The Ste. Luce Catholic Church is one of the oldest churches in the St. John Valley region and in the state of Maine. Many parishes were born from the Ste. Luce parish, including two in New Brunswick, Canada -- St. François Xavier in St. François de Madawaska in 1859 and Ste. Hilaire, across the river from the western edge of the Frenchville town line, was detached in 1869. Several parishes on the Maine side of the St John River were spun off from the Ste Luce parish -- St. Louis in Fort Kent in 1870, St. David in 1871 and St. Thomas d'Aquin in Madawaska in 1929 (detached from St. David), St. Mary in Eagle Lake in 1892 (detached from St. Joseph in Wallagrass), St. Gerard in Grand Isle in 1930 (detached from St. David), Notre Dame in Lille, St. Joseph in Sinclair in 1936 (detached from St. Agathe), St. John in St. John Plantation in 1930, Ste. Agathe in 1889, and St. Joseph in Wallagrass in 1890.
In the summer of 2006, Ste Luce ceased to exist as a separate parish. Ste Luce, Ste Agathe, and St Joseph in Sinclair were merged into a new parish, Our Lady of the Valley.
See the Upper St John Valley web site for information on the St. François Xavier parish.
According to Father David R. Raymond in Sainte Luce 1843 - 1993 on page 10
"In 1875, Father Hubert of St. Bruno retired, giving Father Swéron the responsibility of all parishes and missions east and south of Ste. Luce as far as Presque Isle. This situation lasted until December 7, 1876, when St. Bruno received another resident pastor."
See the Upper St. John River Valley page on the Ste Luce Parish Registers for an excellent writeup on the early years of the Ste. Luce parish, which provides access to searching the database of baptisms performed by Fr. Henri Dionne between 1843 and 1860. See also my page on the pastors for the first 100 years at Ste. Luce.
Built in 1843-1844, by its first pastor Father Henri Dionne, the Ste. Luce Church, shown above on the right, burned in May 1889 after its steeple was struck by lightening. An excellent write-up on Father Dionne is also available on the Upper St. John River Valley web site. The picture of Ste. Luce's first church is from A History of Chautauqua, Dionne Plantation, Dickeyville, Frenchville compiled by Hal and Emma (Martin) Underhill and published by the Frenchville Historical Society in 1994.
Father Charles Swéron rebuilt the Ste. Luce church about the same time as Ste Agathe was splitting off from the Ste. Luce parish. The second church was also destroyed by fire in 1905 when the convent fire lept to the church.
The third and current church, while also built of wood in 1907-1908, received a face-lift in the 1950s when Father Charles Rivard added a faux finish. With its new exterior, it appears as if the church is built of stone as shown in the picture on the right which also includes a view of the cemetery.
You can view the cemetery plot map pages, search for you ancestors buried in the Ste. Luce cemetery using the existing headstones database, or view an alphabetic listing of the current headstones on this web site.
In the winter and spring of 1993, Father Angelo Levasseur undertook a major renovation of the interior of the Ste. Luce church as part of the parish sesquicentennial celebration. The tri-color beige tones were chosen to resemble the colors of the original church. However, for as long as I can remember growing up in the parish, the ceiling was painted blue. David Raymond in his history of the parish, Sainte Luce 1843 - 1993, indicates the ceiling was painted blue in 1952. The existing altar was made by Father Zenon Charette while he was pastor of Ste. Luce when the priest began celebrating mass facing the parish faithful after the 2nd Vatican Council.
A History of Chautauqua, Dionne Plantation, Dickeyville, Frenchville compiled by Hal and Emma (Martin) Underhill, published by the Frenchville Historical Society, 1994
Liver D'or de la Paroisse Ste. Luce, by Fr. Phillippe Dube, 1954 (as cited by Raymond)
Sainte Luce 1843 - 1993, A History of the Sainte Luce Parish, Upper Frenchville - Frenchville, Maine, 1843-1993, by Father David R. Raymond, 1993
Souvenir Centenaire de la Fondation de la Paroise Sainte Luce 1843 - 1943 Frenchville (en haut), Maine
Parishes - Date of Foundation - Diocese of Edmundston
Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland
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