Michael Rustad's Memories

The Mission Church

St. Anne's of St. Vincent

St. Anne's Catholic Church in St. Vincent, Minnesota wasclassified as a mission church. St. Anne's was not a wealthy church andwas subsidized by the Crookston Diocese. I have many happy memories ofSt. Anne's Church.

Father Merth was our priest in my very early years, replacedby Father Aloysius Sietz. Father Sietz was a bear of a man who loved cigarsand had a ribald sense of humor. Father Sietz was an extremely good speakerand a man of strong moral convictions. I remember him cautioning our parishabout the dangerous segregationist Presidential Campaign of George Wallacein 1964. I was one of Father Seitz's altar boys although I began my tenureon inauspicious terms. David Boatz convinced me to fill in for TimothyHughes who was a regular altar boy. I had no formal training in Latin. David, ever the salesman, convinced me that he would guide me through aflawless altar boy performance. Instead, David Boatz guided me throughan altar boy ritual of the absurd. We did not know any Latin other thanet cum spiritutoo! or dominius vobiscum. We did not know the proper ritualat all. We muddled through the Mass creating quite a few laughs for theCongregation. Father Seitz did not consider our performance a laughingmatter. I still remember him chastisizing David for being a "monkey'sass!" I cowered in the corner while David took the brunt of the criticism. I did not explain how I was convinced to become an altar boy. After thatincident, I studied enough Latin to become a credible altar boy. Therewere other occasions where I got the giggles but somehow made it throughthe Mass. One of my most vivid memories was being amused by some of theelderly communicants of our parish.

We had some rather strange religious rituals in St. Anne's. Every family had designated family parking places. Many of the parkingplaces were located between trees. There was the Boatz tree, the Baldwintreee, the Hilson Stewart Tree, the Tri Tree, and the Rustad tree! Noone dared to park in anyone's else designated parking spot. The Hunt familyhad nearly 20 children. I remember one Sunday when one of the Hunt kidswas left behind at Church. I still remember the Hunt station wagon circlingback to pick up the stray child.

Another memory that I have is of Summer cathechism. Thevisiting nuns would attempt to teach Catholic doctrine to the mission children. I had a terrific memory and won every prayer card, medallion and otherprize awarded by the sisters. I am sorry to report that my conduct didnot match my memory. My brother Tony and I would frequently smuggle baseballcards into our religious instructions. I once placed a cherry fizzy inthe Holy Water fountain which David Boatz proclaimed to be a miracle. Weall got in trouble that day. My brother Tony was once caught playing withbaseball cards and forced to give up his beloved Los Angeles Dodgers completecollection. I have a memory that he whipped the deck off the platnum ofthe nuns and was severely sanctioned. The nuns were strict disciplinariansbut they were scrupulously fair. The parents of the cathechism studentswould take turns having the nuns for supper. I remember being so relievedwhen the nuns told my parents that Tony and I were such nice boys--despiteour antics. My memory is that my Mother would prepare the best meal possiblefor the nuns. We would have roast beef, mashed potatoes, fresh garden vegetablesand one of my mother's famous pies. Decades later I have to say that Ivery much appreciate the education that I recieved from the sisters of St.Benedict and the other orders who served our parish.

Cynthia Baldwin'sMemories of Catechism at St. Anne's ldwin'sMemories of Catechism at St. Anne's