by Sarah F.
St. Peters Colony is located in southeast Saskatchewan. It was founded by a small group of German Catholic settlers from Russia who decided they needed a new beginning. They immigrated to the area in the late 1800s and began their journey building their colony.
All of these settlers were quite religious, and many of their descendants are as well. Religion guided all aspects of their everyday lives including education, marriage, and other activities. They also farmed which is how they fed and supported the community. If they needed things they couldn’t produce themselves, they traded with others outside the community, but language barriers could make communication challenging.
This church was built in 1903. It was one of the first churches St. Peters Colony inhabitants built to practice their religion. Churches were also used as spaces to educate the colony’s children before schools were built. Their education was religiously-based.
The grotto is a sacred area is where many Church services were conducted in the summer and in times before the Colony was more developed. The settlers found this beautiful hillside covered in rocks and made it into a place for prayer. It is an important pilgrimage site for the community.
The Grotto is just as important to the colony as their church. It had the same value for them because it is another space where they were free to practice their religion.
If there was something to celebrate, the community often used the grotto. Being outside offered those present more room to gather. After a wedding in the Church, for example, those in attendance would continue the celebration at the Pilgrimage.