It has been 105 years and we are remembering Saint Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Parish.
Some 1500 years later, in 1894, some settlers from Kansas and Quebec arrived to new land 4-1/2 miles southwest of present day Vegreville. This new land was referred to as The Garden of the Northwest.
Rapidly the population increased, and by 1895 a log church and a school were built. Their new town was named ‘Vegreville’ after a missionary from France named Valentin Vegreville. By 1904, Father Bernier from France was the first priest and their place of worship was placed under the patronage of St. Martin.
All was going well in Vegreville until 1905 when the CNR decided to build a railroad 4 1/2 miles away. There appeared to be no choice but to move the town to where it is located today. Interestingly, St. Martin’s was a bilingual church until about 1950, with sermons in both English and French.
Then came the Sisters from France. The Sisters of Charity built a hospital, and the Sisters of Providence built a convent and school. Over time, a new and bigger St. Martin of Tours Church was built.
St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Parish opening and blessing May 23rd, 1954. Built to accomodate 400 people. The bell from the original church was saved and used again.
In 1994, under another “builder priest”, Fr. Joe Leszczynski, and his active parishoners, St. Martin’s Church was completely renovated, to its current place of worship today.
It is with pride, and over 105 years later, we remember this history.