Mr. and Mrs. Spence at the Brunel farm.
In the spring of 1889, a few metis from St Vital, seeing a need to go further afield to find the necessary haylands to be able to overwinter their animals, decided to go on an exploratory trip to the west of Lake Manitoba and possibly to Lake Dauphin some 190 miles North West of Winnipeg. An old trapper by the name of John Desmarais used to tell of the lands nurtured by the Turtle River, which he had crossed on his way from the Buffalo Hunt. He told of large hay meadows, rivers full of fish and abundant wildlife such as beaver, muskrat, elk, moose, wild ducks and geese in great numbers! So it was that in June 1889, a group, among whom were John Desmarais, Patrice Neault and Louis Ritchot, left to go to the Turtle River and Lake Dauphin. On the way, at Baie St. Paul they met up with Firmin Hamelin and Napoleon Bonneau, also from St. Vital and also looking for haylands.
They joined up together and travelling along the west coast of Lake Manitoba, they made their way following old Indian Trails to Sandy Bay and Ebb and Flow. From there. they angled to the west and were soon at their destination; that is Lake Dauphin and the Turtle River. Upon arriving at the site where at present is the Ste Rose du Lac Cemetery; they saw a tall oak cross, casting a shadow on two or three graves.
The grandfather of the Spences and a child or two had been buried there. A few hundred yards further, on the site where the Jos Maillard house now stands, John Spence was building a house. John, Louison and Jean Baptiste Spence had come from Sandy Bay Reserve and had decided to build and reside at the Turtle River that year. And so our group of travellers from St. Vital finding the area suitable to their demands, went back to St. Vital, to return on the 19th of August 1889 to establish themselves as the first residents of what was to be known as Ste. Rose du Lac.
Of the group of first settlers we have the families of Benjamin, Jacques, Patrice and Joseph Neault from St. Vital, Vital and Amable Neault from St. Pierre Jolys; Gonzague and Napoleon Zastre, Joseph Sutherland, John Desmarais, Louis Ritchot and Thomas Vandale from St. Vital. They were very busy mowing and storing hay, cutting logs to build houses and barns that first year before winter fell.
Patrice Neault, one of the group, wished to go on to the banks of Lake Dauphin to set up a fishing camp and as the others did not wish to leave the banks of the Turtle River; he decided to return with his wife to St. Vital. But as fate would have it, baby David decided it was time to arrive in this world, which he did on September 11, 1889. In the winter of 1889 there was 18 families of Metis who had settled in the area; 6 families of Neault's, Patrice Benjamin, Jacques, Vital, Amable and Joseph, 5 Spence families, John, Louison, Jean Baptiste the elder, Jean Baptiste the big one and Jean Baptiste the small one, 2 families of Zastre's, Gonzague and Napoleon, the John Desmarais family, the Louis Ritchot family, the Joseph Sutherland's, Thomas Vandale and Alfred Normand's.
The Spence Family at the Brunel Farm
Mme Thomas Breland, nee Therese Turner,
Pioneer of Ste Rose, 1890
I have the honor, in accordance with my instruction, to submit the following Report on the Survey of Township No. 24 in the 15th Range West of the Principal Initial Meridian:
That is to Say:
Turtle River runs through this township from South to North. The water is very good.
When the wind blows from the North, the water flows back from Lake Dauphin as far as Section Eight, and rises several feet. Jackfish come up from the Lake with the current against the tide and after the north wind has abated, the water secedes, but the fish remain in the rapids and are made great havoc of by the settlers. The mention of the fact that one dog carried eight of these fine fishes to the shore within a couple of hours may give an idea of the number that comes up from the lake where it is to be found in abundance.
There is no Turtle to be seen in that vicinity, this fact makes me believe that this river does not owe its name to the turtle fish, but to my opinion to the wrong pronunciation of the word "tortueux" by the French natives. Thus the native will say tortue for tortueuse, which means turtle and was likely so translated; but I am confident that its original name was meant to be "Riviere Tortueuse" and indeed it is a narrow and most tortuous and winding stream. The banks are of clay and in height increase from two feet to ten feet. The bed is mainly of clay, with some gravel and small boulders here and there. The water is less south of Section Eight but increases in volume going north, while the bank diminishes as the river goes nearer the lake.
Turtle River flows through a plain of alluvion interlaid with a bed of clay. At intervals, occur small deposits of drift in the shape of small boulders, cobblestone and gravel; the river cuts through some of these deposits and the removal of soft material has allowed the drift to settle and concentrate upon the surface of the river bed until it forms a sort of pavement and thus create the numerous small rapids to be met, especially within the two miles north of the south boundary of this Township.
For a distance of three miles on each side of the river, within this Township, I found well-to-do settlers, in occupation of the land which they claim as homestead. They have taken land in strips of twenty chains frontage on the river on both sides of the river, in order to give access to the stream, to as many people as possible.
The land on each side of the river, for a distance of a couple of miles is very good, with the exception of the open plain in the North-West Corner of the Township where the land is very alkaline.
A small stream called the Small and the South Turtle, runs North-easterly from a little south of Section Fourteen to the North-west corner of the Section Thirty-two, where it ends in a large muskeg laying to the north.
The land of each side of this stream, at the exception of the West half of Section Thirty-three and nearly the whole of Thirty-two, is very good, although bushy. Good water is to be found in pools only as far as the one and Thirty-two are partly covered by muskeg which becomes dry in August, and furnishes a great quantity of hay.
