Bishop Mrak Dead
Beloved priest passed away at St. Mary's Hospital in Marquette, at the Ripe Age of 90 Years.
Marquette, Mich., Jan. 3 (1901) -- Bishop Ignatius Mrak, second bishop of the diocese of Saulte Ste. Marie and Marquette and titular bishop of Antinoe, died at St. Mary's hospital last evening at the age of 90 years. Bishop Mrak was in possession of all his faculties to the end. Death had been expected for several days. He was born Oct. 16, 1810, at Cariola, Austria, and was ordained a priest Aug. 13, 1837.
Fr. Mrak was one of the best loved men that ever labored in the state of Michigan. He took up the work the Indians in 1845, at Arbre Croche, and owing to the scarcity of priests in Michigan at that time, administered to the wants of all the Catholics in the surrounding seven counties.
In 1855, a large number of the Indians having removed to Peshabatown, Fr. Mrak followed them. He also attended the Chippewa and Ottawa Indians at Manistee, and went as far north as Petoskey. He traveled by Indian canoe when possible, on an Indian pony if the canoe could not be used, and in case neither was possible, he went on foot over the entire territory. Many of the old settlers will remember him, traveling on snow shoes in the depth of winter, dragging behind him a little sleigh with material for service and the necessary provisions for his journey.
Fr. Mrak was well known and dearly beloved in Traverse City [Grand Traverse County], about which place much of his labor centered. He was the first priest who ever visited Traverse City and in this time there was no Catholic church in the place. Mass was said at the residence of Dominic Dunn, and services were also held at the homes of Martin Sheridan and Frank Pohoral.
At the death of Bishop Baraga in 1869, Fr. Mrak was consecrated bishop of Marquette. He occupied this field for nine years, then was forced by failing health to resign his bishopric.
Learning that the Indians whom he so dearly loved were without a priest, he returned to them and worked with them till compelled by feebleness to leave the work in 1891, at the ripe age of 80 years.
He then took the position of chaplain of St. Mary's hospital at Marquette and spent the remaining years of his life in peace and quiet.
The funeral of Fr. Mrak will occur at 9:30 Saturday morning. A large number of priests from abroad will be present, as well as the entire clergy from this diocese.
The Morning Record, Traverse City, Michigan, Friday Jan. 4, 1901, p. 4, Microfilm on file at Northwestern Michigan College Library.