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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF REV. PETER HENRY LEMKE,* O. S. B.
BY LAWRENCE F. FLICK, M. D.
When the human mind is overhung by doubt and the soul is engulfed in lowering despair a glimmer of light from the heroic life of an exemplar of Christ's sweet doctrine of love clears up the atmosphere and restores serenity. It is in such exemplars that the modern wise men in search of Christ find the oases in the desert of degenerate Christianity and the milestones by which they may regain the road to Christ's truth. To depict the lives of such exemplars and hold them up to the world in the mosaics of history is the noble function of the AMERICAN CATHOLIC HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Of the many noble men and women who in the early days of the present century sought their via crucis in the American wilderness and there followed in the footsteps of Christ by carrying the gospel to the strayed sheep of the fold, perhaps few had a more checkered career than Peter Henry Lemke.† A runaway boy, a wild German student, a Lutheran minister, a school teacher, a lover, a pious convert, a studious theologian,
*Father Lemke invariably spelled his surname Lemke. His Christian name was Peter Henry. His religious name in the Benedictine Order was Father Henry. In the certificate of his first communion and confirmation, signed by Bishop Sailer, the name is written Petrus Henricus Lemcke. In his passport the name is written Peter Lemke. In his exeat and in a certificate setting forth his reception into the Catholic Church, his ordination to the priesthood, etc., it is written Peter Lemke. One of the certificates is addressed on the outside to Rev. P. H. Lemke. The title page to his book is signed P. Heinrich Lemke.
For my information about the early life of Father Lemke I am indebted entirely to his autobiography, part of which was published in the first volume of the Carrolltown News, a copy of which is in the library of the AMERICAN CATHOLIC HISTORICAL