Rev. Oldenburg, circa 1915, Fruita, Colorado
Rev. Oldenburg, circa 1915, Fruita, Colorado

Born : 12th September, 1872 - Galens, Illinois, USA

Died : 7th May, 1949 - Galens, Illinois, USA

Buried : St.Mary's Cemetery, Galens, Illinois, USA

Occupation : Catholic priest

Parents : Father - German descent, Mother - Irish descent. Both born in the USA.


In the 1900 Census for Delta, Colorado, he was age 27 and living as an initiate monk in St. Julian's Monastery.

1920 Census he lived at 44 Geneva Street, Akron, Colorado. Occupation: Catholic Priest.

1930 Census living at 71 Matson Avenue in Crested Buttes, Colorado.
Occupation:  Pastor of a Catholic Church.


Joseph was 56 years old when he wrote his letter to Meher Baba in 1928.

Thanks to Randy Wasserstrom for sharing the following information on the PDF.

Rustam Irani Naorooz Driver ( Padri's eldest brother )
Naorooz Rustam.docx
Microsoft Word Document 1.7 MB


In the Winter 2013 edition of the Glow International newsletter / magazine, Randy Wasserstrom wrote an detail account about Rev. Joseph Oldenburg, on pages 14 - 17.



From "Tavern Talk"

Archives Team
Avatar Meher Baba P.P.C. Trust


HEART TALK -- AKI Secretary Collection -- Fourth Letter

Below is another letter from Joseph N. Oldenburg, who had a previous
letter posted on Heart Talk three weeks ago.

Thanks to David Fenster and Jeanne Kassof, we now have more
information about Joseph Oldenberg, whose letter to Baba is posted
below. Joseph learned of Baba prior to 1927, so he might have been
Baba's first contact in America, and was at least among the first.
There may have been others, but in 1926 Baba had the early
correspondence burnt. A letter to Baba from Joseph is mentioned in
Chanji's Diary on 1 January, 1927.

Briefly, Joseph was born in Galens, Illinois in 1872 and was buried
there in 1949. He was of Irish/German descent and both his parents
were born in the USA. In 1900 he was in an initiate monk in St.
Julian's Monastery, Delta, Colorado and subsequently served as a
Catholic priest in different parishes in Colorado.

His mother was Frenymasi, Mehera's aunt,
and he would have certainly known of Baba.

From: --
Joseph N. Oldenburg
Crested Butte

My dearest, beloved and most Respected Guruji and Divine Father Shree
Santguru Meher-Baba:

First of all, I lay my head on thy Divine Feet for thy Derson
[Darshan] and Blessings, my beloved Divine Bawaji and Divine Guruji

I write this letter to your goodself for only to let your goodself
know that the other day I received your looked for and very welcome
letter of Nov. 21st 1929. It gave me much pleasure.

I use the ash according to the instructions of your goodself. The
Doctor tells me there is quite an amount of pus in my urine, coming
from the Prostate Gland and the bladder. The Doctors advised me to
undergo an operation, I do not wish to do so. Please let me know if I
should or should not have the operation! Please help me and cure me of
this ailment or inflammation, my beloved Divine Guruji, Shree Santguru
Meher-Baba. I feel that your goodself can cure me. If your goodself
wishes to me to go on any diet please let me know and I will carry out
your goodself's instruction in as far as I can possibly do so.

If I am correct it was on Oct 1-1926 that your goodself accepted me as
your goodself's student. My Divine Father and beloved Divine Guruji
Almighty assist me and help me to rise high-higher into God
consciousness. I feel within me that I am being raised or gaining in
spiritual knowledge. Is this correct my Divine Father and beloved
Guruji Almighty?

Now I retire from your goodelf with my head on thy Divine Feet for thy
Dersons [Darshan] and Blessings. Please accept my mightiest
worshipping love and kisses from me for your goodself. I am as ever

Your most humble Disciple,
Joseph N. Oldenburg.
Dec. 27th, 1929

This week's letter, dated 28 December 1928, is from a man who wrote
many letters to Baba, but we have been unable to find out anything
about him apart from what he reveals his letters. It is not clear how
he came into contact with Baba. He has beautiful handwriting, but his
spelling stumbles from time to time and his use of language suggests
that English may not be his first language.

Some adjustments have been made for readability.


From: --
Joseph N. Oldenburg
Telluride Colorado.

Dec. 28 -1928.

My dearest, beloved and most Respected Guruji and Divine Father
Shree Santguru Meher-Baba:

First of all, I lay head on thy Divine Feet for thy Dersons [Darshan]
and Blessings, my beloved Divine Bawaji and Divine Guruji Almighty.