This Township is exceedingly well adapted to mixed farming.
I have no doubt that within a few years, this Township will all be settled and will become a very prosperous settlement.
I have the honor to be, Sir,
Your Obedient Servant,
(Signed) A. F. Martin,
PART 3: First Religious Leader (Father Eugene Lecoq) back to top
During the beginning of the parish of Ste. Rose du Lac; French Oblate priests, among whom Father Jules Decorby of the diocese of Viviers, France and Father Philippe Vales of Nimes France, were instrumental in bringing French colonists to the area. But the real religious founder was Father Eugene Lecoq from Mans. Between the years 1895 and 1909 he resided in Ste. Rose and was involved in building a church, rectory, school and a convent. Much of the time himself wielding axe and hammer with the best of the workers. His work area encompassed a large area of the country surrounding Ste Rose, as he was the only missionary in the area most of the time. He also made many trips back to France, from whence he returned with funds for the multitude needs of the new colony that was being set up.
Before the coming of this dynamic priest, there was no school in Ste. Rose. About fifty young boys and girls were growing up with no formal instruction except for a few catechism classes which had been set up by a few generous ladies of the region. The first such class was set up by Mrs. Athanasius Tucker, mother of a large family of her own. She would gather the children in the first church (built of logs), sited where the cemetery is now. Later on a bigger church and a school were built. The daughters of Mrs. Tucker, Agatha (later to become Mrs. Th. Fitzmaurice) and Francis (Mrs. D. MacCarthy) were the first teachers, helping them out at times was their sister Cecily who later became Mrs. Albert Vaison. In 1900, father Lecoq built a convent and it was barely finished before four sisters of Our Ladies of the Missions came to take up residence and teach at school.
Rev. Father Eugene Lecoq,
O.M.I. Parish Priest 1895 - 1909
Ste Rose du Lac
A Portion of the first French people to arrive at the Turtle River were directed to this location by a society of catholic ladies known as the St. Michael Society. It isn't known exactly why the society was formed but it was suggested that they were an organization similar to Alcoholics Annonymous. They hoped to rehabilitate young people of good families by sending them out to be colonists in far away Canada. Among the names mentioned to be the first ones sent were Robert de la Tremblay, formerly an officer in the marine infantry, Jules Toysonnier of whom no family record could be found, a Parisian, Louis Dupuich who had a wife and family, Joseph de la Salmoniere from the Segre (Maine et Louire) area, he was a past student of the School of Agriculture of Beauvais. Then a bit later came Charles de Caqueray of Vannes, he was the godchild of a Mgr. Dupanloup.
This first group of French colonists seemed to be under the direction of this Jules Toysonnier who was successful in raising horses. These people cannot be qualified as the first pioneers in charge because none of them resided in the area for any length of time.
On Easter Monday of 1891 there came to the Turtle River the first real French pioneers, Edmond Didion and his eldest son Jules. The wife and three other children -- Berthe, Edmond and Marguerite -- followed a few weeks later. Edmond Didion born at Puligny (Meuse) was a cloth manufacturer at Anvers. He had married the daughter of a family named Klynens of the Eupen region of Belgium. They had three children: she died and he later married her sister Catherine and they had four children of whom three were born in Ste. Rose. Mr Didion had been on a business trip to Canada and it was while talking to a fellow traveller that he decided to sell his business in France and come to establish himself in Manitoba, on the banks of the Turtle River area, which had been so enthusiastically described to him by this traveller. He believed life would be better for them as farmers in this area.
On the boat crossing to Canada, Mr Didion met a Mr Eugene Perrin with his wife Sidonie Marchandel and their daughter. They were on their way to St. Claude area but Mr Didion had no difficulty in convincing them to go with him to the banks of the Turtle River.
A year later, in 1892, one one of his nephews Emile Abraham left Govillier, a small village between Colombey les Belles and Vezelise, (Meurthe et Moselle) to join his uncle, then another nephew and niece, Eugene and Zenaide Abraham followed.
At the same time, other families came out: Ernest Beasse, Andre Buguet, Simeon Delveaux, Jean-Baptiste Feuillatre, Ludovic Normand and Edouard de la Forest, all from Pas-de-Calais, France. Mr Edouard de la Forest didn't stay in Ste. Rose but kept on going to Saskatchewan. Charles Jacob from Allier, Olivier Lecomte from Ille de Villaines and Emmanuel Beasse, son of Ernest arrived soon after.
Times were very hard for the people and some tragedies occurred which are still talked about by our older people. One such tragedy occurred when Mr Louis Dupuich who had gone back to Winnipeg to stay with his daughter, who had married an Italian by the name of Di Narco a restaurant owner and had not come to the homestead with her parents -- Mr Dupuich had found employment teaching French in Winnipeg but in the fall he wished to return to his family. Having gotten a ride to Arden he decided to walk the rest of the way home following the trail. Several weeks later, his remains and torn clothes were found. He had been eaten by some wolves. It is believed he had got lost and finally fallen from exhaustion. The provincial administration of the time gave the necessary funds for a proper Christian burial. Later on Robert de la Tremblay married the Dupuich widow.
In the cemetery in Ste. Rose, we can find on a small tomb a cross with the name Di Marco. It is the grandson of the ill-fated Dupuich who died while his mother came to visit the family.
