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Histories of
St. Louis Bertrand and St. Mary's

St. Louis Bertrand Church

About 1886, Mr. A.F. Panchot conceived the idea of building a church in Foreston. From the scattered Catholic families he solicited subscriptions and donated much time and talent as a carpenter to the building of the first church.


The first structure was a small frame building with a sacristy attached. Ground for it was donated by Mr. Jens Olson, a non-Catholic.

The cemetery was a gift from Mrs. Orella Debitsch, and by peculiar coincidence, she was the first buried in it.

Father Broidy, with a mission at Princeton, is said to have offered the first Mass in the new church. In 1914, Father Kral was appointed by Bishop Trobec as the first resident pastor of St. Louis Bertrand Church.

Forty one years later (1955) a substantial hall was built for church doings, societies, meetings and religious instruction.

St. Mary's Church

In April 1954, Bishop Bartholome purchased the former Harmonia Hall in Milaca and the neighboring Westling home as sites for the new church and rectory. Father Richard John, O.S.C. was appointed by the Bishop as the first pastor on July 22, 1954.

On August 13, 1954, the church was blessed by the Very Reverend Leo Kapphahn, Prior of the Crosier Monastery in Onamia. The following Sunday, Father John celebrated the first Mass on the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, the patron feast of the parish.

In the spring/summer of 1956, ground breaking took place for the new church at the present location. On January 13, 1957, the new church was used for Mass. (Presently, this part of the church is used for classrooms, office and parish hall and kitchen.)

In 1993-1994, the present-day  church was built and was dedicated on Pentecost, by Bishop Jerome Hanus, O.S.B.

As our journey as a parish community continues to unfold, we pray for God's continued blessings on this parish and the people it serves. May all people see Christ in our actions and let our mission to serve in His love be our ultimate goal.

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