16 Edouard Beaupré Street
Willow Bunch, SK S0H 4K0
ST. IGNACE PRIESTS CEMETERY
(#6 Avenue “C”, Willow Bunch, SK)
(1924/1959 – 2018)
Oh what a tangled web we weave in the process of time! As it turns out, this burial site was in use as such for many years prior to its being officially registered as a cemetery in the province of Saskatchewan. In fact, several parish priests who’s remains were later transferred to this second site, were first laid to rest in an equally unregistered area encircling a statue of the Sacred Heart (guarded by four angels each holding a torch light in an upheld hand), which was located on church grounds in front of the old Catholic church. These priests were: Rev. Rock Girouard (1924), Rev. Alphonse Lemieux (1925), and Msgr Henri Kugener, P.D. (1949).
When construction of a new church was completed in 1958/59, the old church slated for demolition and the area scheduled for division into residential lots, it was necessary to move the Sacred Heart statue and its surrounding angels, as well as the remains of the three priests interred there, to a new site. Therefore, in 1959, the Sacred Heart statue and angels were moved to a beautiful garden enclosure just south of the new Catholic rectory, and the remains of the three priests were moved to a site directly in front of the new Catholic church, which is partly encircled by the front entrance steps. A fourth parish priest, Rev. Albert Latendresse, was to join them in burial at this site upon his death in 1962.
After this, many years passed before anyone else considered being buried in front of the church. However, in June of 1996 Rev. Roger Ducharme, though semi retired, agreed to be assigned as parish priest in Willow Bunch. As he was from the area (St. Victor), he showed great interest in being buried with the other priests in front of the church upon his death. Lo and behold, in the process of making up his will with instructions for his burial, no official record could be found of the site as it had never been registered as a cemetery in the Province. Needless to say, it was forthwith registered with the Provincial Government, on June 26, 2006, as “St. Ignace Priests Cemetery”, and so it is unto this day. Upon his death in 2010 Rev. Roger Ducharme, as per his request, was interred in this cemetery.
Though this cemetery only has a complement of six sites, and already five priests rest here, it can still accommodate the interment of several more priests. Reason being, when the remains of the first three priests were transferred here, due to deterioration of their remains, all were placed in one plot. Therefore, at least in theory, there are still three available plots.
Throughout the years, some parish ladies have graciously taken it upon themselves to maintain this cemetery, and each spring they plant a variety of flowers in its enclosure to embellish it and the front of the church. God bless the parish ladies for their thoughtfulness.