Friday, April 27, 2012

X is for St. Xavier Church

Source: Wikimedia Commons

St. Francis Xavier Church is located in downtown Cincinnati, and it has been serving Catholics in the downtown area since 1845. The present building, with its ornate clock tower, was built in 1860 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

What is interesting to me about the church is something I learned through my A-Z research. Francis Finn, an author whose books are still available today, was one of the priests affiliated with the church back in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Finn was a Jesuit priest, and he wrote the book Tom Playfair while suffering from insomnia. He decided to spend two of his sleepless hours each night writing, and ultimately produced the story about a boy at a Catholic boarding school.

Tom Playfair was published in 1893, and was an immediate success among school children. Finn went on to write 26 more books, with more school boy characters such as Percy Winn and Harry Dee, and all of his works were translated into numerous languages and published all over the world.

I'd never heard of Finn or his books before starting this Challenge, but it was interesting to me to learn about this little bit of Cincinnati literary history. And, because I struggle with insomnia quite often, I was inspired by the fact that Finn wrote his book during a spell of insomnia himself. That's something to remember the next time I have some sleepless nights.

Most of all, I loved this quote from Finn: "One of the greatest things in the world is to get the right book into the hands of the right boy or girl."

As someone who has loved reading since I was a girl, I could not agree more.


  1. Wow, that's a gorgeous church, and it's neat that it's been standing there for so many years. (Unlike today, when people seem to think a building is "old" and has to be razed and replaced after a couple of decades.) I love that you've been learning so many new things about your city because of the challenge. And yes! Next time you can't sleep, get to writing, woman!

  2. You had a famous author there and didn't even know it.

  3. I love that quote, too. Beautiful church.

    Happy Weekend!

  4. Pretty church and I'm a big fan of jesuits since I am a beneficiary of that kind of education.

  5. @Susan, I'm definitely going to try LOL. And I agree about tearing things down, I love the truly old buildings in Europe and elsewhere, it's a shame we are so quick to raze things here.

    @Alex, it was a fun thing to learn.

    @Carol, thanks, happy weekend to you as well!

    @Johanna, oh, that's great you went to a Jesuit school.

  6. I've not heard of him, either. But I have many sleepless nights, so I will now think of him as an inspiration to get up and write.

  7. Lucky you, finding a church that starts with X !

    And with a cool story to go with it too.

    I'm always wary of getting up out of bed in the middle of the night to write. Afraid I'll never get back to sleep, but maybe I'm doing it wrong. :)

  8. A lovely church! As a teacher, I could not agree with you more about getting the right book to the right child--it does change their world!

  9. A gorgeous church. I love that quote too!

  10. Aww! I love that quote, and that's so cool what you found out about a local author. :)

  11. Xcellent research! Although I don't wish for insomnia, I wish that I was a late night writer, but my brain seems to work better in the morning.

  12. What a beautiful church! I love old buildings! One no longer sees the beauty of the old designs anymore. There is an 11th Century Cathedral here in Vienna and has survived till today. And I haunt it whenever I get a chance..LOL which is often. :D
    great quote as well. And he was right about getting the right book in the hands of the right boy or girl!

  13. @Susan, I'm sorry you have trouble with insomnia too, but I hope you can at least find some inspiration as well.

    @LG, LOL, actually my mom suggested it, which was a lucky break for me.

    @Susan, I totally agree!

    @Christine, it is a really pretty place.

    @Cherie, yeah, it was a fun thing to learn about.

    @deathwriter, I do better writing in the morning too, I'm more of a morning person overall.

    @Cecilia, oh, I bet that chapel in Vienna is gorgeous. I love that you have so many really old buildings in Europe.

  14. eXtraordinary looking church, and eXceptional quote! Julie, I really enjoyed going through our second A to Z together! Julie

  15. Well I am so glad Cincinnati provided you with an X lol. I had not heard of Francis Finn either, but what an encouragement for those of us who have trouble sleeping! :)

  16. What a gorgeous this on Xavier's campus?

  17. I was wondering what you were going to do for X!

  18. Hi Julie! Interesting post for the letter X.

  19. Hi Julie .. Xavier is a great name isn't it .. so it's interesting to read about your Church and Francis Finn - sounds like he had the right idea .. and from your commenters .. the quote rings true too ..

    I'll keep an eye out for his books - though I sort of feel I know the name Tom Playfair .. but minds play tricks ..

    Cheers Hilary

  20. @Julie, oh, thanks, I've really enjoyed going through another challenge with you too! :)

    @Carolyn, my thoughts exactly, maybe now I can be inspired to at least be productive on my sleepless nights LOL.

    @Theresa, I was totally clueless until my mom suggested this LOL. Xavier University is in Cincy but I didn't have anything to say about it beyond the fact that it is here LOL.

    @Susanne, thanks!

    @Hilary, I had never heard of the books at all and I've no doubt they are dated now, but it was fun to see they are still available on Amazon. Cheers and happy weekend to you!


Thank you for your comments!