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,
In 1884, a frame church was erected on Bible Hill in the northwest part of Shell Lake. It was destroyed by fire in 1894. A new church was built in 1895 and continued to serve Catholics until the present church was completed in 1981. In 1897, during the pastorate of Fr. Stephen Leinfelder, a small building was erected behind the brick church. It served as the visiting priest's residence, as well as a winter chapel and catechism classroom. Around 1900, St. Joseph, consisting of 90 families, was made a mission of Cumberland. From 1902, when Fr. Apollonius Hopdegard was named the first resident pastor, until 1914, St. Francis de Sales Parish in Spooner served as a mission of Shell Lake. After Fr. Dean Buttrick's arrival as pastor in July 1976, the parish began plans for building a new church. On July 19, 1981, Bishop Raphael M. Fliss dedicated the new church and hall. Under the direction of Fr. Andrew Ricci, St. Joseph became clustered with St. Catherine of Alexandria in Sarona and St. Francis de Sales in Spooner. Fr. Ed Anderson serves as pastor today.
REFERENCE: Our Journey through Faith: A History of the Diocese of Superior,
by Sam Lucero, 2005.