Another drama of early Ste. Rose occurred when a young Belgium boy Albert Lion, 14 years of age and a 20 year girl were caught in a sudden snowstorm while they were coming from Arden with supplies. Their oxen, whom they had unhitched from the land returned home to the stables unharmed but the young boy unable to go on because of frozen feet took refuge by a haystack and froze to death. The young girl made it to a local dwelling, her feet were frozen but due to the good care of Ernest Beasse, she lived but was sent to the Saint Boniface hospital and had both feet amputated. It must be said here that Ernest Beasse, son of a large bonnet maker had had to cut short his studies to be a doctor when he had to take over the factory after his father's death. He had never renounced his wish to be a doctor and had continued to study on his own. So when he immigrated to this area from France, numerous and invaluable were his contributions to the health and welfare of the people till the arrival of a resident doctor!
In those days to reach Ste. Rose, their was no regular road, the trails were unmarked and treacherous. More than one traveller lost horses, oxen, carts and baggage to the conditions. Bridges were big logs thrown over creeks and rivers. The approaches to these bridges were muddy to say the least. Near one of these bridges Joseph de la Salmoniere one time got stuck, and in his efforts to free his beasts and his load of supplies, he lost his gold watch, which, search as they might, remained lost. When leaving the area he turned and in his ill humor named the bridge they had just passed "Dirty Devils Bridge" and so it was known for years.
Everyone who lived during this period were unanimous in agreeing that living conditions were awful! The people were not only deprived of the most elementary comforts, but they were also sometimes close to starvation. It was in these circumstances that the Didion family, on numerous occasions, came to the rescue of some families. They assumed the role of welcoming caring for new families arriving from France. Their log house was a haven for people tired out by their long journey and who were unsure of what the future held for them. They would be welcomed, and shared with their hosts whatever was on the menu and whatever else they had. Mr Didion was a born merchant and usually had on hand some provisions to help out the newcomers. Mr Didion died in 1934 at the age of 80 years. His wife lived on till 1940 and died at the age of 85. Of their seven children, only Marguerite married. She became Mrs Armand Granger, who came from Hennebout (Morbihan). He was killed in the war 1914-18. They had two children, Fernand and Madeleine.
PART 5: French Nobility back to top
The Baron Octave de la Rue du Can ancient army officer born in Vendome (Loir et Cher) married to Marie Allenoue came in 1903. He had two sons and two daughters. He farmed and raised horses for the Mounted Police on a 1280 acre property. A nephew, Henrie de la Rue du Can came and set up residence not far from his uncle. He was married to Yvonne de la Geclair from Tourraine, France.
The four de la Rue du Can Children: Rene, Marie, Anne-Marie, Octave (seated)
Another former military, the Vicount Achille de Montbel from Paris had three sons. He replaced a Mr Henrie d'Hellencourt as consular agent of France to Manitoba. He owned land in Ste Rose as a result had to travel extensively between Ste Rose and Winnipeg for government purposes.
The Count Yves de la Fonchais from Brehan (Morbihan) father of ten children, married to Therese de Roquefeuille; left Brittany convinced that in France with the separations laws in force there, he would not be able to get catholic instruction for his children. Like other noblemen who came, he brought considerable capital with him. These families established themselves comfortably in spacious dwellings, some of them had a most grandiose appearance and remained for years points of interest in the area. Sad to mention here that all of these mansions have been demolished now.
Kitchen of de la Rue du Can house and Mme Brunel.
It must be noted here also that Mr August Brunel coming in 1912 from La Chapelle, village near Phoermel (Brittany). He and his wife on their arrival worked for the de la Rue du Can family for the magnificent sum of thirty dollars for the whole summer for both of them. The Brunel family now own these lands and other property in the area.
de la Fonchais house - when owned and occupied by the Jos Hamelin family (when he was MLA)
From the year 1905 many Bretons came to the Ste Rose area. From Finestere came Pierre Toulhouat and Corentin LeSeach, from Quimper, Alain Huitic and brother Herve, Oblat brother at St Boniface, Jean Louis Lancheze, Rene Pennarun and Jean Blanchard from Briec, the brothers Jean-Francois and Jean-Louis Maquet, and Louis Maquet from Saint Thegonnec; Louis Maquet was from another family. The Maquets' had good-sized families who have resided in the Laurier and Ste Rose being among the best farmers in the area.
From Ille de Villaine came Joseph Renault and the Pinvidic's from Morbihan, Francois LeGal and Armand Granger. Francois Raffray and brother Victor from Brehan. Six other young men from Morbihan, former students of the Jesuit College of Vannes, where they had heard the propaganda "Go West Young Man" came. Jean and Joseph Audic came first; they were the sons of the medical doctor of the institution. Joseph Molgat from Ploermel and Jean Louis Guillas from Mendon having finished their secondary studies at Vannes and one year of military service, were enrolled at the Sorbonnes for their law degree; but the call to the west was stronger than the academic diplomas; so a Easter Holidays 1906 they left the Latin quarters of Paris to come to Manitoba.
