Bishop John Ireland forms the Catholic Colonization Bureau to attract Catholics, particularly from Ireland, to Minnesota. A railroad provides land, and by 1885, 4,000 German, Irish, and Belgian Catholic families are living in southwestern and west-central Minnesota.
The towns of De Graff and Clontarf in Swift County; Adrian in Nobles County; Avoca, Iona, and Fulda in Murray County; Graceville in Big Stone County; and Minneota and Ghent in Lyon County become the business centers for the bishop’s colonies.*
Holy Spirit, thanks for Bishop John! Thanks for his help assisting so many to find a new way here in Minnesota! Thank You for friends like Bishop Ireland that keep offering us relief and making a way of exodus where it appears that there is no way. Will You again bless these counties: Swift, Nobles, Murray, Big Stone, Lyon, and Ramsey?
Lord, will You forgive us our bitter ways towards You and each other based on State and Federal law; legal and illegal immigration? Will You cause Your Church to bless Your image within each other in this effort; Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox? Our experience helps us see differing needs of those who migrate. Forgive us for favoritism, lawlessness, and placing unnecessary barriers in front of those who seek a safe haven and a bit of Your freedom here.
Will You give favor to these Catholic generations of Bishop Ireland, in their homes, the property You allow them to reside, and in the practice of their love for You? We need You! May we see You in all who emigrate their beloved homelands’ to immigrate to our Land of 10,000 Lakes in good faith! Come Lord Jesus and be our guest in the state of Minnesota!
*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!