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Blumenfeld & District Heritage Site

Welcome to the Blumenfeld & District Heritage Site.

Timeline

Timeline of the Blumenfeld & District Heritage Site, settlers, and Priest history.

1907 - The 1st German Catholic settlers came to the Blumenfeld district from Romania, Krasna, Bessarabia, & North Dakota

1908 - 45 families & young men took up homestead in the Blumenfeld district from Estevan, Saskatchewan (January 8, 1908)

1909 - Erection of the St. Francis Colony (August 15, 1909)

1910 - About 70 families are in the area & attend Mass

         - The 1st visit by a priest (Father A. Erny) to the St. Francis Colony (October 30, 1910)

1911 - A small church building was erected with lumber & building supplies being hauled from Maple Creek, Saskatchewan.  The church building was in dedication to Sts. Peter and Paul.  The lumber was ready to build the church by July 15, 1911, and by September 25, 1911 they were are the point of building the prayer house.

1912 - The prayer house was completed

         - Built the rectory & first church records (March 17, 1912) were opened by Father Joseph Reindl who stayed with nearest settlers to the West while there was no rectory

         - The parish was "founded" as part of the Regina Diocese

         - Over 300 families are now in the St. Francis Colony (February 7, 1912)

         - "Blumenfeld" was chosen as a name in an auction.  12 men had won the honors of naming the church and as a reward, won $105.50 paid out equally (April 17, 1912)

         - Christmas Mass had the Anton choir (4 men) which sang Latin, the Glorias & all parts of the Latin Mass.  They prayed and sang hymns throughout the day

1914 - 60 families are within the Blumenfeld Church (April 22, 1914)

1915 - 10 acres of land located at NW 32-20-25 W3 was donated by "Department of Interior of Canada, Land Patent's Branch" (July 17, 1915)

         - The present Sts. Peter and Paul Church (100'x60') was built (March-April) at a cost of $10, 676.  A 120'x28' community stable and $1,200 rectory were also built during this time. 

         - The original Church built in 1911 was purchased by Anton Dirk and remodeled into a home. 

1916 - The present Church was dedicated

1923 - First Confirmation held (according to Church records).  There were 70 Confirmants along with Bishop G.E. Mathieu, Archbishop of Regina.

1930's - 80-100 families belong to the Blumenfeld parish

1932 - 90 candles & 10 gross 10 hour Oratrix lights were purchased for the cost of $75.96

         - First Communion held (according to Church records).  29 individuals received First Communion on August 7, 1932)

1934 - Blumenfeld held its Silver Jubilee on August 15, 1934

1936 - Our Lady of Sorrows Grotto was erected (by Father Henry Kelz OMI) & blessed.  The Grotto was erected as an urgent plea for rain during the "dirty thirties".  Stone Mason Lawrence Fenrich was in charge of overseeing the Grotto being built.  As of August 12, 1936 the Grotto had not yet been completed, yet 120 loads of stone & 62 sacs of cement had been used; it is estimated approximately double will be used to complete the Grotto.  A statue of "Pieta" rests above the Grotto.  On June 22, 1936 Bishop Melanson of Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan granted request to dedicate the day to the Sorrowful Mother.

         - The first Pilgrimage was held on Wednesday, August 5, 1936 to pray for rain for fields and gardens.  1700 people attended, with the first arriving at 6:00am until 10:00am.  Reverend Father Henry Kelz was also in attendance.  This started the yearly tradition of attending the Pilgrimage to pray for rain.

1940 - July 2, 1940 Pilgrimage had 1200-1500 people in attendance

1940-1945 - The old Rectory was taken down and replaced

1944 - A new Rectory was built

1945 - There were 19 confirmants on July 9, 2945

1946 - Triduum (July 4-6, 1946) held daily Mass at 9:00am with sermon & an evening Rosary, sermon, and Benediction at 8:00pm.  There were also special devotions, sermons, and confession held.

