St Rose of Lima Church History


"The History of the church in the Red River Valley section of Minnesota is an adventure, and the clergy and laity who thread its pages are heroic men and women," Father Foley in History of the Diocese of Crookston.

One hundred years, a century, from infancy to its present maturity, marks the present life span of the Parish of St. Rose of Lima of Argyle in Marshall County, Minnesota. From its humble origins, the parish and church, have struggled, grown and prospered to its present fullness as a vigorous, moral, inspirational and sustaining force for the people, and the community. This was made possible only by dedication of the early pioneers, priests, and laity, who ventured to the northern Red River V aIley, seeking the fulfillment of a dream. Priests with burning zeal to bring the enrichment of the Ministry of God's Work, and of the church serving the needs of the settlers, laity, driven by a quest for a "Good life" to live in freedom the fullness of their Catholic christian heritage.

No doubt, the early French Canadian settlers to arrive in Marshall County, were persistent in their search, drawn by the dream of the "Good life" where the deep roots of their Catholic faith and heritage would be a tribute to the many hardships and sacrifices they would be called to endure to assure the reality of the "dream". For them, their parish, their church, was an engrained part of their life. Their very existence was molded around it.

Basil Gervais (Jarvais) and his son. Pierre, who had come from the province of Quebec, Canada, (many others to follow them) ventured to Marshall County in 1877 where the virgin soil of the valley held its promises of the future.

When Pierre Gervais (Jarvais) filed his homestead claim (first in township) for the Southwest Quarter of Section 10 of Middle River Township, Marshall County, on May 25, 1878, many other family names soon appeared. The ox cart trail (Pembina) and the Red River were the basic routes of travel. In a short time, numerous families had migrated to this area and filed Homestead claims.

So. just in two years. by 1879, Pierre Gervais (Jarvais) divided a portion of his property along the south edge of the Middle River into lots for his "dream town called Louisa". As circumstances forced the main part of the town to locate a little further to the south as the railroad came through the town named" Argyle". This part of the village retains the nickname "French Town" even today.

Missionaries attended to the spiritual needs of the settlers up and down the Valley. With the influx of French Canadian families. their needs were attended to by Father Fortier. O.M.I., who fourneyed from St. Boniface, Manitoba, Canada, by canoe on the Red River to Argyle then on to Crookston, then head of the railroad. By 1879, with arrival of the railroad, the French Canadian segment. of the community had sufficiently grown that they began to identify themselves as a congregation, a parish. And thus was organized "The Catholic Society of Argyle" the formal organization as a French speaking congregation becoming the legal arm for the parish of St. Rose of Lima, named after the first American Saint.

This congregation, as all others in the Red River Valley, were at that time under the jurisdiction of Bishop Rupert Seidenbusch, Vicar Apostolic of Northern Minnesota with residence in St. Cloud, Minnesota. (On October 31,1879, it came under the jurisdiction of the newly formed Diocese of Duluth, and in 1910, the newly established Diocese of Crookston.)

Father Fortier said Mass in the home of Pierre Jarvis, then in the homes of other settlers. Assuming the assignment, Father Brunelle in 1800 journeyed from Crookston, as did Father Lariviere (1881-1882) to take care of the needs of the budding Catholic parish of St. Rose of Lima in Argyle. With the railroad now a reliable means of transportation, there came a greater influx of settlers into the area, so much so, that the story and half granary building which had been converted for temporary use could not begin to meet the needs of the congregation. It was at this time that a group of persons in Argyle and vicinity signed a petition requesting permission to use the school house for religious services. Record shows the names of the signers included the following list of men:
Joseph laFond, Jr., W. R. Hayes, Dick Kivel, Gaspard Ethier, DosetheTessier, Eugene LaBine, John M. Ryan, E. J. Webstcr, H. Morin, Alex Chouinard, Octive Barker, Pierre Gervais, Z. Dion, Michael Troumble, Levia Sourdine, George Prenevoux, Xavier Legault, George Senson, Ernest Mass, Alfred laFond, William Martell, Geo. Morin, Albert Proulx, Challe Choinard, Samuel Cormier, J. F. Runnels, Otto Stolz, Joseph Beauchemin, John Augustine, Aristide Sourdine, Joseph LaFond, Sr., Basil Gervais, William Caresse, J. A. Morisette, Fred Barsaloux, Donald Currie, A. Scott, W. L. Lackey, Geo. W. Peck, Edward Hancock, Louis Gervais, Medard Landerville.

