Church and Grotto in St. Peter's Colony
St. Peter's Colony
Links and documents
1904/01/01 to 1904/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Church and Grotto in St. Peter’s Colony is a Municipal Heritage Property located approximately twelve kilometres east of the Hamlet of Kronau in the Rural Municipality of Lajord No. 128. The property features a large one-storey, wood-sided church constructed in 1903-04, a fieldstone grotto, and a cemetery which was established in 1892.
The heritage value of the Church and Grotto in St. Peter’s Colony resides in the property’s use as a place of worship for the area’s first settlers. In the spring of 1890, ten families and seven single men left Rastadt in the Black Sea area of Southern Russia to homestead south of Regina. They soon established a colony, known initially as Rastadt or Seven Colony, which they modelled after their original home. This name would later change to St. Peter’s Colony. Over the next decade, other German-speaking families from Russia established similar colonies in the area. In 1903 Archbishop Langevin approved the building of St. Peter’s Church at Rastadt. The first church service was held in late 1903, with the church being completed in 1904.
Heritage value also resides in the Grotto and its use as a place of religious pilgrimage. As early as 1913, the colony’s first resident priest, Father Henry Metzger, visualized a grotto or shrine at St. Peter’s adjacent to Many Bones Creek. Excavation of the shrine honouring Our Lady of Lourdes began in June, 1917 and was completed that summer using fieldstones collected by the local settlers. The first pilgrimage was held in August 1917. Pilgrimages continue to be held every August. The grotto includes a Daprato bronze statue of the Virgin Mary and a plaster statue of Bernadette, sculpted by Carli of Montreal.
Additional heritage value resides in the historic integrity of the church. The wood-frame construction, simple rectangular plan, and east-west orientation are typical of rural churches. Late-Gothic Revival influences include the central bell tower and steeply pitched gable roof, while the Romanesque Revival influence can be seen in the design of the rounded-arch windows. The tower was designed in the Russian style by Father Laufer, a member of the Oblate Fathers from Regina. Hanging in the tower is the original bell, blessed on May 17, 1912.
Heritage value also resides in the community cemetery. Land was set aside for a cemetery when the colony was founded, with the first burial occurring in 1892. The cemetery is the final resting place for many of the original pioneers from St. Peter’s.
Rural Municipality of Lajord No. 128, Bylaw No. 280.
The heritage value of the Church and Grotto in St. Peter’s Colony lies in the following character-defining elements:
-elements that reflect the property’s use as a place of worship, such as the fieldstone grotto and statues of the Virgin Mary and Bernadette;
-those elements that reflect the architectural integrity of the church, such as the rounded-arch windows, which are reminiscent of the Romanesque Revival style, and the steeply pitched gable roof, and central bell tower, which are typical of the Late-Gothic Revival period;
-those elements which contribute to the property’s status in the community, including its situation on its original location, and the cemetery.
Local Governments (SK)
Heritage Property Act, s. 11(1)(a)
Municipal Heritage Property
1892/01/01 to 1892/12/31
1917/01/01 to 1917/12/31
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Religious Institutions
Function - Category and Type
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Religious Facility or Place of Worship
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Saskatchewan Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport
Heritage Resources Branch
1919 Saskatchewan Drive Regina, SK
File No: MHP 2354
Cross-Reference to Collection