A few months later, Louis Molgat, brother of Joseph graduated from the Rennes University and Leon Koun from Baden, in his first year of arts-history at the Sorbonnes. In October both of them came to join their comrades in Ste Rose. Jos Molgat had already acquired some land 1\2 section and had new buildings. The newly arrived had a chance to savor the agricultural life which was a bit rudimentary at the time. Louis Molgat and Leon Koun returned to studies in France and were there for the 1914-18 war. After the war, in 1919, Louis Molgat returned and five months later married Adele Abraham grand niece of Edmond Didion. Joseph and Louis Molgat did not remain farmers. They went into commerce. Joseph went to Makinak, Sainte Amelie and Laurier to open general stores. He died in Laurier. Louis Molgat had a general store in Ste Rose for years which was taken over by son Jean. He retired to St Vital, but often came to visit Ste Rose.
1st tractor in Ste Rose brought by Le Baron de la Rue Camp, from France.
PART 6: Home of French Nobility back to top
When driving on No. 5 highway immediately west of the Village of Ste Rose du Lac in the Province of Manitoba, one tends to wonder who built and lived in the large three story grey weathered building which at one time surely must have been quite majestic.
This home was built for Conte Yves de la Fonchais who had emigrated from Brehan, Morbihan, France with his wife, the former Therese de Roquefeuille, and their ten children in the year 1905.
The had heard of Ste Rose du Lac from other noblemen who had settled in this area a few years previous. All had great hopes of enlarging their vast fortunes thru agriculture, ranching and by the breeding of purebred Percheron and Shetland horses. Rumor has it that Conte Yves dealt mainly in business ventures while his servants managed the cultivation of the land.
One of the main reasons why Conte de la Fonchais decided to emigrate to Canada was his dissatisfaction of the educational system in his native land. In order to ensure a good catholic education for his family, a priest accompanied them along with a retinue of servants. The priest soon returned to France but the servants remained and became permanent citizens of this area.
A few years after Conte de la Fonchais' arrival in Ste Rose a tract of land was purchased and plans were set into motion for the building of a new home across the river from that of the Baron de la Rue du Can. Preparations for the building began with the hauling of field stones which had to be cut and cemented together to a 38' x 38' x 9' height for the foundation. For this task Mr H Francois Pelletier, an experienced stone mason was hired.
The rough lumber for the building came from trees felled, planed and made into boards in the Riding Mountains approximately 20 to 25 miles away. The finishing lumber was ordered and arrived by CNR, at Makinak a distance of 15 miles. This lumber was then hauled by teams of horses driven by Felix Pinette (now deceased) and Oscar Archambault, a 92 year old resident of Ste Rose who recalls this task very vividly.
The carpenter who planned and built the home was Alfred Archambault who had arrived from St Hyacinthe, Quebec with his family in 1903. His son Oscar not only hauled the finishing lumber from Makinak but he also helped in the carpentry of the building. Many early settlers of this area helped in one way or the other with the construction of this building.
The main house was built on the 38' x 38' foundation in 1911, to which was added a large separate kitchen and upstairs quarters for servants. The main floor was divided into seven rooms with a central hallway. The walls were finished throughout the building with v-jointboards and varnished a dark tone. The second floor was patterned similarly to the main floor. It appears that the third floor had only a couple of partitions, it was used mainly for storage and also held a sizable tank where water was pumped manually from an outdoor well, gravity would then distribute it to the lower floor.
After its completion, the outside of the house was painted a cream color with a brown trim. It is not known how the home was furnished or what happened to the furnishings when the occupants left. The de la Fonchais family did not live in their new home very long. At the outbreak of the First World War, they became very concerned about France and they returned home with their family, leaving behind the servants who had accompanied them. It was also said that by this time their fortune had vanished. They were almost penniless at the time of their departure. Since their departure for France, their home was occupied by various owners and tenant. The last owner was Mr August Brunel. A gentleman who resided in the house until he and his wife retired to the village in 1958. Since that time the building has been dismantled, in 1987.
PART 7: Viscount Jacques DÁubigny back to top
During the beginnings of Ste Rose, Jacques DÁubigny from Normandy, was a very active person. He raised cattle on a ranch, 3 miles from the church where the town was developing rapidly. He opened up a General Store that was run by Charles Jacob. This store was situated where the Jean Molgat store now own by Sylvio Plamondon is still standing; some of the buildings although renovated, are still the original ones. He then organized a cheese factory in 1898, which was later turned into a creamery and butter making establishment. After five years, he decided to give up his earthly projects and donned the robes of a Trappist monk. Upon entering the Trappe, he paid for his own resources for the building of the church for the monastery. He did not forget his parish of Ste Rose. He had already donated the first bell for the church, but he decided to give a 4 bell and carillon for the new church that had been built and sent the first bell to the northern mission of Cross Lake. When the bishop from St Boniface came to bless the carillon, he also conferred on Jacques DÁubigny the minor orders of the Trappist monks to brother Marie-Antoine as he would from then on to be known. He would from then on know a life of prayer and recollection in the way he had freely chosen to live.
PART 8: R.C. Parish of Ste Rose du Lac (From log cabin to ultra modern church). back to top
On May 22, 1892 Mr William Shannon from Ste Rose, wrote a letter to Archbishop Tache in Winnipeg. Stating in this letter that the community was steadily growing and they were far from any church; and any children being brought up in the area would be sadly lacking in religious instruction, and the Sunday devotions were not as they should be, due to lack of guidance. It was estimated that about 40 families would assist at mass if their was a priest. They had built a small church in readiness for the possibility of the coming of a missionary or resident priest. In the years preceding, a missionary, Father Dupont came by occasionally and celebrated mass. He celebrated for the first time on March 24, 1890, baptized children and performed weddings.
