Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sacred Heart

Sacred Heart was the first catholic community in Oklahoma. Father Felix was the first priest to celebrate mass at Sacred Heart, May 13, 1877. The service was held outside.

The town or monastery began to grow, and by the end of the year a two-story building, a school, and a farm had been built. The school started out for Indian boys. The first nuns, five sisters, arrived in 1880. They begun the school for girls, St. Mary’s Academy and Convent.

By 1884 the community had its own carpenter shop and tool house, blacksmith shop and stables, and bakery. The farm offered many animals as well as gardens, orchards, and vineyards.

Sacred Heart was a government contract school. St. Benedict’s Industrial School, for Indians, housing both boys and girls until the late 1890s. It also included college studies. The college taught classes in the finer arts of painting and music as well as a chemical lab. Basic classes of English, math, and business were also required teaching.

Then devastation struck the community and it never fully recovered. The fatal night was January 15, 1901. Fire broke out in the dinning room of the boys school. It quickly spread out of control. Within hours most of the building were gone, the boy’s and girl’s schools, as well as the college, the monastery and convent, even the church. Temporary wooden building were put into place for both schools.

Today a two-story building and the bakery are the only remains to remind us of this once great school, and the priests cemetery and the nuns cemetery are still keep up and clean. The church was rebuilt east of the community with a small cemetery.