As indicated by the County Records, the Catholic Association of Argyle bought a tract of land (5 acres) from the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railroad, tract description being the extreme southwest comer of NW1/4 of Section 15, Township 156, Range 48; the local records indicate 1880 as year of purchase and duly recorded on July 18 of 1882. This tract of land was designated as a cemetery. Since the congregation of 51. Rose of Lima had grown very rapidly with the railroad passing through Argyle in 1878. so did its spiritual needs. Missionaries journeying throughout the northern area of the Red River Valley ministered to their needs more frequently.

In 1883, Father Champagne saw the need of building a church and was instrumentnl in its construction. Thus, the church was built that year on lots I5, 16, and 17 of block 4 of the original townsite of Argyle. These lots were deeded to Bishop Rupert Seidenbusch of St. Cloud by the St. Paul, Minneapolis, Manitoba Railroad from whom the property had been purchased (deeded for one dollar.. $1.00) and deed to this property was later transferred to the Catholic Association of Argyle, then, to St. Rose of Lima Church of Argyle. With extensive immigration of French Canadian and Catholics of other nationalities in the vicinity of Argyle, and the building of the church facUities to meet their needs, a resident Pastor became a necessity.


St Rose Church, 1889


Thus, Father Beland in 1884 became the first resident Pastor of the congregation. Father C. A. Carufel of Crookston purchased the residenceof M. D. Allard and wife on lot 14, block 4, adjacent to the church as a parish house, the deed bearing the date of September 1, 1885. On the death of Father Carufel, the property was transferred to the church of St. Rose of Lima by Louis A. de Carufel, administrator of the estate, on December 17,1892. (County record)

Various priests served the congregation as pastors: Father Beland 1883 to 1886; Father J. B.M. Genin in 1886; Missionary Apostolic Father Fiege in 1887; Father Arpin in 1887; Father Fayolle 1889 to 1890; Father Tapin in 1891 and 1892; Father L. D. Guillaume from 1892 to 1899.

With the establishment of the Diocese of Duluth in 1889 with Bishop James McGolrick as the first Bishop, the parish of St Rose of Lima of Argyle now came unoer the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Duluth. On August 26, 1892, the church of St. Rose of Lima was incorporated with James McGolrich, Bishop of Duluth, Joseph Buh, Vicar General of the Diocese, L. D. Guillaume, Pastor of the Parish, O. E. Belcourt and George Morin, lay members of the Catholic Church, residing in Argyle, Marshall County.
Bishop McGorick visited the Parish of St. Rose of Lima on July 5, 1894. It was on the occasion of this visit that the congregation was advised to change the location of the church in favor of the tract of land that was being used as a cemetery because it would permit future expansion. The future plans included the building of a parochial school. This necessitated the change of the location of the cemetery to a new site. Three acres of land near the northeast comer of section 22, just west of the village cemetery, were purchased from Gedeon Dion and his wife as the new cemetery site. The deed to this property bears the date of August 10, 1894. The task of removing the bodies began that fall. Plans to move the Church in the spring were made. The exact date of its moving seems a little uncertain, only that it was in its new location a few years later.

Since the moving to a new site involved the parsonage (priest's residence), Bishop McGolrick was somewhat dismayed that the instructions given at the time of his visit to Argyle were not being carried out. The building of a new parsonage was a real need. So. his letter ofSeptember 13, 1894, brought the matter clearly to the attention of the congregation. (Parish Archives)
Bishop's Residence
Duluth. Minnesota
September 13, 1894

