Most Reverend J. René Vilatte (1854-1929)

Christian (Old) Catholic priest in the United States, first Bishop Ordinary of the CCRCC, President and Organizer of the American Catholic (Community) Church Council.

"Landing there, walked south along the lonely shore of Green Bay for about three miles where you will find a small house facing the bay, a log cabin clapboarded over the logs, with a crodd arising from the centre of the ridge-pole. This at once is the rectory and chapel. Its overlook is most lovely. It is entered by door in the middle of the front side. Entering the door we are in the middle of holy poverty. The seats in the chapel are rough planks resting on temporary structures, the altar construction likewise, which is concealed by plain white muslin frontal. The top is covered with fair linen cloth, the altar ornaments are made of wood by the priest himself, and their roughness concealed by a coat of paint or folds of white paper. A platform a few inches high does duty for foot pace and on the floor surrounding the altar and foot pace is tacked a strip of crash towelling. This is the chancel. The sanctuary lamp is a taper in a tumbler of oil resting on a bracket nailed to the window frame. An equally rough lectern completes the furniture. For vestments, a cheap set of white Roman pattern with a chalice and paten.

"The office and bedroom of the priest are opposite. Here there is no attempt at a credible appearance, except that as a chapel, all is scrupulously neat. In the office, a small cookstove and pine table covered with enamel cloth. Over the table is a rough shelf containing a few books, small crucifix and photographs of Bishop Edward Herzog, Père Hyacinthe Loyson and Dr. Eugene Michaud. A similar shelf in the bedroom contains a few more books. On the floor is no sight of carpet, on the bare logs of the house no coverings but whitewash" (The Living Church 10-24-1885).

At this time Marcel Pelletier joined Vilatte as a lay missionary.
(Editor's Notes : Reading the above, we see how simple Vilatte lived in his mission territory. There were few creature comforts and like many other pioneer priests, he made a sacrifice to live among and minister to the people of God in North-eastern Wisconsin. I believe that this is what Bishop Brown saw, when he visited the station. Vilatte was a humble man and many people saw this.)

Requiescat in pace.
May he rest in peace!