I write this letter to your goodself for to let your goodself know
that often do I think of your goodself both day and night, my thoughts
go out to your goodself.

I have been expecting to receive a letter from your goodself, but none
came, I always look forward to receiving a letter from your goodself.
I hear the raps frequently I also hear something like a voice trying
to speak to me.

If there is anything I can do in order to assist or help me to unfold
God-consciousness please let me know.

My Divine Guruji, your goodself know that I wish your goodself all
joy-happiness and success for the New Year.

Now, I retire from your goodself with my head on thy Divine Feet for
thy Dersons [Darshan[ and Blessings. Please accept my mightiest
worshiping love from me for your goodself.

I am as ever,
Your most humble Disciple

Joseph N. Oldenburg.

Letter to Meher Baba dated April 29, 1931

Courtesy of Avatar Meher Baba Trust - Archives
Courtesy of Avatar Meher Baba Trust - Archives
Courtesy of Avatar Meher Baba Trust - Archives
Courtesy of Avatar Meher Baba Trust - Archives
By Thomas J. Noel

ST. PATRICK (1893)

When Phillips County was formed from the eastern part of Logan County in 1889, Holyoke became the county seat. Both the town and the county owed their existence to the Burlington (now Burlington Northern) railroad, some of whose employees settled in Holyoke and asked Bishop Matz to send a priest.

William J. Howlett, then based in Brighton and trying to cover all of northeastern Colorado, answered the call. Father Howlett procured a railroad pass and steamed into the hamlet to celebrate the first Mass in 1888. Apparently, this occurred at the home of Patrick Turley, but Matt Conlin and Michael Sheehan later also opened their homes to early missionary priests. Agnes Arens donated lots for a church, and her husband, John, spearheaded the volunteers who began putting up a frame meeting house in 1893. That same year, Bishop Matz authorized establishment of a new parish, which the Irish railroad workers dubbed St. Patrick's. For several years, Masses were held in this unfinished shell of a church, which was not completed and capped with an open bell tower until 1904.

St. Patrick's also doubled as the district courtroom for several years before a county courthouse was established in what had been the Burlington Hotel and Eating House. This quaint church with a pot-bellied stove near the communion rail had unplastered lumber walls that came together at the top to form a barrel-vault ceiling. The first resident pastor was M. Mennis, an Irishman who, in 1919, moved into a rectory at 309 East Furry Street. He was followed by fathers Joseph N. Oldenburg (1920-1925) and Leonard Meister (1925-1934).

A fire destroyed the church on July 4, 1934. Predawn Independence Day revelers throwing firecrackers at pigeons in the bell tower caused the blaze, according to St. Patrick's 1981 history booklet compiled by parish historian Laura Lindgren. Despite intense flames, smoke, and the 52,000 gallons of water poured on the church, some of the faithful bravely rescued the Blessed Sacrament and many of the furnishings. Mass was held in the Phillips County Courthouse, whose occupants remembered gratefully the days when parishioners had permitted their church to serve as the county courtroom.

The fire settled a debate as to whether a new church should be built, a debate made more difficult by Bishop Vehr's stipulation that the old church not be sold to a non-Catholic denomination. An $11,500 structure was erected on the old site and dedicated by Bishop Vehr on November 27, 1934. The ceremony took place during a blizzard, which the drought-stricken community regarded as a godsend.

After several short-term pastors, Francis J. Brady began an eighteen-year pastorate in 1935. During the time of John C. Walsh (1954-1968), St. Patrick's was remodeled and enlarged in 1963. Front and rear additions were made and the entire exterior was bricked, with a life-sized marble statue of St. Patrick placed in the front façaade. Inside, the $50,000 renovation included a basement hall and a new marble altar with a bronze pelican (a symbol for Christ).

St. Patrick's has been continually improving its parish plant. Air conditioning was installed in 1973, and in 1984-1985, the church was repainted and remodeled. The cry room became the reconciliation room, with the new baby room featuring stained glass windows by Nancy Lynch, an Otis, Colorado, artist. An elevator was constructed to whisk folks to the church, the reconciliation room, or the basement library. A new furnace and ceiling fans were also installed by this lively parish that by 1988, had grown to embrace 153 families.

Copyright © 1989 The Archdiocese of Denver

St.Patrick's Church front
St.Patrick's Church front

Galens, Illinois


Joseph was born and buried here.

Delta, Colorado


Joseph attended a monastery here, then. It no longer exists.

Crested Butte, Colorado


Joseph was living here at the time when he wrote his letter to Meher Baba.