Mr. Geo. Morin
My Dear Mr. Morin:
The matter of removal of the Church and house, the putting up of a suitable building for the Priest's residence ought not to delay the people for one hour. The thing ought to be done, and all except Pavillars, who are never content with any good work unless it is done their way, will see the advisability of that work.
I cannot and I will not leave the priest in such a den as he now lives in. It is a matter of justice that the man who gives his life to the spiritual word of the people be not allowed to suffer in health through carelessness of a few. Many places are crying out loudly for a priest and promise to build a house for the priest I send.
I am afraid that some of the people in Argyle are loud talkers and declaimers who desire to hear themselves on any question of this kind. I took it for granted that the work suggested when I visited Argyle was well under way.
Now I close by stating that I will remove the Priest early in October if the suggestions made arc not carried out.
I am yours sincerely in Christ,
t James McGolrick Bishop of Duluth

Upon receiving the Bishop's letter, the congregation voted to carry out the instructions given earlier, and notified the Bishop of the action taken .. to build a suitable house for the priest. The parsonage was built on lot 13 near the church. (In 1906 it was moved back from the street and put on a new foundation and also enlarged.) Notation: Lot 6 through 13 (approximately 3 acres of land) included in block 23, Williams Addition lying between the original five-acre tract and Third Street were purchased from Ira Bradford and wife, the deed bearing the date of October 15, 1894, made to St. Rose of Lima Church.

The important meeting of February 1, 1896, called by J. O. Forest, Secretary, was for the purpose of establishing regulations for the greater good of the Catholic Church of Argyle, to assure the means necessary for the maintenance of the Church. A committee of parishioners was elected to assist in this task: J. O. Forest, O. Perreault, J. Parent, Alex Morin, John GooIer, G. Dion, C. Proulx, Joseph Roy, and C. Morin. John GooIer was elected chairman, and Chas. Morin, secretary. The intentions of this committee was to discuss the necessary procedures of assembly, requiring the minority group to conform itself to the will of the majority.
On February 16, 1896, the meeting with Father L. F. Guillaume presiding and M. Beaudry, acting Secretary, was called to order to approve the necessary committee to lay the ground work for the desired regulations desired formulated with a resolution of two-thirds majority of committee to change, or to amend them with consent of the committee and the Pastor of the parish. The hopeful result desired was to bring a greater unity and understanding on the part of all segments of the congregation. And after approval of the Bishop and acceptance by the congregation with all necessary corrections made by the Bishop, they then became the governing regulations of the Parish in these matters .. submitted by Oliver Perreault, treasurer, and J. O. Forest, secretary.
This action brought about the gradual consolidation of the Catholic Association of Argyle with the congregation and it lost its former identity, this for the greater harmony and unity of the congregation of St. Rose of Lima. Bishop's Residence
Duluth, Minnesota
February 25, 1896

My Dear Mr. Forest,
The rules with two exceptions are for the benefit of the Congregation, and worthy of adoption. Weare not permitted to rule people out of the Church, and the priest cannot refuse the Sacraments to anyone properly disposed. The devil is driving people out of the Church fast enough, and we are not to aid him.
Everyone in the congregation should know down to a cent what has been done with the money of the parish and printed statement of receipt and expenditures should be given to all members.
With a little patienec and some foregiveness on all sides, there is no reason why the Argyle congregation should not be in a flourishing condition. I hope when 1 go there for Confirmation to find everything well arranged and all working together for the common good. I have a whole basketful of complaints, and it pains me to hear these things. I hope that our dear Lord may bring a better spirit to us all.
I am Yours Sincerely in Christ,
t James McGolrick Bishop of Duluth

The county records also show a deed made on May 25, 1896 by the Catholic Association of Argyle transferring property to St. Rose of Lima Church, a tract of five acres in section 15, and lots 15, 16, and 17, block 4 of original townsite of Argyle. Officers of the Association being Rev. L. F. Guillaume, president; Goo. Morin, secretary, and O. E. Belcourt, treasurer.

