Monsignor Louis F. Pioletti papers
Papers (1908-1972) of Monsignor Louis F. Pioletti (1887-1972) comprises of approximately five linear feet of personal papers and memorabilia, including correspondence, diaries, and biographical information, sermons and notes of his Italian pastorate, sermons, notes, awards, and newspaper clippings of his pastorate at Holy Redeemer Church (St. Paul, Minnesota) and St. Ambrose Parish (St. Paul, Minnesota), and publications and photographs. Included are parish records from Holy Redeemer Church -the Italian nationality parish of St. Paul, Minnesota - and correspondence and information pertaining to Italian American organizations, including the Columbus Memorial Association, and UNICO.
Language of Materials
Italian and English
Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.
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Monsignor Louis F. Pioletti (1887-1972) was born on March 31, 1887 in Corio, Diocese of Turin, Italy. He was the sixth of seven children born to Francesco and Theresa Pioletti.
Drawn to the priestly vocation from his earliest youth, he entered the preparatory seminary of the little House of Divine Providence at the age of ten. In 1905, after completing preparatory courses, he enrolled in the Theological Seminary of Turin. he graduated on April 25, 1910 with the degree of Doctor of Divinity, and on June 29th of the same year was ordained to the preisthood by the Archbishop of Turin, Cardinal Richelmy.
Reverand Pioletti spent the next four years as an assistant professor of theology at the Sanctuary of the Consolate in Turin. Following this, he was made an assistant at the Parish of St. Andrew in the town of Bra. From 1916 until the end of World War I, Pioletti saw active combat service on the Austrian Front where he often risked his life to aid wounded and dying comrades. He himself received an injury from such efforts which plagued his walking the remainder of his life. His conduct under fire was recognized by the Italian government which presented him with the Medal of Honor.
After his release from the army, Pioletti attended the University of Turin where he took an intensified course in pedagogy in order to fulfill the national requirements for teaching in the public schools. Upon finishing this course he became pastor of the Cathedral of Chieri and a teacher in that city's public schools.
Following the war, Monsignor Pioletti became acutely aware, not only of the era of violent change that had come upon Italy and the Italian people, but also of the grave dangers threatening the apiritual and cultural heritage of Italian immigrants in foregin countries. With this uppermost in his mind he enteredthe Pontifical College for the Foreign Missions in Rome in 1923. After only one year of study he was sent to the Archdiocese of St. Paul to tend to the spiritual needs of an ever-increasing Italian colony.
Pioletti arrived in the United States on July 9, 1924, spent the next few months learning English, and on New Year's Day, 1925, was appointed pastor of both Hold Redeemer and its mission parish, St. Ambrse in St. Paul, Minnesota. With his zeal, Pioletti made up for the lack of material requirements needed to realize the spiritual and cultural life of the St. Paul Italian community. Indeed, only a year and a half after his arrival the two parishes had grown and flourished so successfully that an assistant pastor was granted to help Pioletti in his work.
Besides appreciation from his parishioners, Monsignor Pioletti also began to recieve recognition for his efforts from numerous other sources. In connection with the celebration of his Silver Jubilee in 1935, he recieved from King Victor Emanuel II of Italy the rarely confered title of Cavaliere Ufficiale della Corona in recognition for his extraordinary services to the Italian immigrants of the twin Cities. In 1949, Cardinal Forsati of Turin conferred upon Pioletti the dignity of an honorary canon of the cathedral of Chieri. In 1957, Pope Pius XII made him a domestic prelate with the title of Right Reverend Monsignor. In 1958, during the St. Paul Festival of Nations, held in connection with the Minnesota Statehood Centennial observance, Pioletti was hailed as an "oustanding citizen" in a special Centennial Salute. In June of that same year, the Italian government conferred upon him the Star of Solidarity of the Republic.
Throughout the economic depressions of the 1920's and 1930's, the Second World War and thereafter, Pioletti contniued to make improvements upon both of the churches assigned to him. Among his proudest days was January 6, 1946, when on the 30th Anniversary of Holy Redeemer Church, he was able to burn the church mortgage.
Pioletti was constantly involved in Italian American organizations and activities which took place in St. Paul. He was an honorary member of the Columbus Memorial Association; Chaplain of the Italian-American Legion; a member of the St. Anthony Society, of the Marconi Social Club, and of the Assunta Society.
The great interest Pioletti manifested towards his country-men often engaged hi energies far beyond the spiritual affairs of hi charges. Thus, in the early 1930's, he worked tirelessly on the project to erect a worthy historic monument honoring the memory of Christopher Columbus in Minnesota. The fact that a statue of the Genovese stands today on Minnesota's Capitol Hill and that October 12th. Columbus' Birthday, is observed annually as a holiday throughout the State is in no small measure due to Pioletti's tireless leadership in the campaigns that made these achievements possible.
In 1957, Monsignor Pioletti was afflicted with cancer of the throat. Atthe same time he first heard of the possibility that Holy Redeemer Church might be destroyed to make room for the new freeway system which St. Paul and the State of Minnesota were then projecting. Radiation treatments arrested the cancer and saved the greater part of his voice. Meanwhile, the Highway Department temporarily rerouted the proposed freeways. But in 1965 cancer struck again, this time requiring the complete removal of the vocal chords, which left the Monsignor speaking through a voice box for the rest of his life. Then in 1967, after an attempt to save the church once more from the HIghway Commission, a flight which took on national dimensions, Holy Redeemer Church and Monsignor Pioletti's pastorate, dreams, and life's work were destroyed by bulldozers.
In 1968 Pioletti retired as pastor of the Italian nationality parish which was still meeting at a temporary location. On Saturday morning, December 18, 1972, Monsignor Pioletti succumbed to a renewed bout with cancer and to his eighty-five fruitful and rewarding years.
5 Linear Feet
The papers of Monsignor Louis F. Pioletti have been organized into four major categories: I. Personal Papers and Memorabilia (folders 1-12) II. Pioletti's Italian Pastorate (folder 13-24) III. Pioletti's American Pastorate (folder 25-56) IV. Miscellaneous (folders 57-61)
The collection was processed in 1975 by A. C. Meloni, Research Assistant.
- Church records and registers -- Minnesota -- Saint Paul. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Italian Americans -- Societies, etc. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Priests. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Inventory of the Monsignor Louis F. Pioletti papers.
- IHRC Archives
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding Aid in English
Collecting Area Details
Contact The Immigration History Research Center Archives Collecting Area