Then in August 1892, Mr Firmin Hamelin also wrote to the archbishop, also begging him to send a priest, because it was rumored that a public school was soon to be opened and a protestant had come to the area with the view to it being a protestant school. As most of the residence were French and Catholic; this was not to their liking! And so in the fall of 1892, archbishop Tache, in answer to these and other demands, named the Rev. Joseph Alexis Prosper Magnan, OMI resident priest for Ste Rose du Lac, and he was to also have as missions, Sandy Bay, Ebb and Flow, Alonsa and Dauphin. It was by this priest that the name of the parish became known as Ste Rose du Lac. Father Magnan was born in Berthierville, PQ on May 27, 1858, was ordained priest on June 19, 1886, was in Ste Rose (1892-93) and died in Lowell, Mass. USA June 22 1916 at the age of 58. Father Magnan was a small man in stature, but great in courage!
The first baptisms in the Ste Rose registers are: 1. Charlotte-Catherine Kelly baptized May 8, 1892, godparents Thomas and Martha Robinson. 2. Marie-Celeste Desmarais, 31st May, 1892, godparents Patrice Neault and Marie Desmarais. 3. Joseph-Marcel Didion, 31th May 1892, godparents Henry and Philippine Klynens by proxy.
On January 29, 1893 the first confirmation took place: 21 young boys and girls whom Father J. A. P. Magnan, OMI had prepared, were ready to be confirmed but Archibishop Tache who was ill and unable to travel delegated Rev. Father Charles Camper, OMI as his representative to administer the sacrament of confirmation in the chapel at Ste Rose du Lac to the following: Elise Allary, Myriam Dupuich, Elise Houde, Catherine Hourie, Catherine Lacouette, Cecile Lacouette, Marie Lacouette, Baptiste Lacouette, John Lacouette, Auguste Lacouette, Marie Lecomte, Patrice Neault, Duhamel Neault, Cleophee Neault, Charles Porter, Victorine Ritchot, Valerie Ritchot, Napoleon Richot, Arthur Shannon and John Shannon.
In Nov. 1893 Rev. Father Jules Decorby, OMI a veteran missionary to outlying Indian Mission replaced Rev. Father Magnan. Father Decorby was born in Viviers, France on May2, 1841 and ordained priest on May 30th, 1867. He died in St Boniface on Oct. 16, 1916 at 76 years of age. In June 1894 the leadership of the parish was changed to Rev. Father Philippe Vales, OMI, born January 26, 1865 at Martingnarques in the Nimes diocese, France. He was ordained in Ottawa, May 15, 1892; he was in Ste Rose barely a year and died in August 1922 while on a trip back to his homeland. During his stay in Ste Rose, Father Vales was responsible for the addition built on to the church, all the work was voluntary by the parishioners and the extension was of logs, like the main part of the original building. By this time, their were 132 parishioners thus necessitating more room.
It was then that the Viscount Aubigny donated the first bell, which was ordered from the Clinton H. Meenely foundery at Troy, New York State, USA. It came to the railway station at Arden, where it was picked up by Mr Charles Jacob and delivered to the special stand that had been built for it. The bell was blessed by the Vicar of the mission of the OMI Rev. Father Louis, Philippe, Adelard Langevin accompanied by Father Decorby and Vales. Two days after the blessing of the bell, August 21, 1894, Mr Emmanuel Beasse was married to Zenaide Abraham and the joyous news was proclaimed by the ringing of the bell. This bell was not destroyed in the 1915 church fire but was donated to a mission at Cross Lake.
School, convent, church and students with Father Lecoq. 1900, Ste Rose du Lac.
Ste Rose de Lima Church -- Official blessing, Aug. 15, 1915,
Fst. of Assumption, Msgr. Dugas, Fr. Beauregard.
In 1895 Rev. Father Eugene Lecoq was named to replace Father Vales. Father Lecoq remained in Ste Rose until September 1909. He was born in Mans, Sarthe, France on the 23rd of February 1850; was ordained priest in 1874 and came to Canada in 1879. He died in 1926 in Rochester, Minnesota. He was a man of great zeal and worked very hard in his parish and missions.
During his stay he was instrumental in the opening of the school and the designation of Ste Rose as a Catholic parish. He built a larger church, a rectory, the school and the convent. He also made numerous trips to France, to beg for money for his various enterprises, and also to bring out more people to settle here.
Ste Rose de Lima Church main altar -- St. Jean-Baptiste Day 1920's.
On the 15th of November 1896, the archbishop, who was His Excellency Louis Philippe Adelard Langevin at the time; made a visit to the parish of Ste Rose. He was the first bishop to come to Ste Rose and was accompanied by Father Georges Cloutier. All the population turned out for his solemn occasion.
During the year 1896, Father Lecoq founded a mission at Ste Amelie where a number of settlers from St Vital had chosen to live. He served this mission until 1903, when the first resident priest Father Joseph Alderic Bastien took over.
In 1898 a site was chosen for a bigger church as the small chapel built in 1890 and added to in 1894 was to small to handle the 500 or more parishioners.
Ste Rose de Lima Church built 1898 -- destroyed in fire -- Jan. 24, 1915.