When the decision was made to move the church, the future plans included eventually a parochial school. The formal announcement of intention to build a Catholic Parochial school both in September and November of 1898, the work to begin in the spring of 1899. Meanwhile the task of moving the church building had begun on July 10, 1899. Having reached its destination, it was painted and ready for winter in November of that year. The exact date of start of construction on the school is not clear. It appears that it was only after Father Barras succeeded Father Guillaume as pastor that the main thrust was made with a bazaar held in the fall of 1900.
It was held for the benefit of the Catholic school (convent) building, which was already started and which had been contemplated for many years. Father Barras' effort in mating a start in construction was worthy of every effort. The bazaar receipts were $800, a complete success. Work was started in earnest under the supervision of O. Perreault in charge of the crew. The school was placed under the direction of the Sisters of St. Benedict of Duluth, who staffed it. Due to poverty and other circumstances, it was given up. Father Barras found himself with an empty building which for a time made his hopes for Catholic Parochial school futile, But, learning that the St. Joseph Sisters of Bourg Ain, France, were looking for a site, the opportunity presented his chance to provide a staff for the school. The related story of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Bourg in Argyle speaks well of the hopes and dreams of Father Barras for the Catholic school and education in the parish of St. Rose of Lima.
Argyle, August 17, 1903
Marshall County
Minnesota U.S.

Very Reverend Mother Marie Angele,
Bourg, France

Very dear Mother,
I sent you a telegram telling you that had been worked out. Glory to God! I know you were anxious concerning your sisters and I sensed a tightening of the heart, especially that these sisters have not traveled before. Sunday from the pulpit I announced the arrival of our Sisters. The people are in joy. Flags fly from the towers of the convent.
Hoping, most Reverend Mother, that God will continue to bless our efforts and that we will always be worthy of them,
I sign myself Yours very humble in our Lord Jesus Christ,
J. M. Barras, Priest-pastor

St Joseph Academy. 1907

The building of the Convent had put a heavy burden on the Parish, as the times were still difficult for the strUggling parish. At the meeting on February 12, 1903, the suggestion was made of the possible sale of the Convent to the Sisters. A resolution was made that the Pastor with the consent of the Bishop and the trUstees offer the Convent to the Sisters. The motion was made by John O. Hollam, seconded by F. Xavier Legault. Father Barras took up the matter with the Bishop and obtained his approval. The Board of Directors concluded the final sale of the Convent. The transfer of ownership to the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Bourg Ain, France, took place on October 22, 1903, with Father J. M. Barras, President, with the authorization of Bishop James McGolrick, and the Vicar-General of the Diocese of Duluth, Rev. Joseph Busch, and John O. Hallam, secretary, and F. Xavier Legault, treasurer, completing the transaction. The Provincial House of the Sisters of St. Joseph was in New Orleans, Louisiana, at that time. The description of the property shows that Lots 10 and 11 of block 24, Williams Addition to the Village of Argyle, were excluded from the transaction. (Future site of the present church building -- Abstract of Title No. 37). The name of the Convent was "Villa Rosa". There was one stipulation: namely, that should the Sisters at a future date desire to sell the property, the Parish of St. Rose of Lima reserved the right to purchase it at the current price at the time of the proposed sale.

In 1905, Father Tapin succeeded Father Barras as pastor of St. Rose. And Father L.M. Boiseau in September 19, 1907 takes charge of church in Argyle. Serving as chaplain of the hospital in Crookston, prior to his assuming the duties of pastor at Argyle, he was acquainted with this northern area of Minnesota after having spent the early years of his priesthood in frontier areas of Canada. Being of enormous stature, over six feet tall and over 300 pounds and elegant in appearance, he endeared himself to all who met him, and his friendliness and congeniality found no equal in his out-going personality. A true man of God in every aspect of life, dedicated to the Love of God and of neighbor.

It was at this time, 1910, that the Diocese of Crookston was founded with Bishop Timothy Corbett as Bishop. He appointed "a dean of Crookston Diocese." Only in the following year, 1911, did his sickness, Bright's Disease, became known. His untimely death came on April 29, 1911, Bishop Corbett officiated at his funeral Mass, and burial was in the St. Rose Cemetery. He was the first priest to be buried in the Parish of St. Rose of Lima Cemetery. (Marshall County Banner)

Father Villeaux became pastor in 1911 and took care of the spiritual needs of the congregation until his resignation was requested by Bishop Corbett On January 5, 1915, at which time Father Stanislaus Beaulieu was appointed pastor. Priests of French ethnic background had exercised the Ministry to the people. With the continued growth and immigration of families to this area of Marshall County, other needs began to appear. A larger group of English speaking parishioners existed, and their needs were not being met as language barrier posed its problem. For St. Rose of Lima parish continued to identify itself with the French element of parish, and its language remained the French language. This was maintained for some years.

