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St. Mary's Mission of Maxstone

Stonehenge RM 73, Saskatchewan, S0H, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2004/07/12

View northwest at front and south elevations, 2005.; Government of Saskatchewan, Marvin Thomas, 2005.
Exterior View
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Other Name(s)

St. Mary's Mission of Maxstone
St. Mary's - Our Lady of the Assumption

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1917/01/01 to 1917/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/06/26

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

St. Mary’s Mission of Maxstone is a Municipal Heritage Property located in the Rural Municipality of Stonehenge No. 73, approximately 15 km south of the Town of Assiniboia and .5 km north of the Hamlet of Maxstone. The property features a small, wood-frame church built in 1917 and a cemetery situated on a .4-ha parcel of rural land.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of St. Mary’s Mission of Maxstone lies in its long service to the Catholic residents of the Maxstone district. Homesteaders, mostly German-speaking Catholics from the Bukovina region of Austria-Hungary, began arriving in the area around 1909. In the early years, travelling priests celebrated Mass in the settlers’ homes. In 1916, Father Louis-Pierre Gravel, the founder of the French-Catholic settlement at Gravelbourg, helped the homesteaders secure permission to erect their own church. In 1917, community members contributed money and labour to build St. Mary’s Church on a parcel of land donated by Edward Lolacher. Mr. Lolacher, who was also a stonemason and experienced church builder, and local residents Anton Kwasnicki and John Pilsner, both skilled carpenters, directed the construction. The vestry at the rear of the building and the entry porch were added ca. 1926.

St. Mary’s was blessed by Father Poirier of Assiniboia on August 15, the feast day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in 1917. The church’s first Mass was celebrated by Father Gravel. For the next 50 years, priests from nearby parishes came to St. Mary’s Mission to serve the spiritual needs of the district’s Catholics. In 1969, however, the church was forced to close due to a shortage of priests in the region. Today, the church is a community museum, and still hosts a lay service every Father’s Day.

Further heritage value resides in the cemetery’s connection to the area’s pioneers, many of whom were laid to rest within its grounds. The first interment in the cemetery occurred before the church was completed, and burials are still periodically conducted. The iron cross markers on some of the graves, likely made by Maxstone’s former blacksmith, are of a style associated with German-speaking immigrants from Eastern Europe.

Source:

Rural Municipality of Stonehenge No. 73 Bylaw No. 5/04.

Character-Defining Elements

The heritage value of St. Mary’s Mission of Maxstone resides in the following character-defining elements:
-elements that reflect the property’s long-standing role as the community’s church, including the church building’s location on its original site with an east-west orientation on its fieldstone foundation; its simple form; gable roof and entrance through a central bell tower with spire and louvred belfry; the church bell; the iron cross on the steeple; the entrance porch and vestry additions; and the pointed-arch window openings and window tracery;
-elements of the church’s interior that express the building’s religious function, including the raised sanctuary separated from the simple nave by a communion rail; the vaulted ceiling; the vestry room behind the sanctuary; the choir loft; and the confessional;
-elements that express the cemetery’s connection to the district’s pioneers, including the open grounds of the churchyard, the interments in the graveyard, and the headstones and iron cross grave markers.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Saskatchewan

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (SK)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act, s. 11(1)(a)

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Property

Recognition Date

2004/07/12

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1917/01/01 to 1969/12/31

Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions

Function - Category and Type

Current

Leisure
Museum

Historic

Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure
Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Department of Culture, Youth and Recreation Heritage Resources Branch 1919 Saskatchewan Drive Regina, SK File: MHP 511

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

MHP 511

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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