In 1810, Mr. Thomas Howard, “being desirous to promote the public good” and intending that his legacy “be conducive to the interests of virtue and religion,” bequeathed his estate, approximately 340 acres, which included the farm, the woodlands, the livestock, and a number of buildings to the Roman Catholic Bishop of Bardstown and his successors for perpetuity. Thomas and his wife Ann were instrumental in the establishment and growth of the Faith here in this part of Kentucky and wanted to ensure that it would continue to flourish in the years ahead.
Saint Thomas Farm & Parish
Since then there have been many ventures, some which have prospered and some which have faded into history. The first ministry to be established was the St. Thomas Seminary, which actually began the formation of its students on the river barge bringing settlers into this area from Maryland. A chapel, completed in 1816, was built for their worship and training needs as well as for the needs of Saint Thomas Church parishioners, who had been meeting in various settlers home since 1812. There was also, in 1812, a convent established, which eventually moved to Nazareth, KY and continues to thrive there to this day. There was at one time an orphanage, a one-room school attached to the old Howard’s log home, and the larger elementary school that educated St. Thomas students until 1998.
During all these faith ventures, the parish has continued to enjoy the fruits of our stewardship. We have farmed the land, harvested the timber, and hunted the wildlife. The tradition established many years ago of helping to foster ministries and organizations the Archbishop deems worthy: a seminary, a parish community, a convent, a one-room school, an orphanage, and an elementary school continues on as we seek to honor the intent of Thomas Howard that the estate would ”promote the public good.” If you do not have a parish home and would like to be a part of the great tradition, please consider joining here us here at St. Thomas.
Fr. Jeff Hopper +