Joseph Maria Koudelka

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Joseph Maria Koudelka
Bishop of Superior
Photograph of Bishop Joseph M Koudelka November 5, 1913 at Superior, Wisconsin
Bishop Joseph M Koudelka, November 5, 1913
Church Catholic Church
Diocese Diocese of Superior
In office November 5, 1913—June 24, 1921
Predecessor Augustine Francis Schinner
Successor Joseph Gabriel Pinten
Other posts

Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio (auxiliary bishop) 1907—1911

Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (auxiliary bishop) 1911—1913
Ordination November 29, 1875
Consecration November 9, 1907
Personal details
Born (1852-12-08)December 8, 1852
Chlistova, Bohemia
Died June 24, 1921(1921-06-24) (aged 68)
Superior, Wisconsin
Buried St. Mary Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio
Denomination Catholic Church
Parents Markus and Anna Jonoushek Koudelka
Occupation Catholic Bishop
Previous post Auxiliary bishop, Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Alma mater St. Francis Seminary

Joseph Maria Koudelka (December 8, 1852 – June 24, 1921) was a prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who served as the second Bishop of the Diocese of Superior, Wisconsin (1913-1921).


Born in Bohemia (now Austria), he attended college in Klattau, Bohemia and emigrated to America in 1868 to attend St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee.[1]

Early years in Cleveland and Milwaukee[edit]

Koudelka was ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood November 29, 1875, for the Diocese of Cleveland by Tobias Mullen, bishop of Erie, Pennsylvania.[2]

On November 29, 1907, Pope Pius X appointed him auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland and he was ordained on February 25, 1908 with a special ministry to the Slavic community.[3]

On June 24, 1911 Pope Pius X appointed him auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. He was ordained as the first auxiliary bishop of Milwaukee on September 4, 1911.[4]

Bishop of Superior, Wisconsin[edit]

On August 6, 1913, Pope Pius X appointed Koudelka the second bishop of the Diocese of Superior.[2] He was installed at the pro-cathedral of Sacred Heart in Superior, Wisconsin by Archbishop Sebastian Messmer of Milwaukee.[1]

Fluent in eight languages, Koudelka authored books in Bohemian, German and English.[5] At Superior he added the Ojibwe language to his vocabulary. He commissioned works of art for several church properties.

His greatest accomplishment was forming a social service agency today known as the Catholic Charities Bureau.[6] On September 12, 1917 he dedicated St. Joseph's Children's Home in Superior, an orphanage that housed up to 200 children. He conducted over 100 parish missions around the country and contributed donations to help finance the orphanage.

He died on June 24, 1921 at his residence.[7] The funeral Mass was celebrated at the chapel of St. Joseph's Children's Home by his nephew Fr. Charles Koudelka of Cleveland. The next day, a solemn burial Mass was held at Sacred Heart pro-cathedral. Final services were at St. Michael Church in Cleveland where he was pastor with burial at St. Mary Cemetery.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Our Journey through Faith; A History of the Diocese of Superior. Ireland: Booklink, 2005, p. 26.
  2. ^ a b Bishop Joseph M. Koudelka biography at
  3. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia, Cleveland Auxiliary Bishop of Cleveland
  4. ^ Milwaukee Archdiocese, affiliated Bishops at
  5. ^ 1920 published book 'Forty Hours Adoration, Diederich-Schaefer Co. Milwaukee
  6. ^ History of Diocese of Superior, Bishop Koudelka at
  7. ^ Our Journey, p. 28.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Augustine Francis Schinner
Bishop of Superior
Succeeded by
Joseph G. Pinten
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Milwaukee
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Cleveland
Succeeded by