Wednesday August 27, 2014

St. Joseph's College story

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Excerpt from A Brief Historical Sketch – by John A. Pacholka in 2005

St. Joseph's College may have had a brief place in history, but in the hearts and minds of boys it served like no other Ukrainian Catholic Institution in Canada. As a result of the labour of love by Brothers of the Christian Schools, an institution of great importance, unique in character and unequalled in its particular field existed in Yorkton for 53 years.

Ukrainian immigrants coming to the Yorkton area starting in the 1897 brought with them their religion, culture, language and dreams of opportunities in the new land. With no churches, schools or priests the early beginnings posed an overwhelming challenge. In 1919, Rt. Rev. Nicetas Budka, Ukrainian Bishop of Canada met that need and established a residential education institution in Yorkton. St. Joseph's College became a reality, and what was to become a "jewel on the prairie" for thousands of boys.

Construction of the College started in the summer of 1919 with Bishop N. Budka laying the cornerstone on September 7th on property adjacent and provided by St. Mary's Church. Construction was completed in the fall of 1920. Not having an Ukrainian religious order of teachers, Bishop Budka assigned a Roman Catholic, English speaking Brothers of the Christian Schools from eastern Canada to come west to administer the College.

The need for a residential school dropped drastically with the advent of school busses making high school education more accessible in rural areas. The Brothers reluctantly closed the College on June 30, 1973.

The College had been home to boys from many parts of Canada and predominantly from the rural areas of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. A total of 3,691 students attended the institution.

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



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