Brother Basil Kruse, C.S.C. (1893-1951)

Joseph Kruse (von Zelewski) was born in Berlin, Germany and came to the United States in 1907 and entered Holy Cross in September of that year.  He took final vows in 1918.  In 1919 he taught music and singing at Notre Dame and then was sent to Holy Cross School, New Orleans where he was a teacher of all grades and a dormitory prefect.  Returning to Notre Dame for one year, he was sent to Bengal in 1927.  He was an expert photographer and took and developed many of the photos that appeared in the mission’s magazine The Bengalese.  After 11 years as a missionary, he returned to New Orleans in 1934 where he lived and worked until his death in 1951.  

Perhaps Brother Basil’s life as a teacher and missionary is not as remarkable as many priests, brothers and sister of Holy Cross, but there was a memorable year for him.  Sometime during his years at Holy Cross School, he wrote on Holy Cross School letterhead an undated letter to Brother Columba O’Neil, the hailed healer and miracle man of Notre Dame. 

My dear Brother Columba,

I wish to thank you for your devoted efforts in asking the help of the Sacred Heart for my mother.  She has fully recovered [from Spanish Flu], although her case was very serious and her physicians gave her up.  May the Sacred Heart increase still more favors upon you.

Through your kindness I owe you also the cure of my father, who was pronounced incurable [from Spanish Flu] by several physicians.  The only acknowledgement I can show you for your kindness is to pray for you often.

I have spoken about you to some of my boys up here and you must probably have received some letters from them asking you for your help.

Another request I wish to make to you is that you remember Brother Augustine [Alderidge] who is very badly paralyzed.  He suffers intensely and I hope Almighty God may come to his help. Also, Brother Alfred [?] is not in a favorable condition.  His heart is weak and it is making him almost unfit for work.

Thanking you again for your good will.  I am yours devotedly in Jesus Christ.

6 thoughts on “

  1. Brother Basil was a wonderful person. I took a religion class with him and enjoyed it very ;much. He was an especially kind person and had a great sense of humor. One of his great sayings was ” remember you are not the only pimple on the pickle”.

  2. Just a note, Berlin has several rivers, but is not located anywhere near the Rhine, which is in the western part of Germany.

    1. You’re welcome! My whole education was with the Holy Cross congregation, Marianites in grammar school, brothers in high school (Holy Cross New Orleans) and of course priests at ND. I went over to the Jesuits for graduate school at Georgetown, however. 😉
      This article came to my attention because of a textbook on brothers who taught at HC that some alumni are compiling.

      1. Hello again Fritz, thanks for sharing about your Holy Cross connection – very cool! You – amongst all of the visitors to our blog – will probably recognize more CSCs than anybody….we try to alternate among sisters, brothers and priests. Many blessings to you with your current endeavors!

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