Rose Creek church is about family

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 27, 2002

For 111 years, there has been a Catholic Church in Rose Creek. The idea to build a Catholic Church in Rose Creek began when Nic Cress Sr., John Cronan, Peter Haffner, Ferdinand Hartman and Joseph Reinartz solicited prospective members for funds in April 1889. They were given donations of $15 to $110. Peter Haffner accumulated the most pledges and thus was given the honor of choosing the name for the church, St. Peter.

The first St. Peter's church was built in 1891 on land donated by Cronan. The Kurtz family donated the land for St Peter's Catholic Cemetery. A Catholic School was built in 1920. Living quarters for nuns, who were the teachers, was above the school.

Myles Bendtsen, a former trustee for St. Peter's for 20 years said, "The living quarters for the nuns was stuffy and hot in the warm months. In 1961 a new convent was built and six sisters moved in."

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Change has happened quickly in the last 40 years for St. Peter's parish. The Catholic school no longer exists in Rose Creek and where it formerly stood is a parking lot for the church. The convent was sold and now a private family lives in the residence. But one thing that has not changed is the dedication and reverence of the parishioners.

There are 160 active families that make up the parish. This small parish is fortunate in that they have a resident pastor, Father Rubin Spinler. Father Spinler keeps the grounds trimmed and moves snow in the wintertime. He says Mass Monday through Friday at 8 a.m. Saturday evenings there is Mass at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m.

According to Bendtsen, the parish has an annual fall collection where parishioners are asked to give a substantial donation to keep the parish going. Religious education for the younger parishioners is shared with the whole Southland school district. When parishioners of St. Peter become confirmed they do this with parishioners of Sacred Heart parish in Adams.

St. Peter's has had a number of parishioners enter into religious vocations. Five parishioners have become priests and two have become brothers. Nine parishioners have become nuns. Several of the original families that helped build this parish have descendants that still attend St. Peter's. Three families that have been here since the beginning are the Finks, Cress, and Cronans.

The roots of St. Peter run deep. Myles and Mary Bendtsen live next door to the rectory of St. Peter's. They raised 10 children and all were baptized at St. Peter's. The parish means a lot to this family. Myles, a wood worker made a model of the first church for their 100-year anniversary and it is now on display at the Mower County Historical Society.

Sheila Donnelly can be reached at 434-2233 or by e-mail at