Tuesday September 02, 2014

St. Mary's

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It was a time of hopes and dreams for the religious community of the Ukrainian Catholic Rite in the Yorkton area. Starting in 1897, Ukrainian people had arrived to the Yorkton region and taken up the free homestead lands — the 160 acres they entered and farmed for three years, then obtaining title. They were in the region to stay and their religious needs for pastors of their rite, with institutions had to be met. Father Achille Delaere, a Belgian Redemptorist had arrived in the Yorkton area in 1904 to serve rural missions of Roman Catholics and Ukrainian Catholics. In 1906, he obtained special papal permission to transfer from the Roman Catholic rite to the Ukrainian Catholic (Eastern) rite to better serve his Ukrainian parishioners. He and Archbishop A. Langevin of St Boniface and several other priests worked diligently with Religious Orders to erect the necessary establishments. The Yorkton Enterprise of July 31, 1913 announced that the Redemptorist Order was erecting a mission worth $50,000 — having purchased 3 acres between Wellington and Gladstone Avenues as site for the new monastery and church.

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The architects, Messrs. Munro & Mead were calling for tenders. The factory to make the bricks was set up 100 meters south of the site, using the clay from this area. The first building erected was a monastery, two storeys as we see it in the photo to the left, constructed in 1913, and a part of it was used for religious ceremonies until the next year, when the church was built. In 1920 Father N. Decamps, then the superior, added a west wing to the monastery, and also the whole third floor. Records show that Father Noel DeCamps had worked to some extent with Father Van den Bossche to give the new building a French Provincial style design. These additions have at different times served as a Juvenate (minor seminary), a major seminary, and in the late '40s and early '50s as an elementary Parish School.

The attractive monastery building seen today on the photo above is still an impressive part of the Ukrainian Catholic compound.

Contact Terri Lefebvre Prince,
Heritage Researcher,
City of Yorkton Archives,
Box 400, 37 Third Avenue North
Yorkton, Sask. S3N 2W3



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