Donated by Vic Gulickson
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is a pretty little hamlet of which the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes
the principal feature, located in the southwest corner of Section 36, Oak
Grove Township. The history of Our Lady of Lourdes Church dates back
to the year 1869, when mass was read for the first time by Father
Nacli in George
Roberge's log cabin. Succeeding him was the
well known Father Goldsmith,
who came twice and read mass in John LaBree's
cabin. Father Nolan
came next and read mass in Honore Demers'
home. Father Keller
marked the location of the first church. A missionary from Chippewa
Falls read the first mass in the new church which was a rather crude
affair, but sufficient to meet the demands of the people. Aristide
Mireau, George Roberge, Tom Kearney, and Tom
Donnelly, assisted by several Protestant families,
did most of the carpenter work. In the year 1878, during the winter, Father
Dole came, remaining here nineteen years.
He found the little mission literally in the backwoods without either roads
Fifteen missions were added to his charge--Rice Lake, Chetek, Barron, Prairie Farm, Sand Creek, Cartwright, Shell Lake, Turtle Lake, etc. At the present time Rice Lake has a beautiful church, and Chetek, Shell Lake and Turtle Lake have their own respective churches and pastors. As soon as he got settled down he set about erecting a church, schoolhouse and parsonage at Stanfold (sometimes called Dobie-officially Route No. 3, Rice Lake, Wis.), and afterwards at various other missions. The first man buried in the cemetery was carried out on poles from Rice Lake via the Indian trail. Father Dole possessed an iron constitution and he needed it. Traveling by foot on the Indian trail through swamps and in all weather conditions to answer a sick call twenty and thirty miles away were some of the difficulties he had to encounter. It is said that at one time he received news that one under his charge was dying about twenty miles away. He set out immediately. Upon arriving at the cabin, utterly exhausted, he found
the sole occupant seated on his bench calmly smoking his pipe. Upon inquiry as to where the dying person was he received the reply: "Father, I just wanted to know if you would come if I were really dying." Nineteen years of zealous labor in an immense field tended to weaken an otherwise strong constitution and when fire swept down and burned both his church and house his noble heart literally broke. "Like his Lord and Master", says the Catholic Sentinel, "he cared nothing for money, and on the day of his death there was found but one dollar and fifty cents in his purse. On his dying bed he forgot self in his anxiety for his congregation and was often heard whispering prayers for their welfare. His last words were: "For the love of God let all Christians pray for me." After the death of Father Dole a second church and parsonage was built by Father Brouillard, who remained in charge for seven years.
Succeeding Father Brouillard was Father Berrube. During his four years as pastor he built the present church, 50xlOO feet, of mineral red rock. The following Fathers came in their respective order: Archambeau, Colling, Fitzpatrick, Van Helden, Shell, Milecki, Pulch, LeGuillou, Dickoff (who built the present brick-veneered parsonage), Kieffer, Rochon, to the present pastor, Savageau. The congregation, as it is today, numbering about 110 families, extends about seven miles north, three miles south, five miles west, eight miles east. Four Sisters of Notre Dame attend to the educational welfare of the school children. Various societies have been formed into which are grouped the married men, women, young ladies and children.
E. E. SAVAGEAU.
Last Update Friday, 01-Apr-2011 00:59:02 EDT
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