Everyone took part in the construction, especially Father Lecoq. An Oblate brother by the name of Mulvihill assisted in the finishing with other local carpenters. The blessing of the church took place Oct. 2 1898. The new church 80' x 40' with its high steeple could be seen for many miles. It was a great heart break for the parishioners to see it destroyed completely by fire in 1915!
In May 1898 Father Lecoq went to visit in France and during his absence Father B. Gelein, OMI replaced him. Again in 1906, Father Lecoq returned to France and this time Rev. Father Camper and Joseph Therrien OMI came to replace him.
In 1909 Father Lecoq left Ste Rose for good, much to the consternation of his beloved parishioners. Their also was a change in that the successive priest was not an Oblat, but a secular priest by the name of Father Emile-Joseph Labbe. He was born in France in 1880. He came to Canada and was ordained in St Boniface by archbishop Langevin May 6th, 1907. In 1909, he came to Ste Rose but remained only a few months and left due to ill health. Father J.H. Prud'homme had come to help him out and eventually replaced him for a short time. In 1910 Father D.A. Beauregard came to Ste Rose. He was born in Yamaska, St. Hyacinthe county, PQ on the 19th of October 1864 and was ordained in Lorette, Manitoba, April 21, 1901.
In 1912 Bishop Langevin announced to the parish the naming of a Vicar to help out in Ste Rose. On the 6th of February 1912, Father Leon Rivard arrived and was replaced in August 1912 by Father Pierre Decelles who had been ordained one short month before in Quebec. He was to stay only two months and Father Pierre Banville came to replace him in Oct. 1912 to leave in Nov. of the same year. Barely a year had gone by and a number of Vicars also when Father A.E. Theoret ordained priest in 1912 in Montreal arrived; on the 25th of January 1913. Shortly after his arrival he had to take complete charge of the parish until May, because Father Beauregard had to return to Quebec. In May, Father Beauregard returned to take charge again. In 1913 Father Theoret left Ste Rose in August to be replaced by Father Osias Corbeil who also came from Quebec and left in May 1914 to be succeeded by Father Edward Burton originally from Salford Manchester, England. He was ordained priest in St Boniface in 1911 and remained in Ste Rose until the fire which destroyed the church on Jan. 25th, 1915.
Ste Rose de Lima church burning Jan. 24th, 1915.
He was to be replaced by Father Jacques Bertrand. He was born in St Boniface 1891, became Vicar of Ste Rose for two sessions from Jan. to April 1915 and from Sept. 1915 to Sept. 1916.
The year 1915 was spent again in the construction of another church. Work was begun on June 8th to be completed for midnight mass December 25th. The church was open to the public and mass celebrated but the solemn blessing of the church by the bishop was done on the 13th of July 1916.
Interior of church that burned in 1915
Ste Rose de Lima church side view (built in 1915 -- destroyed by fire, 1959)
From April to September 1915, Father Jacques Bertrand was replaced by Father Moreau. Then the parish remained with no Vicar to help Father Beauregard until April 1918. Father Rodolphe Dumoulin arrived to remain for two years and left in April 1920. He wasn't replaced.
On May 10th, 1921 Father Beauregard the resident priest, left Ste Rose after a stay of eleven years.
Father J. E. Lee was the next parish priest and came from Montreal where he was born in 1878, and was ordained in 1903 in Fargo N.D.; came to Ste Rose in May 1921 to leave in November 1922. He had as his assistant Father Alexander d'Eschambault until August 1922. His successor was Father Anatole E. Theoret who had been assistant to Father Beauregard in 1912.
Father Theoret was to be pastor of the Ste Rose church for 16 years. He was the last secular priest to be in charge of the parish as in Sept. 1938 the Oblates again took charge of the parish and are still with us today.
Father Theoret had as assistant, Father Cournoyer who took charge of the parish in the spring of 1923 because Father Theoret was ill. Upon Father Theoret's return to the parish he brought with him his uncle, Father Pierre Myre who replaced Father Cournoyer until Aug 1926. During Father Theoret's stay in Ste Rose a bigger convent was built for the sisters. (It is now the Willard Monson House) a parish hall and the electrification of the village took place. He was a very progressive person who liked to see things done for the betterment of the community.
He was also very involved on the committee to get a hospital built in Ste Rose. On Aug. 28th, 1938 Father Theoret turned the parish over to Father Josephat Magnan OMI and he became chaplain at the hospital which was opened Feb. 7th, 1939. Father Josephat Magnan arrived in the parish in the year 1944 and during his stay Fathers Gerard Lafaille (1938-41) and Joseph De Roquigny (1941-45) were his assistants. We then had Father Edouard Paquette from 1944 - 1954. Fathers Paul Lebel (1945 - 48), Eugene Baillargeon 1946 - 47. Joseph Massey 1948 - 53 and Fidele Beaulieu 1953 and Antonio Fortin 1953 - 54.
Father Paquette was replaced by Father Isaie Desautels who stayed with us until 1959. During his stay in Ste Rose Father Desautels was responsible for the building of our grotto, which is the pride of the parishioners and has also become a well known landmark. From 1954 - 1960 the following Oblate Fathers came to the parish as assistants to Father Desautels: Fathers Gerald Labossiere, Joseph Alarie and Arthur Masse, and Father Joseph Alarie was named Parish priest in 1959 to 1965. During that time our third Church burned down so Father headed a drive to rebuild.
