A Heavenly Star Shines: Monsignor Joseph Senger Shares his Personal Story on Film

Kittelson, Cindy. "A Heavenly Star Shines: Monsignor Joseph Senger Shares his Personal Story on Film." Velva Area Voice, 24 October 2002, 1.

As the acting priest at local parishes in Velva and Karlsruhe, Monsignor Joseph Senger was loved by all who knew him. And when the time came for him to retire, his congregations were sad to see him go, but pleased he would be able to pursue his personal goals.

One of Fr. Senger's most pressing pursuits was to follow his family roots back to Russia. He is, as are many in this region, a German from Russia who immigrated to the United States and eventually settled in the northern plains.

The Senger family lived in South Russia for more than 100 years, after immigrating from Riedselz, Alsace-Lorraine Germany (present-day France). The Sengers left Russia at the turn of the 19th century to homestead in north central North Dakota.

Now, the story of the Senger family's life in Russia and North Dakota will be available to the general public. A documentary videotape entitled "Personal Reflections with Monsignor Joseph Senger" will be introduced at the Velva Public Library on Friday, Nov. 8, from 2 to 4 p.m. The event includes a reception, brief program, and comments from Fr. Senger. While portions of the film will be running on a television set, there will not be a formal showing of the one-hour program that afternoon. However, the videotape will be available for purchase at the reception. Velva librarian Iris Swedlund noted that the St. Cecilia Christian Mothers will serve refreshments at the event. The public is welcome.

The film features personal conversations with Fr. Senger as he talks about his family's life in Russia and North Dakota, and what it was like growing up as a young German from Russia on a farm in Orrin, N.D. He shares the joys of his service as parish priest in different communities across North Dakota and the unforgettable story of his 2001 journey to the Ukraine where he revisited his family roots.

The film was funded by the Germans from Russia Cultural Preservation Foundation and produced by Roadshow Productions. The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection will also be displayed at the Pride of Dakota Showcase in Minot on Nov. 9-10 at the State Fairgrounds.

Reprinted with permission of the Velva Area Voice.

Monsignor Joseph Senger seated in a pew at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Karlsruhe, ND, August 2001. Photograph of the videotape "Personal Reflections with Monsignor Joseph Senger" featuring the priest on the cover.


Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller