Welcome to St. Bridget Parish in Stanleyville, Ontario, a church that has ministered to the rural Roman Catholic community since it was founded in 1819.
The church is currently part of a “twinned parish” which includes Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Lanark. During the summer months services are held at St. Columbkill in McDonald’s Corners and St. Vincent de Paul in Dewitt’s Corners. The parish also includes St. Patrick in Ferguson’s Falls which does not have regularly scheduled Mass times. These are some of the oldest Catholic communities in Ontario and their graveyards contain a wealth of history about the early settlements.
Weekend Masses are held on Sunday at 11:00 AM. During the summer months a 5:00 PM Mass is held at St. Vincent de Paul. For complete details on weekend and daily services check our parish bulletin.
869 Stanley Road, Stanleyville, Ontario K7H 3C5
Lot 15, Concession 8, Stanleyville, North Burgess
Phone: (613) 259-2155
A glimpse from our past …
As early as 1816, Abbé Pierre-Jacques de la Mothe, who visited Catholics along the St. Lawrence River, heard of a route that would take him farther inland. He arrived at the fledgling Military Settlement at Perth in 1816, arriving in June or July, the first minister in the settlement. The French-speaking priest was given property, albeit very poor land, near what is now known as Adan’s Lake. He had been granted permission to say Mass in settler’s homes, something he would have started immediately. Reporting to Kingston, Reverend Father La Mothe regularly traveled up the Rideau and by 1819 often ended up in Narrow’s Locks holding services. Here, he found many Irish Catholic families who were without a church. He promised the families that he would return the next year. Settlement records record that the Abbé eventually attained 800 acres of land.
A missionary priest, during his absence, the families erected a log chapel by Black Lake, not too far from the present location of St. Bridget’s Church. Father la Mothe kept his promise and returned the next year to visit many more Catholic families. Following in Reverend Father la Mothe’s footsteps, Father Smith visited the area in 1823 and preached in the log chapel. Unfortunately, these priests stopped visiting the area and Catholics located in North Burgess had to trek to Perth in order to receive Mass.
The Catholic clergy in Perth did their best to serve the North Burgess community and would hold Mass in homes, which would see up to 50 people at each residence. Before Mass, the priests would perform confession and following Mass the sick were blessed and children were baptized. It was a pastor in Perth, Father McDonagh, who was instrumental in the building of St. Bridget’s Church. St. Bridget was the name of the chapel church in Perth prior to the building of St. John the Baptist.
On August 15, 1857, a building committee was formed and plans were drawn up for a church in Stanleyville. Members for the building committee were chosen and included Messrs. Michael Stanley, Michael Drennan, Thomas Donnelly, Henry McVeigh and Edward Byine. Local families provided the supplies needed to build the church. The timber used in the building was taken from the swamp of Red (Paddy Quinn), the Murphy Quarry provided the rock and Robert Allan donated the sand. The two acres of land upon which the church stands was donated by Michael Stanley.
The church was constructed with dimensions of 61 feet by 45 feet and a vestry of 15 feet by 20 feet. Bishop Horan of Kingston was the man who laid the corner stone on May 22, 1864, and he dedicated the church to St. Bridget. Reverend TP O’Connor was appointed the first pastor of St. Bridget’s. The first Mass was held on October 28, 1864. The Bishop urged the congregation to build a residence as soon as possible. Construction first began on the home in April and was completed that same year. At the time of its opening, St. Bridget’s Parish included all of North Burgess and half of the Catholic population in Bathurst. The church still serves Mass today.
About Stanleyville …
The former Township of North Burgess was settled by a group of Scottish and Irish immigrants and soldiers from the War of 1812-14. The first residents established homes and farms along the first stretch of cleared land, which would later become known as the Scotch Line. North Burgess was named for Rev. Thomas Burgess in 1794, an important religious leader who later became Bishop of Salisbury.
Within the former township is the historical hamlet of Stanleyville, originally called Micaville, whose first residents were Irish Catholic immigrants. It thrived on the business of the Silver Queen Mica mine, now located in Murphy’s Point Provincial Park. Before mica, lumber was an important trade and the Black Creek lumber yard was a vital part of this industry.
A thriving community, the Stanleyville School has records that date back to 1863. The original wood school burned and a new one was built in 1870. Again in 1910, the frame school burned and a new brick schoolhouse was built in 1911. For two years, 1919 to 1921, Stanleyville was a two-room schoolhouse accommodating grades nine and ten as well as the lower grades. In 1921, it reverted to a one-room schoolhouse which it remained until it closed in 1966. Children from the Donnelly, McNamee, O’Neil, Anderson, McShane, and Kerr families attended this school.