A new church (our present one) was built. Committees were formed and a fund raising organized. All the parish literally got into this project and as a result, a modern and very functional church was built. The design was very revolutionary and it took some time to get used to having the altar in a central location instead of at the end of a long aisle as in older styled churches. But times were changing and with it the churches approach to serving the people. At about this time, the services were not held in Latin anymore, but in English or french. People started participating more in the mass (e.g. reading, serving communion etc.) making it more of a community service as it is today.
1959, Church Burning.
Ste Rose de Lima Church June 4 1961 -- First Mass
(et 1st Communion et Fete Dieu -- Christ the King).
From the years 1960 - 1968 Father Emilien Dorge was helping in the parish. His mother lived with him and she was very active in the C.W.L. and other organizations in the parish. Fathers Andre Levasseur 1960-61 and Jean-Paul Isabelle 1961-63 and Florido Turgeon 1963-67 were all helpers to Father Alarie and served by going to the outlying missions and as Hospital Chaplains. Many of the young people of the time still recall Fathers Isabelle and Turgeon taking part in hockey and broomball games.
Then in 1965 Father Louis Aubin came to the parish to stay until 1970. He had Father Laurent Godbout as assistant from 1967 to 1970. In 1970 Father Godbout was named parish priest until 1976. During that term Fathers Albert Gervais was here from 1970-78 and Zepherin Magnan from 1973-78 with young Father Armand LeGal from 1974-78.
Father LeGal is one of ours, who was ordained in Ste Rose in 1972. We all recall his guitar and signing. It was during his stay that folk masses became very popular. He is a very modern day priest who relates well to young people and they can relate to him in a special way.
Then came Father Gerald Labossiere from 1976-82. Father Labossiere was very proud to be of French origin and promoted the French culture and language a great deal. At this time Brother Ed Kosa was ordained priest and became vicar from 1978-80.
From 1982-84 Father Roland Tessier came to us. At this time priests are getting fewer in the diocese and as a result we are now left with a shortage of priests. To compensate for this, a group of lay people help out by doing a lot of the things which were left to the priests before. Groups have been organized in our parish now who are taking care of some of the spiritual needs of the people. There are catechists, teaching our young, lay ministers for serving communion, for reading and prayer services when the priest is unable to be there. We have pastoral care, people who visit the sick and generally assist people in need and to teach Baptism and wedding preparation courses. Times have changed a great deal in the needs and ways of tending to the needs of the people in our church.
Followed by Father Lionel Dumont 1984-87, Father Jean-Paul Isabelle 1987-88 and with our present pastor, Father Marc Monforton. Over the years four lay brothers also came to the parish to work; They were Jean-Marie LeGac 1894-95, Theodore deBejl 1899-1900, Stanislaus Keytens 1955-57 and Ed Kosa 1974-76.
PART 9: Grotto back to top
As you enter Ste Rose from the south, on your left hand side you will notice our beautiful grotto. This is a replica of the Lourdes France Grotto where the Virgin Mary made her apparitions to Ste Bernadette in 1858 and where many miracles has been attributed since.
Father Isaie Desautels OMI, are parish priest at the time, had a fervent devotion to our Blessed Mother Mary. So it was under his direction, that the beginning of construction of our grotto, was begun in 1955, to hopefully be finished in 1958, thus commemorating the centennial.
This was a large enterprise indeed, and it was not without trepidation on the part of some, that the project was begun.
John Brunen, under the guidance of Father Desautels, was to be in charge of the work and was the only person to be paid for his work at the rate of $1.00 per hour. All the rest of the work was volunteer, and the cost of $8,000 was for materials and rental of machinery. Special contribution of money, work and materials were made by the Knights of Columbus, and four Oblate Brothers who came for one month in 1959.
The dimensions of this grotto are: 82 feet wide at the base, 35 feet high at the foot of the cross, 47 feet in total to the top of the cross. The materials used were 400 loads of stone, some of them were unused. Cement was used for the foundation of the altar, with cement and steel to keep the shell above the altar solid. The first load of stones was made by Adrien Laderoute using Father Masse's truck in Sept. 1955. Numerous are the parishioners who gave a lot of time and hard work to see the dream of Father Desautel's completed. Building began in 1955 and finished in 1961.
There is a stairway built in on both sides of the grotto that lead to the base of the calvary. There are five statues. One of Ste Bernadette in a kneeling position on the ground in front of the grotto; one of the Virgin (as the "Immaculate Conception") in a niche in the side of the grotto. Near the cross on the top of the grotto you will find statues of Holy Mary (left), Ste Magdelene (center) and St John (right). The grotto was blessed in a very solemn ceremony at the same time as our present church in 1961. The first pilgrimage was on July 8th, 1962. This grotto is a landmark for our town, and we see visitors taking pictures and coming from other places to see it. The people of Ste Rose can be proud of having proven by this monument that community efforts can literally move mountains (of stones in this instance) and gives everyone concerned a feeling of oneness.
PART 10: Knights of Columbus Ste Rose Council #5105 back to top
The Knights of Columbus are a group of catholic men who originally banded together by Father Michael J. McGiving to help and support the catholic church all over the United States, Canada and the Philippines.
