A message from Most Reverend Peter A. Sutton, OMI
Archbishop of Keewatin-The Pas.
150 years ago, young missionaries came to live among the early settlers at Ile a la Crosse and the surrounding areas. Life was simpler, but it was harder. Your ancestors were fewer in number than today's population, but the cultural and religious yearnings were no less acute. When the 100th Anniversary was celebrated with pomp and pageantry, a good number of you were very young. Some of you were newly married; some recently arrived as missionaries.
On this occasion, all of us will be trying to tell our part in the lived story of Ile a la Crosse, of St. John the Baptist Parish, and of the archdiocese. We've "come home" to give thanks for the past. When we've looked into the eyes of a healthy, joyful and peace-filled young generation, we will want to say "yes' to the plans God has designed for our future.
I want to thank Sister Rose Arsenault RSR, Chancellor of the Archdiocese, who has woven together, in summary, some pages of the history of Ile-a-la-Crosse. This is our way of trying to include as many and as much as possible in a few pages. Enjoy!
May your invitation to this celebration have attracted multitudes. May your "Homecoming" be a warm one and your families and friends delighted. Bear in mind that some of you will be around in the year 2046. Give them a reason to remember.
God bless you, the "Homecomers" in 1996, and may He keep you all in the palm of His hand.
+Peter A. Sutton, OMI
Archbishop of Keewatin-The Pas
June 28, 1996
People and things have changed, but it's always the same Church, the People of God, journeying together toward its third millennium, adapting its course according to the signs of the times, taking care of the poor among the poor, calling the faithful of Ile-a-la-Crosse to minister to each other.
Our hearts are grateful as we proudly recount the humble but glorious story of the mission of St. John the Baptist in Ile-a-la-Crosse.
Ile a la Crosse is considered today, the oldest parish of the Archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas, 150 years old. It was established first as a mission in 1846 and was named St. John the Baptist. The history of the mission is the history of the Metis people, and also of the Cree and Chipewyan (Dene) populations who embraced Catholicism.
Metis, is a French term designating persons of European and of the First Nations ancestry. It derives from the Latin word "miscere" meaning "to mix". The Metis families of Ile a la Crosse are mainly from Metis, French Canadian, or Scottish ancestry from the Red River.
The first white man Thomas Frobisher, who spent the winter of 1776 in Ile-a-la-Crosse, built the first house in this part of the country at the precise location where later in 1846, the first Catholic chapel would be located. A bi-centennial celebration recalled this event of 1776. Ile-a-la-Crosse was then translated in Cree as "Sakitawak", meaning: where the waters meet.
In 1846, Ile-a-la-Crosse the island, where the "La Crosse" game had been played amidst the rivalry of fur traders, became the "Mother Church" of the great Canadian North West, from where missionaries spread the "Good News" to other northern districts and the Arctic.
Anyone reading these pages searching for their roots,
may call the following Mission number for assistance:
Religious History Of St. John Baptiste Parish
Ile-a-la-Crosse - 150 Years,
has been reproduced on this website
with the kind permission of the
Archdiocese of Keewatin - Le Pas.