So on September 30, 1915, after consultation with Bishop , Corbett, the English Catholic Church to be known as St. Mary's Church of Argyle was founded. Lots 6 and 7 of Block 26, Williams Addition, were purchased as the site for the new church. Ground was broken on April 20, 1916, for its construction. A total of $12,000 had been raised towards this project through subscription. Father Joseph Fraling, pastor of St. Stephen's Church of Stephen, took charge and erected the church at a cost of $2,500. The comer stone laid on June 8, 1916, and dedication of the church took place on August 31, 1916. Father Joseph Fraling remained pastor of St. Mary's until1918.

Father Nicolai became the first resident pastor of St. Mary's in the spring. The building of the rectory was started under his administration. In October of the same year, Father John O'Dwyer became the pastor and completed the structure at a cost of ,000. Father O'Dwyer remained pastor until 1946, when the parish was closed and consolidated with the parish of St. Rose of Lima. The Rosary Society orginated at St. Mary's as an effective fund raiser for the parish by the women of the parish through their arts and crafts.) Erma Carmens was until its closing faithful housekeeper to Father O'Dwyer. Throughout the thirty years of its existance, this small parish had established itself also as an efficient, sustaining force in the local community

With the English language gradually assuming its predominant roll in the community and becoming the accepted language of the local community, the need for two parishes in this small community ceased to exist. With the retirement of Father O'Dwyer in 1946, it closed its doors, grateful for the service it had rendered in the thirty years of its existence. And once more the local Catholic communitY was united in the mother parish, St. Rose of Lima.

With its closing, an assistant pastor (associate) was appointed to St. Rose of Lima. And St. Mary's church of Radium transferred to the care of the St. Rose parish. With need for a rectory at Oslo, St. Mary's rectory was moved to Oslo to serve its needs. When the church of 51. Joseph in Oslo burned down, the church followed the way of the rectory and became the parish church of Oslo to this date. Having given its faithful service throughout the years, it is now being retired by the building of a new brick structure.

Shortly after St. Mary's church was built, the congregation of St. Rose of Lima also decided to build a more permanent structure of brick. This was organized during the administration of Father Stanislaus Beaulieu in 1916. The Johnson Construction Company of Bemidji was awarded the contract. The work progressed satisfactorily, with foundations laid and laying of comer stone dedicated on June 8. After the funeral in mid June, 1916 (recorded in the Marshall County Banner, June 21, 1916), the church built in the mid 18805 was completely destroyed by fire. The congregation of St. Mary's offered the use of their facilities to the parishioners of St. Rose until such time as their new edifice would be serviceable for use. In January of 1917, Father Paul LaFloch succeeded Father Stanislaus Beaulieu as Pastor and supervised final erection and completion of the church.

With the work progressing at a good pace, the new St. Rose of Lima Church witnessed the installation of the new bell with its solemn blessing on June 28, 1917. The crowning dedication of this Dew House of Worship was on August 28,1917.

A total of $30,000 was collected in three years .. paying all indebtedness on church and furnishings. Bishop Timothy Corbett, the Bishop of the Diocese of Crookston, presided at these solemn functions and manifested his pleasure at the achievements and dedication of the congregation which sacrificed so dearly to attain this goal, a landmark of Christianity in this small but dedicated community.


St Rose Church, 1917


Every parish goes through many frustrations, uncertainties, and anxieties .. even at times quite pronounced.. during the course of its growth and development. And St. Rose of Lima was no exception. The good times, the war, the great depression of the 30's, all these factors seem to leave their marks. With the succession of the different administrations carrying on forseeably the responsibilities and duties encumbent upon it, from Father Paul LaFloch up to 1921. through the pastorates of Father J. B. Fonmasse, 1921-26, Father Mose Dufault, 1926-1929, Father D. J. Paquin, 1929-1930 and Father Paul LeFloch, who, for the second time, assumed the administration of the parish from 1930 to 1933. In the height of the depression on July 1. 1933, Father Henry Rousseau assumed the responsibilities of administration. A challenge lay before him of such dimension not yet fully understood. Only the test of time could forsee what lay ahead. The trying years of the great depression of the 30's was enough to try the fiber of any pastor and cause him to cry out in anguish, "why me?". Persistent in his determination, he weathered through those turbulent years that were to come to a full realism that God's way prove the test of dedication and fortitude to carry out the many duties encumbent upon him. He would later envision such a growth and fulfillment not believed attainable at first. It marked his ability in diplomacy and statesmanship, his congeniality and yet firmness in need to pour out the extent of his abilities in service for the greater honor and glory of God in the spiritual welfare of the flock entrusted to his care, a true shepherd to his flock.