Initially, some of the Ste Rose Knights belonged to a council in St Boniface, the Provencher Council and were known as the Provencher sub council with around ten members involved. As I researched the history of Ste Rose Council, I found that the first recorded meeting was held January 17, 1955 where some thirty members were brought together to work as a sub council of the Dauphin Council. It wasn't until 1961 when this group of Ste Rose men became a council in their own right, known as the Ste Rose Council #5105.
The Ste Rose group was involved in raising funds for worthwhile community projects by putting on bingos as early as September 1956. One of the very first projects the Knights of Columbus were involved with, along with other members of the community, was the construction of the grotto which was started in 1956. In 1957, a committee of Knights was set up to raise funds for and work on a playground -- sports grounds here in Ste Rose. The Ste Rose Council was also involved with construction of the new Ste Rose Catholic Church (the other one burned in August 1959).
The Ste Rose Knights took an active part in sports by helping to organize some 75 minor hockey participants as early as the 1961-62 seasons. In 1964 a minor baseball committee was set up to co-ordinate Little League Baseball. Along the years, the Ste Rose Council contributed funds to paint, offset costs for plumbing and just lately, put artificial ice at the skating arena. The Knights have also constructed backstops, a concession booth and helped maintain the ball diamonds. All in all, this groups of Ste Rose and surrounding area men, have been involved in sports on a year round basis, as volunteers, donors and all around just plain fans.
Being a community minded group when the Ste Rose Knights of Columbus were approached to consider the possibility of constructing a forty bed, Personal Care Home here in Ste Rose. In 1969, a group of interested brothers formed a committee to look into what could be done. Eventually the LeCoq Club was formed to look into and put together plans and make the necessary land transfers to enable the whole process of making the project of the construction of the Personal Care Home, the Gendreau Home, here in Ste Rose the success that it was and still is today in 1988.
Another project the Ste Rose group was involved with, was the renovation of the old school located on Main Street, here in Ste Rose. This project was taken on again, by interested Knights, through the working body the LeCoq Club corporation, to enable the council to provide tax numbered income tax receipts to all the interested donors. This project was undertaken with the housing of our Parkland, Ste Rose Regional Library, The Jolly Club, 50 and over Clubroom, a multi-purpose community and tenant use area, the housing of the Knights of Columbus Clubroom and later the housing of the Ste Rose Town Council Chambers in mind. All in all, an all-purpose and multi-usage building, for which a contract was drawn up between the Ste Rose Knights of Columbus corporation, the LeCoq Club and the respective tenants in January 1980, concerning the non profit day to day administration of the building, the old primary school, the Maison Dollard House. In 1988 today, the monthly rental charge remains at $200, for each of the four individual tenants.
The Knights of Columbus are a fraternal group of men dedicated to their catholic church and community. This, Ste Rose Council, consists of 97 members in 1988 and anticipate and welcome the applications of new interested members in the future.
In the spring, the brothers put on a Communion Breakfast to enable them to do all the cooking at the mother's day brunch, held after the Sunday mass, where friends and neighbors are invited to join the Knights and there families to meet and enjoy a good visit.
The Ste Rose Knights of Columbus are involved with fund raising on a year round, weekly basis, by raising funds at bingos, by putting on a Fowl Supper and by putting on a beef supper and dance at the Ste Rose Hoof n'Holler festivities in the fall. The Ste Rose Council is also involved with the co-ordinating of the Easter Seal campaign and canvassing for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.
All in all, with a little determination, perseverance and down right stubbornness and pride the Ste Rose Knights of Columbus have been a very active and concerned group in the Ste Rose town and surrounding area. These men we call Knights, are very grateful and humbled by your support of their projects and hope to be able to work with you and for you in the coming years.
PART 11: Ste Rose United Church
In the early 1960's a survey was made of the Ste Rose area regarding the possibility of establishing a United Church in Ste Rose as part of a United Church charge. Home Missions gave their support and plans began and Ste Rose became a part of Lakeside Pastoral Charge, which, at the present time, comprises, Ochre River, Rorketon, Eddystone and Ste Rose.
Meanwhile University students came during summer months and services were held in the Legion Club Room. Finally in 1963, the Pennarun Schoolhouse, from the district southeast of Ste Rose was purchase and moved to Ste Rose. A cement basement was poured and the building moved onto this in June 1964.
The pews and pulpit were obtained from a church in Kenton that was closing and the organ was purchased from Arden. The communion table was given by a family living at Roland. Their son had been killed in service and this table was, "In memory". their church was closing and they thought Ste Rose United could use it.
Mrs Florence Cummings and sister-in-law had the cross and drapery placed at the front of the church in memory of her husband, the late George Cummings, and Mr and Mrs Leon Pineau donated the communion service.
Rev Ed Loucks was the first ordained minister and the first service was held in the church on September 13, 1964.
A U.C.W. group was organized and plays a very active part in the life of the church. The mortgage on the church building was paid off by the group and the mortgage burned on the tenth anniversary.
Lakeside Pastoral Charge will celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary in 1989.
The ministers who have served during these twenty-four years were: Ed Loucks, Allen Darby, Doug Graves, Dennis Butcher, Larry McPhail, Sandy Scott and the present minister Rev Russell and Mrs Wardell.
Ste Rose United Congregation has increased in recent years as more families of the United Church faith have come to reside in Ste Rose.
Sunday School classes are taught in the basement during the service.