Membership in Družba sv. Mohorja (The Society of St. Hermagoras) in the United States to the Year 1900
Družba sv. Mohorja has played an important role among Slovene emigrants, particularly as a cultural and language link with the homeland. Membership by Slovene emigrants is also a measure of Slovene presence in the new homeland. The paper shows, in number and place, the expansion of membership in družba sv. Mohorja among Slovene emigrants to the USA up too year 1900. The article Slovenes in the Calendar of Družba sv. Mohorja by the priest Franc Šušteršič from the Sv. Jože Parish in Joliet is also briefly presented.
There is no need to prove the great cultural and educational role which Družba sv. Mohorja had in Slovenia. Less known, however, is its activity among Slovene emigrants in various parts of the world, where it helped maintain a strong language, cultural and other connections with the homeland. The dissemination of its publications and the geographical distribution of its members help us trace Slovene emigrant settlements, even where they no longer exist today. The paper shows, in number and place, the expansion of membership in Družba Sv. Mohorja among Slovene emigrants to the USA up to the year 1900 and it also includes data on their settlement in America which was published in the article Slovenes in America in 1894 in the »Koledar Družbe sv. Mohorja*. This article, produced by Franc Šušteršič, priest form Sv. Jožef Parish in Joliet, is based on the author’s own data and on the data of several inform ants - particularly Slovene emigrant priests. Father Šušteršič’s contribution, Slovenes in America, is also briefly presented. After a short survey of the history of immigration to America, the author presents information on all Slovene settlements, stressing the religious conditions of Slovene emigrants. In the second part, he shows in detail the everyday life of Slovene emigrants, its advantages and disadvantages, with the obvious intention of instructing future emigrants from the homeland on the circumstances and possibilities of living in the USA. The paper points out that the several St. Hermagoras centers in the USA were soon formed (Joliet, Cleveland, Brockway, Calumet - Red Jacket). As a rule, they appeared in those Slovene settlements with the strongest religious organisation. This paper is merely an initial, modest attempt to show the activity of Družba sv. Mohorja among Slovene emigrants and to suggest the net affect of its members outside the homeland.