The history of the Diocese of Superior dates back to the 17th century. Our Journey Through Faith offers a glimpse into the historic events that played a role in the growth of Catholicism in Northern Wisconsin.
Our Journey through Faith: A History of the Diocese of Superior,
The first Catholic church in Bayfield, Christ Church, was built in 1860. In October 1878, the Franciscans came to Bayfield, accpeting the care of Native American missions from theentire region. Comprised of 120 families, the parish at the time offered Masses in both English and Ojibway. While one priest remained in Bayfield, the other friars helped care for 45 Native American vilalges and 6 immigrant settlements. These mission trips, often conducted onsnowshoes, by horseback, or dogsled, usually lasted more than eight weeks and covered more than 600miles.
In 1879, at the request of Franciscan Fr. Casimir Vogt, pastor, the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate in Joliet, Illinois, accepted Bayfield as a site of one of their missions. They bought land and built a convent, day school and eventually a boarding school Holy Famly School closed in 1999.
Construction of the present church began in 1898 and was compelted in 1900. Given thenew name, Holy Family Church, it was formallyd edicated on July 4, 1900, by Bishop James Schwebach of La Crosse. Today the church boasts a membership of 280 Catholics.
REFERENCE: Our Journey through Faith: A History of the Diocese of Superior,
by Sam Lucero, 2005.