Our Lady of Peace Mission
In 1872 Chief Crowfoot, realizing the plight of his people at the hands of ruthless whiskey traders, appealed to Bishop Grandin to send priests to the Blackfoot. The Oblates of Mary Immaculate were soon directed to establish Notre Dame de la Paix Mission in Southern Alberta.
Beginning in 1872 and 1912, Our Lady of Peace Mission was relocated and built three times. The last time was in 1882, near the Elbow River on the Holy Cross Hospital site. In 1882, Father Lacomb returned to Our Lady of Peace Mission as Father Superior. He was granted a substantial homestead, which included the mission site. Over the next few years several buildings were added. The final culmination of Our Lady of Peace Mission came in 1889 when an impressive sandstone church was dedicated to St. Mary and the Immaculate Conception.
The importance of missionaries during the settlement period of Western Canada cannot be overstated. The early missionaries, representing a few Christian denominations, were drawn to this vast untamed land by their common desire to convert the indigenous peoples to Christianity. While their faith brought them here and generally guided their actions, much of their time was consumed by the rigours of frontier life and pressing secular matters. Their minister extended to include public service as translators, teachers, healers and peacemakers.
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