On August 30, 1933, the 50th Anniversary of the formal organization of the parish by Father Champagne with Joseph Delpay and Zepherin Dion as trustees, was celebrated with Bishop Timothy Corbett officiating. It also commemorated the building of the first church edifice in Argyle, serving the spiritual needs of the Catholics of the community administered by dedicated Priests. On this occasion, Bishop Corbett commented on the number of vocations the parish had given to the church; five vocations to the priesthood: Rev. Francis Baskerville, Rev. Henry Cormier, Rev. Edmund Belcourt, Rev. George Proulx, and Rev. Louis Proulx. Over fifteen young ladies entered the Sisterhood.

After twenty-eight years as the Bishop of the Diocese of Crookston, Bishop Timothy Corbett resigned in July of 1938. The great pioneer of the Church of Crookston had completed his stewardship and was awaiting his fmal crown'. On November 9 of that year, Bishop John H. Peschges succeeded him as the second Bishop of the Diocese of Crookston. Bishop Peschges was a great advocate of Catholic rural life, with intense concern for the future of our farming communities. Hence, he was a great asset to this rural Diocese in the Red River Valley.

In 1946, with the English language being adopted more and more, it effected the Americanization of the parish. The French identity was gradually subdued, and the parish forsook this ethnic trait. With the retirement of Father John O'Dwyer, Pastor of St. Mary's since 1918, St. Mary's Parish reunited itself with the mother parish, St. Rose of Lima, after an absence of 30 years. It is at this time that the services of an assistant priest (associate pastor) became a need, as the Mission of Radium's St. Mary's Church was attached to St. Rose. Father George Reese was appointed the first assistant, followed by Father Henry Carriere, now pastor, '50-'52; Father Lawrence David, '52-'53; Father John Steams, '53-'56; Father Arthur Foury, '56-'57; Father Claude Donndelinger, '57-'58; Father Denis Blank, '58.'60; Father Patrick Kelly, '60-'62; Father Joseph Kieselbach, January of'63; Father Eugene Connely '63-'64; Father Donald H. Krebs, '64-'66; Father Frank Reid, '66-'68; and the last assistant in the parish, Father James Ditzler, '68-'71. Father A. J. E. Leveque, who has assisted in the parish at regular intervals and still does, especially at Christmas time and Easter.

Changes resulted in 1945 that affected both the parish and the congregation of St. Joseph Sisters of Bourg. Up to this time, the sisters owned and operated an academy and school whose facilities the parish utilized in the education of the children of the parish. Bishop Francis J. Schenk. Bishop of Crookston, purchased the buildings and site, relieving the sisters of an oppressive burden, as the sisters could no longer maintain a boarding academy without building a complete new facility which was out of the question, as these facilities already existed in Crookston. The property was later transferred to the ownership of the parish of St. Rose of Lima by the Diocese (May 5, 1949).

This laid the ground work for the next course of action to be taken by the parish. building of a new school. In 1948, the congregation decided this issue. The Walter Butler Construction Company of St. Paul was awarded the contract, and construction began in 1949.

Structure of contemporary design with ground floor of social function and first floor for class rooms. Building begin of masonry construction with provision made for expansion to a second floor if the need ever arises. The heating plant also was equiped to service the parish church adjacent to the school, which it is still continuing to do at present. It resolved the need of replacement of the heating plant in the church proper. Even part of the old academy building had to be removed in order to permit designated construction of the building.

