The Islands: Wolfe Island: Churches: Sacred Heart

Church of the Sacred Heart
of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Sacred Heart built 1917

Sacred Heart is a Roman Catholic Church.

In the first part of the 19th century islanders had to travel to Kingston to take part in serves, marry and have children baptized.

In 1825 there were only fourteen settlers, two of whom were Catholics.
One of the first Catholic settlers was Doctor McRae who came from Glengarry. It was his wife who donated land for the church.

Later on services were conducted by visiting ministers
from Cape Vincent and Kingston.
The first Catholic services were held in the houses of John MacDonald and Mrs. McRae.
Later they were held in the house of Mr. Hitchcock because there were no other homes large enough to hold everyone. Interestingly enough Mr. Hitchcock was a protestant.

Later services were held in S.S.#4 by Rev. Farrell once or twice a month.

People came a long way by horse, foot and boat to attend services.

Click on photo to enlarge
Sacred Heart built 1917
Taken Summer 2000

1839 Religious denominations:
(From County of 1000 Lakes)

Ch of England- 16 families
Ch of Scotland-6 families
Ch of Rome-44 families
Episcopal-15 families
Presbyterian-2 families
Universalists-17 families
Apostolic-1 family
Deists-5 families
Nothing-30 families

1842 Religion denominations:
(From County of 1000 Lakes)

Ch of England-239 people
Ch of Scotland-173 people
Church of Rome-406 people
British Wesleyan Meth-48 people
Can Wesleyan Meth-15 people
Episcopal Wesleyan Meth-90 people
Other Methodists-22 people
Baptists-2 people
Lutherans-7 people
Quakers-7 people
Dutch Reform Ch-8 people
Other-57 people

Click on photo for larger version
Sacred Heart built 1917

In 1852 the Parish of Wolfe Island was formed as part of the Diocese of Kingston.
In 1852 Rev. Farrell guided the building of the first Roman Catholic Church. It was dedicated "Church of the Sacred heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary".
It was built of stone and served as both church and home for the priest. It cost two thousand dollars to build.

The land was donated by Mrs. McRae and the old cemetery is on part of this property.

From Wolfe Island Sketches by Jean Richardson:
“In 1852 the first Roman Catholic Church was built at a cost of $20 000 on land given for this purpose by Mrs. McCrae. The present church was built in 1872”
The mission was established in 1854 by Rev Bishop Phelan.
Previously it was part of Parish of Kingston.
The first pastor was Rev. John Foley.

During Rev. John Foley's pastorate (1854-1861) a residence near the church was purchased for the priest. The residence and four acres were purchased from Mr. Fuller of Cape Vincent, NY. It was used until destroyed by fire about 1863. Shortly after this another house was purchased by Rev. Michael Stafford.

Sacred Heart built 1917
Taken Summer 2000

In 1869 Father Murray succeeded Father Stafford.
Due to the growing Catholic population he took up a subscription for a larger and more beautiful church.
In 1871 Rev. Edward Murray bought eight acres from Hiram Hitchcock for 1000 dollars and began the building of a new church. The cornerstone was laid by Rev. Horan, Bishop of Kingston on June 20 1872. It was completed by Christmas of 1872.

Click on photo to enlarge
The Rectory built 1901

In 1901 Father Spratt built the rectory that is still there today.
He had plans drawn up for the present edifice, but passed away June 15 1915 before they could be carried out.

Click on photo to enlarge
Photo taken 1981 by Chris

In September Father Fleming proceeded with the building of
the new church at a cost of $80.000.
In 1917 the new Sacred Heart church was completed.
The mortgage was retired in 1946.
Monsignor Ryan became his term in 1948.
Interior renovations were carried out in 1968.

Click on photo to enlarge
Interior of Sacred Heart

In 1973 there were 136 families in the parish.
Msg James Ryan served this new church for many years.
He was born and raised on the island.

Sacred Heart Church has two cemeteries,
old (Concession VI, Lot 4) and new(Concession VII, Lot 3).


Clergy of Sacred Heart


The Catholic Mutual Benefit Association Hall (C.M.B.A.) was built during Father Spratts pastorate. It served the publics need for an area to hold dances, plays and other social activities. However in 1952 its usefulness declined with the building of the new separate school.

Church Links

NEW 1922 Sacred Heart List of Contributors to Special Collection-front and back of brochure
NEW 1922 Sacred Heart List of Contributors to Special Collection-inside (names) of brochure

Clergy of Sacred Heart
Cemetery Online
-All Sacred Heart tombstones transcripts up to 1976 are online (offsite).
-Also see pages for online tombstone photos for new and old cem

Roman Catholic Baptisms
All Sacred Heart Baptisms 1833-1910 from the register
Also baptisms from St. Mary's Kingston of Wolfe Islanders.

Roman Catholic Marriages
All Sacred Heart Marriages 1824-1954. Includes early marriages from St. Mary's in Kingston. (Scroll down to Church Register section)

Roman Catholic Internments
All Sacred Heart Internments 1841-1920.

St. Mary's Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, Kingston
Served island until Sacred Heart was built. Also has later records for some island families.


-County of 1000 Lakes, Chapter 14: Island Communities.
-Wolfe Island Sketches by Jean Richardson
-Wolfe Island Past & Present,Cosgrove, W.M., 1973: Religion Chapter
-Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Cemetery Transcriptions by Fern Small
and Ken Collins 1976

The Islands: Wolfe Island: Churches: Sacred Heart

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