Commissioned by the diocese to commemorate its centenary, this is the first book-length study of the history of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa. Formally established in 1911, the Diocese of Des Moines built on the foundations laid by earlier generations of missionaries, religious women, priests, and bishops to provide a gathering point for the scattered Catholic population of southwest Iowa. This book weaves together the various stories of religious and lay members in the forging of a visible religious presence in the region. Influential priests of the diocese included Monsignor Luigi Ligutti, who became a renowned advocate of rural life, and Bishop Maurice Dingman, who took on sometimes controversial social and political issues. In October 1979, the diocese hosted Pope John Paul II for a short but memorable visit, which was the largest religious gathering in Iowa's history.