversity.
For this is a wisdom tutored by life itself, about the seen and
the unseen, about things that change and things that are changeless.
I believe we have all heard the expression "the fork in
the road or the road not taken" - a time at which we make
a choice that will ultimately change the direction of our lives.
Mother was presented with this choice in her teen years She began
taking piano lessons at age 13 from Anna Dahl in Evansville and
at about 18 she attended the Fargo Conservatory for 6 months.
The following fall she was to return to Fargo to continue her
musical education. However, her parents were getting up in age
and her mother was ill at the time. So mother, already at the
train station, turned back and returned home to remain with her
parents. She cared for her parents until Grandpa died at age 86
and Grandma at age 97. Again the theme of duty, responsibility,
commitment and love enters the picture. Why? The answer is quite
simple - for many of us gathered here this morning - God doesn't
ask for volunteers to perform a task. He hands us the ball and
whispers, "Go for it". So we, in the lives of our various
families have our own instances of "the road not taken"
because we too have heard and listened to the "voice of the
On the eve of August the 9th, 1996, Jesus entered Mother's
room and stood at the foot of the bed and said "Laura, you
have labored long and faithfully in my vineyard, now come with
me to your new home - an eternity with me in heaven".
May Laura and all the faithful departed rest in peace!