St. Francis Solanus Indian Mission has an historical background. It is one of the earliest Ojibwa (Chippewa) Indian Settlements in Wisconsin. A French-Canadian fur trader, John Baptiste Corbine, in 1796, settled in the Stone Lake region and started a trading post. He is the one that introduced Catholicism to the Lac Courte Orielles. Consequently, Catholicism grew, and because of that, there was a need for a local church. As a result of this, the United States government gave Lac Courte Oreilles a 10-acre tract to build a church and school. It was first a small log church and school, which was named for Franciscan missionary St. Francis Solanus. But, in 1921, lightening struck and it was rebuilt with pipestone from a local quarry.
My parents always took us to this parish/school. They went because they purchased the homemade breads the nuns made and the proceeds went for a good cause - school/parish. Even though I am not a Catholic, I later as an adult went there for Mass. It is one of the prettiest parishes I have ever seen. Its outside exterior is build from pipestone. And the inside of it has decorative items in it. For instance, there is one stained-glass window that has a Native-American mother and daughter in it. And when I was there last, there was an original Native-American tee-pee that was used as the altar. Along with this, the children made Native American souvenirs to sell to the public. I purchased several homemade drums. The children used coffee cans, rubber, and string and Native-American decorations to make these. These items were gorgeous.
Besides the school and the parish being there, there is a cemetery, too. But some of the people buried had lived sad lives and died prematurely. According to the nuns, many of the young Indian girls buried there had died in childbirth. These girls were like 12 and 14 years of age.
St. Francis Solanus Parish is located at 13891 W. Mission Rd., Stone Lake, Wisconsin 54876. Its phone number is 715/865-3669. Gregory Hopefl conducts the Mass held on Saturday at 4:30pm and Sunday at 10am.