January of 1950 witnessed the transition of the old to the new. The new school facilities were a reality. The building also provided an apartment on ground floor for the sisters. With spring arriving, the final stage of construction, dismantling of the rest of the old convent, and landscaping. A call to the parishioners resolved the problem of salvaging worthwhile materials which were later sold. Removal of rubbish and leveling of the grounds completed the last stage -- landscaping of the premises.

Time always takes it toll. The years had rolled by since the interior of the church had seen the newness and freshness of paint. So, the fall of 1951 witnessed the aggressive and concerted interest of the parishioners in the decorating and refinishing of the interior of the church. New pads, thanks to the men Foresters, were installed on all kneelers, and are still serviceable even nearly thirty years later. The maple flooring was completely refinished, and new aisle runners were installed.

The Diamond Jubilee celebration on July I5, 1954, with Bishop Francis J. Schenk officiating was an historical milestone in the history of the parish of St. Rose of LIma. Seventy-five years' journey through turmoils, hardships, anxieties, depression, now a crowning jewel, a testament to a determined flock that their posterity would share in an inheritance befitting the People of God -- their stature measured by the endurance of their faith, and its lasting fruits. They had met the challenge and conquered led by a stalwart shepherd leading his flock in safety. For their faith withstood the test of time -- they were not found wanting.

Continued vigilance spoke of other needs. A new residence temporarily intended as the pastor's residence and eventually to become the convent for the sisters, the teaching staff of school. This was realized in 1957. With sisters still residing in the apartment in school, now the old rectory, renovated somewhat to fill their needs, became their convent, With years passing swiftly by, 1968 became another time of concern, the church building was renovated in the main by interior decorating and installation of carpeting throughout, Even the exterior.. the roof was renewed.

With the dawning of 1971, an era came to an end. After serving the people of God for over 38 years as their shepherd, and limited in health, Father Henry Rousseau tendered his resignation upon request of Bishop Kenneth Povish and retired to a private residence in the town he loved and that loved him so well. He had met the challenges of the years, dedicated to the growth, spiritual and temporal, of his charges, and had given unstintingly of himself throughout these many years. And now an earned rest from his labors.

In September of 1971. Father Paul A. Cardin assumed the pastorate, Because of limited health and sickness often demanding his absence, he resigned his charge in the following spring, All were saddened by his death in June,

No stranger to Argyle, as he had been as assistant pastor under Father Henry Rousseau from 195010 1952, Father Henry Carriere accepted the appointment to this post, effective June 1, 1972, He was acquainted with many of the older parishioners, and recalled from past experience the response and willingness of the parishioners to meet the needs of the parish as they arose. Equal to this task, they demonstrated this in July of that year by assuming whole-heartedly the task of painting the rectory.

Some of the societies active within the parish structure were limited in their activities, as the whole school building was being used completely for education of the children. An assembly place was needed to advance the fuller potential of these societies (organizations) in an atmosphere more conducive to their purpose. So, the decision was made to utilize the rectory (now the sister's convent) ground floor as a Parish Center. Finishing the unit with the generous labor of parishioners, it became a very suitable meeting place for the CCD and release classes; for the Rosary Society, for the monthly meeting of the Knights of Columbus, and also periodic adult education sessions. This utility has proved most beneficial to the parish.

Time marches on. Overjoyed at the news that the teaching staff of sisters in the school could bc incrcascd if adequate living quarters could be provided for them, the parish set about evaluating the possible avenues at hand, First, the old convent had seen its days and would be too costly to renovate. Second, building of a new convent with suitable facilities quite costly, left only one alternative, the present rectory had all the requirements. After presentation of the issue to the Parish Council and submission of the request to Bishop Kenneth Povish, the following decision resulted: namely, to build a new rectory on the site of the old convent, ample enough to meet the administrative needs of the parish while the older rectory converted to the sisters' convent more than met all their needs and became a very satisfactory residence for the sisters.

Plans made and approved left the only avenue of action .. build! With decision in hand, the wheels of construction were put in motion. So, May of 1974 saw the first step -- materials contract issued. Next, the clearing of the site for construction followed by a razing of the old convent early In June, a task assumed and swiftly completed by the parishioners. Construction began in July and was completed in December, with occupancy on December 19. It was again a tribute to the parishioners who donated time and talent in building this parish facility under the supervision of the pastor, and at considerable savings to the parish. Landscaping and renovation of the parish utility building in the summer of 1975 completed the project.

