History of Our Lady of the Scapular

Our Lady of the Scapular Catholic Church, a.k.a St. Mary's, established the first church in this area. It was organized in 1878 or 1879 at the Jenksville settlement by Father Stephan. Father Stephan generally made his journeys from Moorhead, MN on foot (approximately 50 miles).

In 1882 the first Mass was offered in the village of Sheldon at Fowler Hall (later Severson Blacksmith Shop) by Fr. R.M. Tierney from Lisbon. Our Lady of the Scapular enjoyed steady growth and consequently was made a station church in 1882, incorporated as a mission in 1884 and received parish status with a resident pastor from 1904 to 1963.

In 1884 a city block was purchased for $1,200.00 as a site for a church building. Our Lady of the Scapular was constructed that year for $1,000.00 under the supervision of Fr. Tierney. No furnishings of any kind had yet been done inside the church when the first Mass was celebrated on February 27, 1885. An addition was added on and other improvements were made to the church building in 1897-8, at a cost of $1,500.00. The seating capacity of the church was increased to 180. The church was again renovated in 1905. The original structure was used to form a sanctuary and part of the main building. A new front, with twin towers, was added at a cost of $4,000.00.

In 1933 more improvements were made to the church including the addition of a bell (a gift from Fr. James Reilly of Fargo). Under the direction of Fr. Louis Veit, the church was raised up and a basement-hall facility became a reality. The front entrance and narthex were completed in the early 1970's. In 2007 Our Lady of the Scapular consisted of 49 families.

The church has been served by Fathers: Stephan; Tierney; Guay; F.M. Cahill; Barette, Smith; Godfrey; O'Keefe; J.B. McDonald; McPhee; Alex McDonald; Assenault; Hart; M.J.A. McGrath; Fletcher; Tho Cahill; Hallinan; Mulvaney; Reddin; Berne; Veit; Ferry; D.J. Boyle; Lang; Aleksonis; Grady; A.A.A. Schmirler; Huebsch; Sherman; Leo Gourche, OSB; John Anderson; Ben Bachmeier; Paul Duchschere; Raymond Courtright; James McKinney; John Fallon; (Monsignor) Daniel Pilon; John Aerts; and the current pastor Father Chris Markman.

A History of Our Lady of the Scapular compiled for the Centennial - 1983