St. Michael’s History
Catholic settlers began to arrive in Fairbury in 1869. In 1872, they asked Bishop O’Connor if a priest could be sent to the community. Father Francis Bobal was the first of a number of priests who served the first generation of Catholics in Fairbury. In 1885, the construction of the first church began. It was completed by 1890. In 1887, the first resident pastor was appointed to St. Michael. The parish purchased land located north of the church in 1897. From 1907-1908, the present church was constructed.
The Reverend J. J. Carey served as pastor at Fairbury from July 4, 1904. While here, he renovated the church rectory, built the school and convent as well as the churches in Gilead and Nelson.
In 1973, a sizable inheritance funded the 1976 renovation of the church and the construction of a new rectory. A house was purchased for a new convent and the old convent and rectory were torn down. The 2008 Centennial was commemorated with extensive interior revocation. On November 15, the parish community celebrated the 100th anniversary with a rededication Mass celebration by Bishop Bruskewitz, followed by a dinner and program.
St. Michael’s School History
Saint Michael School was built in 1924. The building became the site for many social events. The Sisters of the Holy Cross staffed the school from 1924 to 1939. The school housed grades one through eight when it opened. In 1926, ninth grade was added. Tenth grade was added in 1927. Both grade levels were phased out after a few years. The Sisters of Saint Joseph from Concordia, Kansas taught at Saint Michael from 1939 to 1981. The Marian Sisters of the Diocese of Lincoln served the school from 1981 to 1985. At that time, more lay teachers were added to the faculty. From 1985 to 1986, two Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary from Dubuque, Iowa were on staff. From 1986 to 2008, lay teachers taught the classes, with the exception of 2002-2003 when two Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Kansas were added to the staff. In 1987 a preschool was added and then in 1990, the school dropped grades seven and eight. In May of 2008, Saint Michael School was closed because of decreasing enrollment. Saint Michael is extremely proud of its heritage as well as the success in the education of all students, both Catholic and Protestant. The school is used for CCD classes and church functions.