Michael Rustad's Memories

 

St. Anne's Catholic Church and Youth Groups

 

Kittson County was largely Protestant when I was a child.The Catholics had two churches, one was St. Anne's Church in St. Vincentand the other was St. Patricks in Hallock. From the 1940s through the 1970s,the same priest served both parishes.

St. Anne's Catholic Church was where my family worshippedfor many years. Father Aloysius Sietz and Father Felion were the prieststhrough most of my childhood. Families that attended St. Anne's includedfamilies such as the Baldwin, (Verne and Sarah) Hunt, (Dottie and Bob) Boatzes,(Helen and Quentin) Tri, (Hilson and Eleanor) Stewart, Leonard Jerome, Mrs.Gardner, the Friebohls, Hughes, Turner, and many others.

My first communion class included Renee Jerome, Ron Baldwin,Peter Tri, and Wanda Hosch. My first religious instruction teacher was MarieTri who was quite a gifted teacher. I still remember attempting to drawthe Garden of Eden and was given quite a bit of praise for my very primitivedrawings. Tom Baldwin was my sponsor for confirmation and I remember thatmy parents had a special dinner for me to celebrate this rite de passage.

Catechism was taught by visiting nuns in the summer. Thenuns were frequently invited to dinner by members of the parish. I usedto dread those dinners because of fear that the nuns would tell my parentsabout my sometimes too-spirited enthusiasm for fun during church school.Someone from my religious class was looking at baseball cards during a theologicallecture and one nun confiscated them. My fellow classmate threw the packat her. That was about as naughty as some of the kids got except for thechild who placed a cherry fizzy in the holy water fount and declared: "AMiracle!, A Miracle!

Our parents would pack a lunch for us each day of cathechism.For some reason, all lunch boxes were metal black and accompanied by a thermos.My Mother would often pack a treat along with the usual fare of sandwiches,fruit and chips. We would often end up trading or sharing food during thoseimpromtu lunches.

Many of us would enjoy walking down to Sylvester's Store.Jim Sylvester was the son of the proprietor and quite a good guy. GeorgeSylvester, Jim's father, was very good to kids. I remember being very fearfulof the walk to the store because during the late 1950s, two Gardner childrenwere struck by a driver from Winnipeg. My memory may not be correct, butI believe that one of the little girls was killed and was the sister ofJackie Gardner and Mrs. Leonard Jerome. Mrs. Gardner was one of the mostprominent parishioners of that period and I believe she was a most piouswoman.

My other memory of St. Anne's was being an altar boy oftenunlucky enough to be paired with Dave Boatz. Dave's favorite activity wasto get the other altar boy to get the giggles. I was an easy mark for Davebecause I thought he was hilarious. I remember once that Father Seitz gotvery upset with Dave's antics and chastisized him. I often wondered howhe knew that it was Dave that inspired my uncontrollable laughter in church.Dave would often point to the birds and squirrels that sometimes appearedin the ceiling of the church. One Sunday I remember seeing a bird flyingabout in church and wondered whether it was some manifestation of the HolySpirit.

In my very early years, I remember being fascinated withthe passing of the collection plate. When I was three or four, I placedmy favorite red car in the plate and it was retrieved by Bob Boatz who oftentook the collection.

I believe that the Bishop in Crookston would come on therare occasion of a confirmation. We were classified as a mission churchin those days. St. Anne's Catholic Church finally closed in the early 1970s.I heard in later years that the building was converted to a pool hall fora short timne. I think people used to refer to it as St. Anne's Pool Hall.

We would have some great baseball games in the lot adjacentto the church. I remember one in particular where the kids played theirfathers and my Dad hitting several home runs and racing around the basepaths. We even had one nun who played ball with us. I hope that others whoattended St. Anne's will contribute their memories. I remember that theladies aide frequently had dinners in the basement.

MEMORIES OF CHURCH YOUTH GROUPS

When the parish closed, many of the families either worshippedat Pembina or Hallock. Hallock's St. Patricks Church was a modern facility.St. Patricks was a modern facility with a nice rectory in contrast to St.Anne's which was rather primitive in contrast.

In high school, the Baldwins and Rustads jointed the Hallock-basedCatholic Youth Organization or CYO. My memory is that the active familieswere the Cooneys, Klegstads, Baldwins, Rustads, Stewarts, and others. TheCYO was one of the best experiences for me. My dad and others includingHilson Stewart, Bob Boatz and Mark Baldwin joined the Knights of Columbus.

Kittson County of the 1950s and 1960s was free from religiousrivalries and it was common for church youth organizations to invite membersof other faiths.

I thought the MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship) of Humboldtwas one of the best organizations. I frequently attended MYF hayrides andother activities. The Methodists were among the better cooks and I seldommissed a meal at the Church.

I remember well the fellowship hall and even the picturesthat hung on the wall. My grandparents and Aunt Dorothy and Uncle BurtonTurner were members of the Methodist Church. Leslie Turner, one of my favoritecousins, was a prominent member of the MYF group as were my classmates RalphGiffen, Jan Armstrong, Marlys Diamond, and Rebecca Clow. I remember likingRalph Kallweit who was a minister from that period.ys Diamond, and Rebecca Clow. I remember likingRalph Kallweit who was a minister from that period.