Holy Spirit Province Saint-Esprit
Franciscans of CanadaFranciscains du Canada

Ordo Fratrum Minorum

Building the church at Lac du Bonnet

Building the church at Lac du Bonnet

On May 9, 1955, Fr. Ulric Ell received approval to construct a new church building at Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba. The old church had been built in 1905 using logs covered with siding, and by the 1950s it had become too small for the people attending.

Construction began right away. The new church basement was dug and finished in a month’s time despite heavy spring rains. As the Parish chronicles records humorously: “Fr. Ell continues his hard work. Now he has two basements to keep dry. It’s raining today” (21 May 1955).

From then on, the project was dependent on volunteers to complete the remainder of the building. Often, Fr. Ulric and Fr. Hubert spent many days working alone. Little by little, the floor was nailed down, steel arches and walls raised, windows and doors put in place. Winter arrived in November and construction moved inside the church to complete the rafters, insulation and ceiling, interior walls, and finishing touches.

By December after months of hard work, they were able to use the new building for the first time for Christmas Midnight mass

Fr. Ulric remembers one event at the opening of the church

It might be interesting to recall an episode which happened on Christmas Eve. After supper about 7 PM, Mrs. Fournier came to go to confession in the new church. As the church door opened and she got her first glimpse, she exclaimed, ‘Mais c’est un cathedral!’ After all the hard work put in by all the workers, that expression made us feel our work was successful.

Notre Dame du Lac parish church at Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba, 1950s