Parish History

 

As mainly German settlers moved into the area, there was a need for spiritual guidance, administering the Sacraments and celebrating Mass. By 1856, priests from St. Paul came to the area to offer Mass in the settlers' log homes.


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The old Nicholas Becker place about 1888 (now the Elsen farm located at Cty Rd 19 & Cty Rd 11).

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Missionary priests continued to come a few times a year. Services continued in the log church until a larger structure was needed to accommodate the growing parish family; and in 1876 a larger frame church (30 x 35 feet) was built in the same location. The bell used for this church is in the tower of the present brick church in Loretto.

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Eventually the larger frame church was torn down and the current church in town was built on land donated by Anna M. Becker and family, with the Church Dedication held in 1906.

In 1922, a small brick school was built to accommodate close to 100 children at the time.  It opened with three classrooms and was in the charge of the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

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The current convent was built and completed for the sisters in October 1929. In 1960, plans were approved to build an addition to the school for 176 students at that time.  In 1996, a Parish Center with a gymnasium was built in the place of the older original section of the school.

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With the Civil War over, the settlers were determined to build a church of their own. In 1867, a small log structure, about 16 x 28 feet was built on the Feltes property. The log church stood on the site where the three priests at that time (Fr. P. Eberhart Gahr, OSB; Fr. P. Magnus M. Mayr, OSB; and Fr. Peter Maly) are now buried in the old section of the Ss. Peter & Paul Cemetery. 

Throughout the years, various parcels of land were deeded to the church, some to be used for specific purposes such as a cemetry or buildings, other parcels were donations given as a means of supporting the church when cash was scarce.