My first post about Ste. Elizabeth was not a very sympathetic one. It was one that was kind of filled with fear and ignorance, really. The empty decrepit houses freaked me out. But then, I returned to Ste. Elizabeth this past summer with my friend Jodi. This time, we ventured into the church, and that’s how I discovered that someone is still caring for this site. In fact, many people care for this site, and keep it up carefully. The church stands now as a sort of museum. It is a home for memories of what was once a thriving, close community.
I had no idea about this when I first ventured forth to Ste. Elizabeth in 2019. But now that I was inside the church, the work of caring people was evident.
That’s my coffee cup. I took it back out with me.
There is even a Ste. Elizabeth Historical Committee!
Looking at these photos of past Ste. Elizabethians made me kind of sad.
They even have photos up that demonstrate life in the village… back when people lived here.
It kind of feels strange to see these pictures while standing in an empty church, in an empty village.
But I get the sense that it must be the descendents of these folks who still return and care for the church and cemetery site today.
According to the pictures, there was even a credit union and a cheese factory here in Ste. Elizabeth.
Photos where people’s names have been carefully identified makes something twinge in my heart.
And there are photos of how the great flood of 1950 affected the village, too.
The interior of the church has been restored.
There were photos of the restoration work. How they painted the ceiling, I cannot imagine.
Because I was with Jodi and she knows all about watersheds, we walked down the road a bit to see this feature.
With the right person, in the right light, this place isn’t so scary. Rather, it’s beautiful.
Later, something else I realized about Ste. Elizabeth — two Mennonite connections. First, LOOK AT THIS!
Okay I don’t know if you can read that, but this is the introduction from the Mennonite Treasury Cookbook. The ladies from Niverville, Arnaud, Ste. Elizabeth, and Grunthal were thanked for helping make this book possible. The ladies of Ste. Elizabeth helped make the Mennonite Treasury possible?!
Sure enough. Once I start really reading it, I see that many of the contributors resided in Ste. Elizabeth!
Okay, well that church is not Mennonite though, so I’m confused.
But then I remember another interesting link — the Lichtenau church at the Mennonite Heritage Village was from Ste. Elizabeth! The church was built by the Mennonites of the 1920’s immigration… though Lichtenau was two miles south of Ste. Elizabeth.
It’s interesting that the Mennonites of Lichtenau said they were from Ste. Elizabeth. I think perhaps this is a testament to the size of the community of Ste. Elizabeth in those days, it was probably a service centre to Lichtenau, in addition to being their closest neighbour.
Still so much to learn!