Serra in St. Louis



        Born on Mallorca November 24, 1713. Died in Carmel, CA August 28, 1784.

In 1935 four businessmen in Seattle, Washing-ton founded the first Serra Club to promote vocations to the Catholic Priesthood and Religious Life. Named after Father Junipero Serra, who founded many Missions in California and Mexico, it has grown to an International Organization of over 800 Clubs in 37 countries throughout the world.


        The Serra Club of St. Louis was chartered on May 24, 1944. The first president was Clyde W. Hilton and Monsignor John P. Cody was the chaplain. One year prior, Frank Bruce of Serra International assisted our local leaders and obtained the approval of Archbishop John J. Glennon to form a new Serra Club.

The fledgling group boasted thirty-two ­members, all devoted Catholic businessmen.
They met at the Missouri Athletic Club (MAC).
The early years were spent strengthening the organization and recruiting new members. Msgr. Cody became Auxiliary Bishop and Fr. James E. Hoflich became Chaplain.

By 1945, the vocation activities were well underway. An essay contest based on vocations was developed and promoted for 6th graders and continues to this day. 16 mm films were produced honoring priests (Captains In His Army-1945)
and sisters (God’s career Women-1950). Serrans, working in pairs, spoke to grade school children about vocations to the priesthood and the religious life. Many of our priests and sisters today, active and retired, sat in those classrooms.

The tradition of annual luncheons honoring our priests, newly ordained, pastors, and retired, was begun with lasting success.

Through the 50’s to the 90’s more and more dynamic programs were initiated and completed, “31 Clubs”, “Family Prayer”, “Called by Name”, the excellent video “God’s Call-A Family Affair”, the “First Friday Program” and “Adopt a Seminarian” are just a few of the Serran activities. Each year,
a burse is presented to the Archbishop for voca-
tion needs.  In 2003 an additional essay contest was initiated for high school sophomores.

The Monsignor Hoflich Vocation Fund was established to provide financial assistance to needy seminarians on their road to the priesthood. An annual Spring Golf Tournament provides funds for new vocation programs and special needs that may arise at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.

Seventeen current Serrans have served as club president and seven as district governor. Three members — Beno MacDonald (1950-1951), Frank‑McKeon (1986-1987) and Ray Mohrman (1997-1998) — have served as International Presidents. Today we stand 110 strong, dedicated to our tradition of working to supply laborers for God’s vineyard and enriching our own spiritual lives.