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Lifetime parishioner documents church history

by Marie Male

FERGUS - Out with the old and in with the new?

Not quite. The old church on the hill stands empty and silent in the wake of its glorious replacement, but it will not be  forgotten. Parishioner Rose McCulligh has ensured that.

With the new St. Joseph’s Church in Fergus dedicated recently, a book is available to soften the blow for the old. It is a scrapbook of the original sort, copied and pasted.

Someone cared enough to keep ancient newspaper clippings, photos, legal documents, letters and notes of great historical and personal interest to parishioners and public alike.

Rose McCulligh was baptized in the church and has been a constant presence there for over 80 years. Her parents John and Mary Shortreed were married at the Catholic church and that story, along with many others contributed by other lifetime parishioners, make up Memories: St. Joseph’s Parish, 1854. Many of the pages document their lives and livelihoods, intertwined with St. Joseph’s history.

Snippets include a photo of the church interior around 1893, newspaper clippings about the arrival of the Virgin Mary statue in 1948, World War II images, photos of the parish priests starting in 1913 (Neil Sullivan) and  even the pew “seating plan” from the 1930s complete with names and pew etiquette.

For a copy of the book, which sells for $25, see her at the church or call 519-843-3365.


September 16, 2011


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