Women in Place Names: Lac Ste. Anne
Originally known by the Aboriginal community as Manito
Sakahigan or "Lake of the Spirit,"
Lac Ste. Anne
received its current designation in 1844 from Oblate Jean-Baptiste Thibault,
who named the lake for his patron Ste. Anne de
Beaupré, the mother of Mary.
Thibault chose Lac Ste. Anne for a mission site because of the
surrounding population of Métis and French-speaking, Roman Catholic
settlers. As well, located approximately 75 kilometres northwest of
present-day Edmonton, the new mission was a substantial distance from the
nearest Hudson's Bay Company post, which gave it a degree of independence
that was supported by fish and game resources and soil considered suitable for agriculture.
In1852 Albert Lacombe
replaced an ailing Thibault at Lac Ste. Anne and quickly devoted his energy to organizing a farming
venture for the nearby Métis. Lots were measured out and the necessary
tools and supplies were brought in. Despite these efforts, however,
the endeavour failed-there were early frosts, the soil was disappointing,
and extensive forests had to be cleared. Moreover, farming was not the traditional occupation
of the Métis, and they were little inclined to adopt a new lifestyle.
Lacombe, nevertheless, diligently continued his work at Lac Ste. Anne
and, as the years passed, was joined by additional Oblate missionaries,
including Father Réne Rémas, which allowed him to increasingly travel to the
outlying regions and widen his ministry. As well, in 1859 three Grey
Nuns-Sister Emery, Sister Adèle Lamy and Sister Alphonse-and a female Métis
interpreter joined the Oblate fathers to support and broaden the
Roots: Francophone Oblate Missionaries