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Missions of North Central Alberta

In 1844 Oblate Fr. Bourassa began a mission at Lac Ste.-Anne. The Oblate Fathers were the Roman Catholic Mission group in central Alberta. They worked with the Grey Nuns who were also known as the Sisters of Charity. In 1861 Father Lacombe arrived and moved the centre of the mission work to St. Albert. Near the church rose a school, an orphanage, and a small hospital.

In 1869, Bishop Vital Grandin came to St. Albert. He had seven missions to look after. They were: Lac St. Anne, St. Joachim in Edmonton, St. Albert, Saint-Paul-des-Cris on the North Saskatchewan River, and Notre-Dame-des-Victoires at Lac La Biche. These centres would eventually have residential schools and a hospital.

By 1880 St. Albert was the largest community in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Two thousand people lived close to the Sturgeon River in the area. There were more French speakers than English in the area at that time.

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