Assignment Record – Rev. Irving F. "Jack" Klister

Summary of Case: Irving "Jack" Klister was ordained a priest of the Superior WI diocese in 1944. He soon rose to prominence with a number of chancery positions, including that of Chancellor, Tribunal member and director of the Catholic Boy Scouts. In the mid-1950s Klister was quietly transferred to El Paso TX where he was an assistant parish priest until his removal in the mid-1960s. From there was sent to a hospital in St. Louis MO for people with "nervous and mental diseases"; it is unclear if he was a patient. Kllister did spend some time in treatment Servants of the Paraclete's Via Coeli center in New Mexico in the mid-1960s. By1968 he was working as a parish priest in the Santa Fe archdiocese.

In a 1989 letter to a federal agent posing as a child pornography dealer, Klister detailed his sexual abuse of a 14-year-old boy in Wisconsin in the 1950s. He was convicted in 1990 on federal child porn charges. From 1992-1994 he was allowed to work as a fill-in priest in parishes throughout the Santa Fe diocese. He died in 1997. In a 2010 lawsuit Klister was accused of having sexually abused numerous boys during his time in El Paso. In a lawsuit settled in 2014 Klister was accused of having repeatedly sexually assaulted a 7- or 8-year-old boy at a New Mexico parish in the early 1980s.

Ordained: 1944
Died: April 19, 1997

Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Superior bishop was William Patrick O'Connor (1941-1946), followed by Albert Gregory Meyer (1946-1953).


Cathedral of Christ the King


Superior WI

4/4 ,3/3, 2/4

The Cathedral had a grade school with 544-477 students and a high school with 285-321 students.
1944 1949 Our Lady of the Snow Winndboujou WI   Parish was a mission of the Cathedral of Christ the King.
1944 1949 St. Anthony Lake Nebagamon WI   Parish was a mission of the Cathedral of Christ the King.
1944 1949 Claude Allouez Academy Superior WI   This school was attended from the Cathedral, and had 105-82 students.
1945 1947 Secretary for the Pontifical Society for the Propogation of the Faith Superior WI  


1945 1955 Diocesan Director for the Pontifical Society for the Propogation of the Faith Superior WI    
1946 1954 Vice-Chancellor Superior WI  


1954 1955 Chancellor Superior WI    
1947 1955 Diocesan Tribunal Notary Superior WI    
1947 1953 Director of St. Vincent de Paul Society Superior WI    
1947 1954 Director of Catholic Boy Scouts Superior WI    
1951 1955 Director of Diocesan Council of Catholic Women Superior WI    
1953 1955 Diocesan Newspaper-Catholic Herald Citizen, Superior Edition Superior WI founder  
1954 1955 Director of Diocesan Council of Catholic Men Superior WI    
1949 1953 St. Louis (French) Superior WI 1/1 Parish had a school with 174-190 students.


Meyer was succeeded as Superior bishop by Joseph John Annabring (1954-1959).

1954 St. Joseph Children's Home Superior WI   Klister apparently lived at the orphanage, which had 73 children.
1954 1955 Nazareth on the Lake


• In a 1989 letter to a federal agent posing as a child pornography dealer, Klister admitted to having sexually abused a 14-year-old boy in WI in the mid-1950s.

WI Chaplain This was the Motherhouse and Novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph.


El Paso bishop was Sidney Matthew Metzger (1942-1978).

1956 Holy Family

El Paso


TX 3/3

Parish had a school with 182 boys and 185 girls.

Klister is noted in the Official Catholic Directories as Absent on Leave from the Superior diocese, a notation that eventually changes to On Duty Outside the Diocese, until his retirement.


Annabring was replaced as Superior bishop by George Albert Hammes (1960-1985).

1964 St. Pius X

El Paso

• Per a 2010 lawsuit, Klister was transferred out of El Paso after allegations surfaced that he had molested numerous boys there, mostly at St. Pius.

TX 2/4, 2/3, 2/5 Parish had a school with 264-336 boys and 243-397 girls.
1964 1966         Klister is indexed but not listed in the diocesan pages of the 1965 and 1966 Directories as at St. Pius X in El Paso, TX.


St. Louis archbishop was Joseph Elmer Ritter (1946-1967).

1967 St. Vincent's Hospital of St. Louis St. Louis MO   This was a hospital for "nervous and mental diseases", located on the outskirts of St. Louis, in Normandy. It is unclear if Klister was on staff, or a patient.


Superior diocese

1968 Absent on Leave       Klister appears in the 1968 Directory only as Absent on Leave from the Superior diocese.
mid-1960s   Via Coeli Jemez Springs NM patient Via Coeli was a treatment facility, run by the Servants of the Paraclete, for alcoholic and pedophile priests.


Santa Fe bishop was James Peter Davis (1964-1974).


Cristo Rey, Christ the King

Mission-Canada de los Alamos

Santa Fe NM 3/3, 2/2 Parish had a school with 300-288 students.


Davis was replaced as bishop by Robert Fortune Sanchez (1974-1993).


St. Joseph's

Missions-Palo Blanco, Miami, Maxwell; Tinaja


• Klister was accused in a lawsuit settled in 2014 of sexually assaulting a 7- or 8-year-old boy in the early to mid-1980s during confession at St. Vincent de Paul parish, in Maxwell, NM. His accuser said the abuse occurred on at least four occasions.

NM 1/1


Tinaja replaced Miami as a mission of St. Joseph's in 1977.

1970 1977 New Mexico Industrial School   NM   This was a mission of St. Joseph's.
1977 1978 New Mexico Indian School   NM   This was a mission of St. Joseph's
1978 1985 New Mexico Boys School Springer NM   This was a mission of St. Joseph's. It was a residential educational, counseling, and treatment program.


Superior bishop was Raphael Michael Fliss (1985-2007).

1992 St. Joseph's


• Klister was convicted in 1990 on federal child pornography charges.

NM   The Superior diocesan pages in the Directories give St. Joseph's in Springer NM as Klister's address, but he's not listed there in the Santa Fe pages.


Santa Fe archbishop was Michael Jarboe Sheehan (1993-).

1994 Retired   NM relief priest in parishes throughout the archdiocese

Klister is listed as retired in the Santa Fe diocesan pages of the Directories for 1992-1994, and with (SUP) after his name, an indication that he remained a priest of the Superior diocese. He is is not indexed beyond the 1994 Directory.

Klister died April 19, 1997. He had been living in Albuquerque.

Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: Kenedy & Sons, 1945-1998).

Funeral Notices and Memorials, Santa Fe New Mexican, April 22, 1997
Our View, Cause for Another Apology, Duluth News-Tribune, January 22, 2006
Editorial: Tears of Parish Priest a Sign of Superior Diocese Healing, Duluth News-Tribune, July 1, 2007
Superior Diocese Noted in New Book on Sex Scandals, Duluth News Tribune, January 16, 2008
Catholic Diocese of El Paso Faces More Allegations of Sex Abuse, By Diana Washington Valdez, El Paso Times, May 11, 2010
Church Settles Abuse Case, New Mexican, May 21, 2014


Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy & Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Klister's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with ... as it is reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on Sept. 15, 2014.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.