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Published November 15, 2013, 09:25 PM

St. Benedicts Catholic Church celebrating 100 years

Horace, ND (WDAY TV) - French-Canadian settlers who arrived here in the valley back in the 1800's; you know them as Cossettes, Richards, Savageaus… They all settled in the Wild Rice area and found a home at St. Benedicts Catholic Church, which is in the middle of celebrating its centennial year.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Horace, ND (WDAY TV) - French-Canadian settlers who arrived here in the valley back in the 1800's; you know them as Cossettes, Richards, Savageaus… They all settled in the Wild Rice area and found a home at St. Benedicts Catholic Church, which is in the middle of celebrating its centennial year.

They are the little spires on the prairie. St. Benedicts Catholic Church in rural Horace, where back in 1870, French-Canadians came down to our valley from Quebec.

At first, those families worshiped in makeshift church; not long after they built a bigger place, which burned. This one has been around 100 years. Leone Richard's ties go back decades.

Leone Richard- Member of St. Benedict: “This is home. Our family has six generations that kept on coming to this church

The saying goes here: Don't say bad about anyone at St. Benedicts. They are all related to each other.

Leone Richard: “Everybody knew everyone: Weddings, everyone came; funerals, everyone came.”

The inside of St. Benedicts boasts a cozy Catholic interior. Ornate stained glass windows that will soon get a facelift; ornate sanctuary that has been around for decades.

Sharon Richard- Member of St. Benedict: “It is like my second home. I don't know. If something were to happen, you have this family for support.”

And how about this for preserving history? A few years ago, the church was involved in a remodeling project when they discovered a skull in the wall. It was from a priest who was murdered during an uprising.

The St. Joseph's school housed all the families that settled here. For years, the Montplaisirs, Cossettes, Richards, Rheaults, Savageaus and more would graduate from here. And the joke is that in Horace, in the late 1800's, Norwegian stores on one side of Highway 17... Norwegian on the other.

And there is a reason the diocese backed down two years ago when it threatened to shut down St. Benedicts. The French blood runs thick and deep here, and so does loyalty. The diocese did not stand a chance here. And one of ND's oldest churches boats 225 families today, and is planned to be around for another century.

The next big event for the church will be next summer, when thousands will return for a reunion of those who attended St. Joseph school.

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