A short history of Our Lady of Peace
In 1888 the first missionary out post was established in Green Lake by the Order of Mary Immaculate (OMI). Shortly thereafter the missionaries made their way by rivers and lakes in a canoe to Lac de Prairie or Meadow Lake. To create a shorter route, an overland trail was blazed from Fort Carlton to Green Lake and on to Meadow Lake. Supplies could then be hauled by Red River carts using horses or oxen.
In 1908 Father Louis Cochin, traveling from Ile a la Crosse to North Battleford, stopped in Meadow Lake to visit Cyprien Morin, an outstanding Metis of the area. This visit resulted in the decision to build a small chapel in Meadow Lake.
Cyprien Morin took charge of the building program. In a few weeks he and his crew of volunteers had sufficient lumber to build not only a small chapel but a rectory as well. The buildings stood on a site near Backwater Creek where it enters Meadow Lake. Not long after, Father Cochin held Mass in the first church in Meadow Lake. Father Cochin would also occasionally say Mass on the Flying Dust First Nation.
In 1912, the Government of Saskatchewan started cutting a trail through dense forest from Midnight Lake to Meadow Lake, now Highway 4. This allowed many more white settlers to move north.
In 1913, Father Waddel arrived to assist Father Cochin, to learn the Cree language and to take over the duties of Parish priest. Father Cochin left in 1916, close to his retirement.
During the years 1914 to 1918, precipitation in the area, of both rain and snow, was so great that the little church at the mouth of Backwater Creek could only be reached by canoe or over boggy land. This made it necessary to build a new church in a better location.
In 1919, Leon Sergent donated 8 acres of land in the new hamlet of Meadow Lake to build a new church and rectory. Cyprien Morin donated a partially completed building of squared logs which he had planned to use as a store.. The building was hauled to the new location. This was completed as a rectory for Father Waddel. Father Waddel planned and built the second and larger church on the east end of Meadow Lake before he was moved to another parish in 1923.
In 1925, The Catholic congregation had again out grown their facilities. The new pastor Father Emil Pascal set to work to remedy the situation. Joe Gauthier, an experienced stone mason and carpenter, was hired to act as foreman. Volunteers worked long hours into the night to complete Meadow Lake's third church.
By 1948, the parish had again outgrown its Church facilities and a fourth church was built. Father J. Bidault, who arrived in 1947 as parish priest, was the architect. Jack Anthony was the contractor. Many volunteers supplied the labor and our present day church was built.
Leon Sergent donated the land and Louis Bedard and Mrs. Leon Sergent donated the bell. In December 1956 the new church was done. The rectory was built by Joe Gauthier with the help of Father Girard and volunteers.
About 1950 the old church was moved just south of the present church and on the same lot. It was used as an activity center and called Columbus Hall. The south portion of the church was built as a chapel but when the old Columbus Hall was dismantled, the Chapel Hall was renovated and used for meetings, teas, bazaars, card partiers and catechism classes.