From California via Nebraska, Michigan, and Ohio, they came. From Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Indiana too. From age 93 (representing the generation whose uncle became Cardinal), to two babes in arms, they came to the home, and gathered in the very room where Elmer Joseph Ritter was born.
Why? Because Elmer grew up and eventually became the only priest born in Indiana to become a Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church – Joseph E. Cardinal Ritter (born July 20, 1892 in New Albany, Indiana and died June 10, 1967, St. Louis, Missouri). THAT’S WHY!!
The New Albany Daily Ledger, 07-25-1892, p3c2 reported his birth: “Born to the wife of Mr. and Mrs Nicholas Ritter, East Oak Street, a twelve pound son.”
There were quite a few years between Elmer’s birth and his becoming a Cardinal of the Church. He attended St. Mary’s parish school and then St. Meinrad Seminary. He was ordained a priest in 1917 and as Auxiliary Bishop in 1933. As Bishop of Indianapolis (1934), he became Archbishop of Indianapolis in 1944. In 1946 he became Archbishop of St. Louis in 1946, and ultimately a member of the College of Cardinals in 1961.
To celebrate their relationship to the lad who lived above his father’s bakery, and who planted the seeds of desegregation in America 10+ years before the Supreme Court’s now-famous Brown verses Topeka Board of Education decision in 1953 and 20+ years before the Civil Rights Act of 1963.