About St. Robert Parish



We, the people of St. Robert Congregation, a Roman Catholic Faith Community, respond to God’s call by:

  • Celebrating the Eucharist and becoming Who we celebrate
  • Sharing prayer together
  • Studying and living the Word of God through Lifelong Faith Formation
  • Responding to the spiritual, temporal, educational and social needs of our parish family
  • Collaborating with the greater Church to build a just society.

​​​​​​​We pledge to contribute our time, talent, and treasure for the spiritual and financial wellbeing of our Parish and the broader community.


—compiled by Parish Historian Margaret Sankovitz

St. Robert of Newminster Parish was incorporated in 1912. The first Mass was celebrated in a small wooden building hastily constructed on the south side of Mineral Spring Rd. (Capitol Dr.) in June, 1913. A permanent church/school building was erected by October, 1913, and the wooden church was razed.

St. Robert School was opened in September, 1915, with four grades on the second floor of the church/school building. From 1915 until 2002, it was staffed by Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, Wisconsin. The church/school building was added to in 1927, and again in 1958.

In 1937, the current St. Robert Church, a Milwaukee County Landmark and outstanding example of Lombardy Romanesque architecture, was erected, at which time the church space in the school became school space.​

Msgr. Farrel P. Reilly was the founding pastor and served until his death in 1958. There have been eight succeeding pastors: Rev. Gerald E. McGinnity, Msgr. Frank M. Schneider, Msgr. Harold O. Prudell, Rev. Richard J. Cerpich, Rev. John J. Pulice, Rev. Dennis A. Dirkx, Rev. Raymond Guthrie, and Rev. Enrique Hernandez.

Celebrating the Rich Legacy of St. Robert Parish and School

The historical mural shown at the top of the page, honoring the rich history and tradition of St. Robert Parish and School, is in Reilly Hall. It was made possible through gifts made in memory of Dick ‘50 and Mary Ann Seelman ’56 Mathews, and with support from the St. Robert Class of 2020. Thank you to Margaret Mathews Sankovitz ’47, parish and school historian, for preserving and sharing these priceless images. Click here for a description of the photos and contact the parish office if you’d like to schedule an in-person viewing!

Want to know more about St. Robert and how he is represented in our church? Click on the image!


—compiled by Parish Historian Margaret Sankovitz

Although little is known of his youth, the accomplishments of St. Robert are well recorded following his ordination to the priesthood. After serving as a rector in Yorkshire for a time, Robert joined a group of Benedictine monks in 1132 at St. Mary Abbey, York, England. In that year, the monks built the famous Fountains Abbey in a valley called Sheldale, within the town of Sutton. The abbey was so called because of the springs found on the property.
They soon became affiliated with the Cistercian reform which had been introduced by St. Bernard, Cistercian Abbot of Clairvaux. Robert of York was a close friend of Bernard. In 1137, Robert of York was sent to be abbot of a new monastery at Morpeth—Newminster Abbey—and Robert of York became Robert of Newminster.

Robert ruled and directed the monks at Newminster for 21 years. He was a man of prayer, favored with gifts of prophecy and miracles. He died on June 7, 1159, and is buried at Newminster Abbey. His tomb became a pilgrimage for many who sought his help. The numbers of pilgrims became so great that his body was moved from the chapter house to the choir of the church and reinterred in front of the high altar. A shrine was erected over his grave. During the reformation in England, the Abbey was abandoned and now lies in ruins.

St. Robert’s Fair is held each year on or near the feast of Robert of Newminster.

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