Man's attempts to foil the elements are always futile. For the winds, the rains, cold and snow, diverse elements of our climatic conditions made no exceptions. Often, times wreak havoc with many constructions, and St. Rose of Lima Church didn't escape. Moisture accumulations in the masonry with excessive cold and heat cause deterioration of the mortar and brick in some areas of the building very noticeably so. Upon recommendation of Bishop Povish on the occasion of his visit in the summer of 1975, the following course of action was proposed: complete grouting, cleaning, and tuckpointing of all masonry and renewal of the face trim on the eaves, the upper tower hail damage repaired, and painting. The Mid-Continental Water Proofing Company of Scottsville, Kansas, was awarded the contract for the amount of $20,358 and the work done in the summer of 1976.

The work would not have been complete without the repair and restoration of the stain glass windows, some of which were damaged by the heavy hail storm of August 31, 1975. The outer protective glass shields were broken on many windows. The Hauser Stain Glass Studios were retained for this work, and weather-proof "Lexan" shields were installed on all the stain glass windows at a cost of $14,675. Damage done to the roof was also repaired. With this, the restoration of the exterior of the church was complete. The interior of the church, particularly the sanctuary. drew our attention. After studying the renovation of 1968, when the Hauser Stain Glass Company was consulted on the window work, it was advised to restore the two stain glass sanctuary windows, which had been concealed. This also required remodeling of the sanctuary woodwork to fit the architectural designs of the church. The main altar and side pedestals were also included in this restoration. The Last Supper Statuary which was part of the former main altar was restored to a place of honor in the decor of the present plan. much to the satisfaction of the parishioners.

The school had extensive damage, not due to any weather element, but rather to defective materials. C. L. Linfoot Company of Grand Forks, being awarded the contract, renewed the complete roof in July of 1977. Finally, evidence of a dedicated people is evidenced by the willingness to give and share in the enrichment of the Lord's abode. A call. a response resulted in the completion of the interior of the church edifice, that part that is so frequently left untouched, the balcony. Through the generous giving of time and talent, it was completely renovated with carpeting installed, the stairway strengthened and carpeted to make it as noiseless as possible. A new cabinet installed to care for all books and music used in the celebration of the liturgies. Thus, the last year of the century ended as the first begins. A people dedicated in mind, heart, and soul to greater honor and glory to God in His house of worship. What is more conducive to selfless giving than an atmosphere of quiet, subdued, serenity manifest by the beauty of the surroundings in which we pray, offer and share ill the Mystery of God's abundant love.

Every parish witnesses its joys and its sorrows. Such was the case on Sunday, October I. 1978, when tragedy struck at the roots of its soul. Four of our wonderful young men and women called so suddenly from us by God. People of God prayed, they mourned this loss. And a community acknowledged in solemn tribute the going forth of the youth to their eternal reward.

A note of joyous celebration, a blessing to the parish community, the parish honored the Sisters of St. Joseph on Sunday, November 5, 1978, on the occasion of their 75th Jubilee, the anniversary of their arrival to St. Rose of Lima Parish. Seventy-five years of dedicated service in the parish aDd in the diocese. A song of thanksgiving and gratitude to God for the blessing their ministry has brought to St. Rose of Lima Parish and the surrounding community.

Thus came to a close the year 1978, with the celebrations of joy, Thanksgiving Day and the Solemnity of the Lord's Birth, Christmas. Day. indeed a fitting tribute to God by his family united in spirit echoing the ageless" Amen. honor. praise. and glory to Our Mighty God, who has been, and is, and will continue to abide with his people through the ages."

....St Rose of Lima Book, 1979


Saint Rose of Lima Cemetery







Argyle Historical Museum Building Fund

The Argyle Historical Society is asking for your help in preserving the history of our community. We are starting a campaign to raise money for capital improvements for the Argyle Museum. We hope that you will be generous in helping us to achieve our goals.

....Argyle Historical Society

SCHILLER FAMILY TREE.PDF of Dolphis and Josephine Schiller complied by Rosemary Schiller, Argyle , MN


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