If you’ve followed along since the beginning of the #mnbucketlist, you already know I have a deep appreciation for cemeteries. They hold an enormous amount of history and personal stories you can’t find anywhere else. Scott County has seven cemeteries in Belle Plaine; Mount Mariah (which I posted about a while back), Oakwood, St Peter and Paul, Transfiguration, Lutheran Home Cemetery, Union Hill and this one, Sacred Heart Cemetery. Part of the “Our Lady of the Prairie” Catholic parish.
Belle Plaine was founded in 1854 and in 1856 the first Catholic settlers, mostly Irish, began migrating to Belle Plaine. In 1860, the Belle Plaine Catholic Community decided to build a church. This church was located in block 145 (Sacred Heart Church site) and was named St. Martin. Later, St. Martin’s Catholic Church would become Sacred Heart Catholic Church. At this time, there were roughly 100 Catholic families living in Belle Plaine, mainly of Irish and German descent.
In 1868, the 40 families of German descent decided to split from the existing predominately Irish Catholic church and build their own church, one that would be spoken in their native language. A new church located just south of the present church was built in 1871; the new church was dedicated on December 8, 1871, and was named for the Princes of the Apostles, Sts. Peter and Paul.
In 1972, the Archbishop Coadjutor of St. Paul and Minneapolis Archdiocese, Reverend Leo C. Byrne ordered Sacred Heart and St. Peter and Paul parishes to consolidate due to a shortage of priests. It was decided that St. Peter and Paul Church would remain, as it had a rectory, grade school, and convent, and the Sacred Heart parish house was to be the home of presiding priest.
In 1988, the decision to dispose of the Sacred Heart church was made, and in March of 1989, the Church was torn down.
While the church is no longer there, the cemetery is a broodingly, beautiful reminder of those parishioners of yesteryear.