Our Lady Peace – First Church in Southern Alberta
A monument marking the site of the first church in southern Alberta is located four kilometres north and west of the junction of Hwy. 8 & 22, a few kilometres northeast of Bragg Creek. Down a remote dirt road off Hwy 22 on the north side of the Elbow River, lies the mission church of Our Lady of Peace. There used to be a sign announcing the monument on Hwy 22, but it disappeared around the time they built the Volker-Stevin garage
Map locating the Our Lady of Peace cairn 11 kilometres northeast of Bragg Creek
A one minute video of the cairn.
On the site of the first church in Southern Alberta, this tablet commemorates the missionary labours of Father Constantine Scollen, O.M.I., born in Ireland in 1841 who established the Mission of Our Lady of Peace in the country of the Blackfeet in 1873, and of Father Leon Doucet, O.M.I., born in France in 1847 who joined Father Scollen at this spot in 1875, and spent a lifetime as “Missionaire aux Pieds-Noirs”
This cairn marks the location of the first church in Southern Alberta. It was built in 1872. The cairn was repaired and restored in 2019.
The cairn is in a field at the end of a dirt road where it is protected by a steel fence.
You can see Moose Mountain on the horizon to the left of the fence.
The original cairn was vandalized and the brass plaque was stolen. A new engraved stone plaque was installed in 2019. The cairn was refinished and restored at the same time.
Our Lady of Peace
In 1872 lay helper Alexis Cardinal built a crude log cabin surmounted by a cross on this site. Thus began the Mission of Our Lady of Peace in the country of the Blackfeet, the first church in southern Alberta. Father Constantine Scollen, OMI, took up residence here in 1873. A zealous servant of God, he ministered to the dwellers of the plains during the hard times that saw the passing of their old way of life. His name is affixed to Treaty No. 7, signed by the Blackfoot Confederacy in 1877.
Our Lady of Peace was moved to the junction of the Bow and Elbow Rivers when the North West Mounted Police built Fort Calgary there in 1875. This old mission was used infrequently until 1882 when it was abandoned.
Our Lady of Peace Mission was designated a registered historic site on 26 March 1976, by the Hon. Horst A. Schmid, Minister of Culture, commemorating the courage and determination shown by Alberta’s missionaries in the early days of this province. Erected by the Province of Alberta
Our Lady Peace
There is a poem by Mark Van Doren with this title. You can read it here:
There is also a rock group who took their name from Mr. Van Doren’s poem.
Our Lady Queen of Peace Ranch
It used to be called No Ka Oi, but they changed the name somewhere around the year 2002. The Our Lady Queen of Peace Ranch is a recreational facility designed to provide a free outdoor experience for children with life challenges. Horse and wagon rides are featured activities. The ranch is located on the northern end of Bragg Creek in behind the Wintergreen Golf Club.
Visit their web site here: http://www.ourladyqueenofpeaceranch.com