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The native people of this area were first evangelized by Jesuit Missionaries from France. Their leader, Fr. St. Jean de Brebeuf, along with seven other missionaries and many native people were martyred. "The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians."

As German speaking settlers moved into this area in the mid-1800s, their spiritual needs were cared for by Rev Caspar Matoga, SJ. As the numbers of families grew, regular Masses were celebrated at Sacred Heart in Mildmay in 1877.

The first church in "the Catholic town" of Mildmay was build in 1877, the first resident pastor was Rev. Fr. Michael Halm. The cornerstone of the present church was laid under the guidance of Rev. Rudolph Lehman on July 23, 1912. The church was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on November 23, 1913. Many vocations to the priesthood, sisterhood, and brotherhood where nourished by these  early pastors and sisters.

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Settlement began in Walkerton about 1849 when the opening of the Durham Road afforded easier access to the district. In the 1850's traveling Jesuit missionaries made periodic visits to the settlers and celebrated Mass in their log homes.

In 1870 Walkerton was constituted as a mission of Formosa.


Noting the potential progressive development, Walkerton was constituted as a parish in 1872 with Rev. John Keough as pastor. Two years later in 1874 the church was build. The following parishioners figured prominently: George Giesler, Patrick Godfrey, Michael McNamara, a jeweller and manager of the telegraph office, and later customs officer, John Lambertus, Joseph Reichenbach, Alexander Hass building contractor of the church, Conrad Schnurr, Joseph Schnurr, Patrick Heffernan, a town councillor and constable, Ignatius Weiler, Louis Fisher, a butcher, Anthony O'Bright, shoemaker, Albert Batte, Ernest Schroeder, Charles Fox a jeweller , Andrew Cuneo, barber and builder of the present Cuneo block, Ferdinand Correll a brick-layer, Joseph Cosgrove, insurance agent, and Dr. Weishar.


Some of the ladies of the parish included: Mrs. Bridget Burns, Mary and Bessie McMahon, Angeline and Marie Denny, Mrs. Gilfuse, a widow, the Misses Garrow, three maiden sisters and Mary Georgen, organist and choir leader.

The first choir was composed of Mr. Georgen Sr., Matthew Georgen, the Misses Georgen, John Smith Jr., the Misses Wisser, and John Nauer.


There are many vocations that came from Sacred Heart Parish in Walkerton and surrounding areas. Vocations to the priesthood and religious life. 16 priests, 14 sisters and 1 brother.  

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