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 The History of our Parish Communities

St. Michael's began as a Mission built by Fr. Aloysius Hermanutz, OSB, parishioners and a few carpenters from St. John's Abbey.  The mission was located a 1 1/4 miles from the present town site of Mahnomen.  When the White Earth Reservation lands were opened for possible sale, many Catholics of German descent moved to this area from Stearns County, MN.  Because of the rapid growth of the village of Mahnomen, the mission was moved to town and placed on the present site of St. Michael's School.  Fr. Julius Locnikar, OSB, was appointed the first resident pastor on July 24, 1908.  A rectory was built south of the church which is now the home of the Benedictine sisters.  In 1925, Fr. Charles Cannon, OSB, arranged for the building of a basement church.  The old church was converted to a four room school, in 1930.  In 1937 the school burned and our present school was built that same year.  In June of 1951, the church was completed and in July our current St. Michael's was dedicated by the Reverend Francis J. Schenk, Bishop of Crookston.  Benedictine priests from St. John's Collegeville served as pastors until 1971.  Then diocesan priests began serving as pastors.  Currently there are over 340 households attending St. Michael's.

St. Joseph's is located 3 3/4 miles south of Beaulieu, MN, which was a Trading Post.  94.4 acres of land was donated in 1874 to establish a parish cemetery.  Mass was being said in a house located there.  In 1895 St. Joseph's Church was built, being named after a favorite Saint of the Chippewa Indians.  In 1900, the first resident Pastor moved in.  Census showed 90 families along with about 500 parishioners.  In 1906, the Clapp Act passed which granted mixed blood Indians the privilege of selling their land allotments.  This led to an increase of the number of European descendants to settle here as farmers.  Over the years, many hardships were encountered.  One of them being the numerous unsuccessful attempts to establish a water well on this property.  In 1922, parish census recorded 38 white families with 376 members and 36 Indian families totaling 232 members.  By 1933, 2 Masses were being celebrated to handle those attending.  Finally in 1935, at a depth of 306 feet, a water well was established.  This brought on the installation of a bathroom.  Over the years, additions and remodeling projects took place on this property.  In 1966, the Parish obtained land title to the original donated 94.4 acres.  In 1972 the first Parish Council was established.  Then in 1982, Fr. Eugene Wesely from St. Michael's Church of Mahnomen, was also assigned to St. Joseph's Church of Beaulieu, thus forming our Parish Community.  St. Joseph's endured throughout the years due to many parishioners who have donated their time and labor toward the upkeep of the church.  Currently serving 95 families.      

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