         - July 7, 1946 Pilgrimage had Bishop J.M. Lemieux, O.P. of Gravelbourg in attendance.  Mass was held at 6:00am, with a High Mass at the Shrine at 10:30am, dinner in the Church basement at 12:00pm, procession to the Shring at 2:30pm, and the Benediction & Veneration of relic following

1951 - 48 families, 208 souls, belong to Blumenfeld.  The family size ranges from 1 to 12

         - Father Henry Wagner, OMI began a new plantation of trees on the parish grounds

1955 - 130 families, with 500 people belong to the Blumenfeld parish

         - Parishioners extended tree planting to encircle the Church property (10 acres)

1957 - in October, 1957 Blumenfeld became a mission of Leader until 1962 when it held its last Mass

1957 - Blumenfeld erected the Cairn in memory of the early settlers

1962 - The last regular parish service was held.  The Church was closed in September, 1962.  Bishop Aime Decosse made the decision to close the Church due to decreased population, drought in the 1930's, war, available jobs in towns and cities, centralized school system, & a more modern way of farming.

1975 - Pilgrimage held with 270 confirmants

1976 - Pilgrimage held July 11, 1976

1982 - The 1st meeting of Blumenfeld Church Board was held December 1, 1982.  On December 16, 1982 a notice of intention to the RM of Happyland was filed to have Blumenfeld designated a Heritage Site.  Bishop Noel Delequis, Bishop of Roman Catholic Episcopal of Gravelbourg filed this because Blumenfeld was the first Church built in the area. 

1983 - Blumenfeld was declared a Heritage Site on February 8, 1983.  Sr, Philomena Marte was instrumental in assisting to make this happen.

         - Mrs. Pauline Tumbach donates $100 (one of the 1st donations to the Heritage Site) of a $500 total prize from the Blumenfeld cash raffle to the Heritage Fund

1984 - Pilgrimage held June 29, 1984

         - The Church was painted at a cost of $7,000

1985 - On March 21, 1985 MLA for Maple Creek, Saskatchewan Honorable Joan Duncan presents a cheque for $3120 to the Blumenfeld & District Heritage Council; the last portion of a $7000 grant.

         - A picnic shelter and outhouse were built in June

1986 - the 50th Anniversary of the Shrine was celebrated at the Pilgrimage on July 13, 1986

         - Improvements to the cemetery came at a cost of $1500

1987 - Pilgrimage was held June 7, 1987 with parishioners walking the last quarter mile to the Church

         - Improvements to the front steps of the Church were completed at a cost of $1800

1988 - Pilgrimage held August 14, 1988

         - Interior restoration of the Church was completed

1989 - Pilgrimage held June 25, 1989

1990 - Pilgrimage held June 24, 1990

         - Blumenfeld Church hosted the Hoffart Family Reunion Mass on August 5, 1990

1991 - Pilgrimage held June 29, 1991.  The interior of the Church was painted prior to Pilgrimage

1992 - A butter churn made by Lawrence Steier at age 14 was donated to Blumenfeld to be used at Bazaars (March 24, 1992)

1993 - Pilgrimage held June 13, 1993

         - Improvements to the Shrine cost $500

1994 - Pilgrimage held June 26, 1994

        - Shingles were replaced on the Church at a cost of $471

1995 - Pilgrimage held June 25, 1995

1996 - Pilgrimage held June 23, 1996

         - Improvements to the Church exterior cost $21,000

1997 - The annual Pilgrimage was host to over 300 people

         - A special celebration was held on July 20, 1997

         - September 20, 1997 the Blumenfeld Church was host to a wedding which filled the Church and choir loft

        - An outdoor Way of the Cross was erected in April, 1997 with the stations being in German

1998 - Pilgrimage held June 14, 1998

1999 - Over 500 people attended the Pilgrimage that had a horse cavalcade

         - Blumenfeld received a museum grant for $650

2000 - Over 600 people came to celebrate the Jubilee year and pray for much needed rain.  This was the first year the Pilgrimage (June 8, 2000) was a Deanery event

2001 - Pilgrimage held June 10, 2001

2002 - Pilgrimage held June 10, 2002

         - The Blumenfeld Church was also host to a wedding held September 21, 2002

2003 - Pilgrimage held June 8, 2003 had 400 people in attendance along with the Bishop and 6 Priests; Bishop Albert LeGatt, Father David Polzen, Father Bob Stang OMI, Father Tony Schmidt OMI, Father Vernon Engele OMI, Father Clem Novakowski OMI, and Father Doug Jeffrey OMI

2004 - Pilgrimage held June 13, 2004

2005 - Pilgrimage held June 12, 2005

2006 - Pilgrimage held June 11, 2006 at St. Francis Xavier Church in Prelate, Saskatchewan due to rain

2007 - Pilgrimage held June 10, 2007

           - Blumenfeld Church hosted 2 weddings; July 21, 2007 & September 1, 2007

2008 - Pilgrimage held June 8, 2008 at St. Francis Xavier Church in Prelate, Saskatchewan due to rain

          - Blumenfeld Church hosted the German-Russian Heritage Festival Interdenominational service on June 15, 2008 and a wedding on August 2, 2008.

2009 - Pilgrimage held June 14, 2009

2010 - Pilgrimage held June 13, 2010

2011 - Pilgrimage held June 12, 2011

2012 - Pilgrimage held June 10, 2012

2013 - Pilgrimage held June 9, 2013

2014 - Pilgrimage held June 8, 2014 with 150-250 people in attendance.  Mass was held inside the Blumenfeld Church due to rain.  Reverend David Tumback (Cathedral of Holy Family in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), Reverend Hoang Nguyen (Fox Valley, Saskatchewan) and Reverend Alphonse Norisetty (Medicine Hat, Alberta) were in attendance.

History & Facts

- The community barn had a stall with a number for each family, they paid so they could use the stall for their team of horses in the winter & their buggy in the summer

- People volunteered their time, horses and anything else they could to build the church

- Blumenfeld was one of the 1st buildings in the area to be chosen as a Heritage Site

- In the Dirty Thirties, Father Henry Kelz was forced to live with neighbors for 2 years because there was not enough money to buy food, and fuel to keep up the church & have him live in the rectory

- The purpose of the Pilgrimage was to pray for rain.  Processions were half a mile long from Blumenfeld in 4 directions and were led by men on horseback with banners.  Parishioners would walk to the church singing hymns and praying the Rosary

- The Cairn which was erected in 1958 reads:

"Fifty years ago the 1st German Catholic Settlers came to Blumenfeld.  Under the care of the Oblate Fathers, they built Sts. Peter and Paul church in 1915, the Shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1936."

-1958-

Mater Dei - Ora Pro Nobis

- The 1st recorded marriage was May 27, 1912 - Sebastian Bachmeyer (Kosakovski) & Felicia Wagner (Krassna, Russia). Parents - Valentine & Barbara (Grant) Bachmeyer and Joseph & Maria (Hirsch) Wagner

- The 1st recorded death/burial was February 19, 1910 - Monica Biko (2 years, 11 months)

- The 1st recorded Baptism was March 14, 1912 - Melana Mastel.  Parents - Franz & Maria (Kuntz) Mastel

- They held Bazaars, movies, concerts, banquets, Christmas concerts in the basement of the Blumenfeld church

- In afternoons they would have ball games, horseshoes and races

- The hopes & dreams of the Grotto - "Let us hope & pray that the good Mother to whom this Shrine is dedicated will see to it that when the Golden Jubilee does come it will be fittingly celebrated here at Blumenfeld"

- The Pieta features the Blessed Virgin holding the body of her Divine Son after his death

- Blumenfeld was built 2 miles west of "The Golden Gate", a natural break in the ridge running east and west, making the Church visible from far and wide

 - There were many differences in the Church in those days:

  • Children sat up front; ladies and girls on the right & men and boys on the left
  • Women wore hats; no slacks, only skirts or dresses
  • Everyone wore their "Sunday Best"; no jeans
  • When receiving Communion they fasted from midnight on Saturday until after Mass; no food or water
  • Communion was taken on the tongue; parishioners would kneel at the Communion rail; the cloth would change to match the seasons
  • Mass & responses were said in Latin
  • There was no music during Lent; only singing, but no instruments were played
  • Sunday was a Holy Day which consisted of Bible reading and visiting; there was no work or play on Sunday's, only the animals were fed and food was prepared on Saturday; it was wrong to use a scissors on Sunday

- The original confessional was purchased by Father L. Hermandung, OMI