The Methodist church was built in 1859 and was the first church to be built in Combermere, to cater to the needs of the primarily German Wendish Methodist worshipers of the area. The people were from an area of Prussia called Wen. Other Protestant churches in Combermere came along later such as St. Paulís Anglican church, built in 1884 and St. Leonardís Anglican church in Rockingham, built about 1878, another Anglican church in Purdy (St. Peterís) from 1899 -1929. This latter church would eventually become a Lutheran church (Grace) 1929 -1977. Even the Catholics didnít have a church in Combermere at first and had to travel to Brudenell to worship until about 1909 when Sacred Heart Roman Catholic church was built on the west side of Highway # 517 (Dafoe Rd) near the junction of the Lower Craigmont Rd. This Methodist church was sometimes used by the Roman Catholic worshipers in the area prior to 1909. Sacred Heart Church burned down on Nov. 11, 1951 and a new one, Canadian Martyrís church was built in 1953 in the same location.
Methodist Church, Combermere
On October 24th, 1848, the Methodist Church lot was marked out and sold to the Trustees of the Eganvile Mission or Circuit of the Methodist church of Canada. They were represented by Messrs. Wm. McKay, Lake, Dafoe, Waddington and Price. This Dafoe was the father of John Wesley Dafoe who eventually became editor of the Winnipeg Free Press.
Combermere Methodist Church
Methodist Church, Combermere Road
In 1878, Anglican inhabitants in the Combermere area had formal worship services only when a traveling minister happened to be in the area. At that time the minister was Reverend M. Gower Poole
About 1870, John S. J. Watson of Rockingham was instrumental in establishing that village and in 1871, Rockingham could boast of taverns, an inn, stores, two mills, one school, mail delivery and later a wooden church. In 1887, a mission at Rockingham and Combermere was established when the Lord Bishop of Ontario visited these tiny communities and confirmed candidates.
On Sunday, September 7, 1883 the first services were held at Combermere with only a few loyal members in attendance.
The earliest records of the church that can be found date back to November 27, 1884 when Elizabeth Hudson, widow of the late John Hudson, donated this land to the Synod of the diocese of Ottawa for the church. A new church was built about late 1884 or early 1885 on this land.
St. Paul's Anglican Church, Combermere
Sacred Heart Roman Catholic and the later named Holy Canadian Martyrs Church in Combermere has seen a long list and history of devoted pastors and Curates. In the days of the French pioneers, traveling priests from Ottawa visited the settlement once a year. Then in turn Combermere, the church was the mission of Brudenell, Maynooth and Brudenell again.
Before the church was built, the Roman Catholic families in the Combermere area had to travel to Brudenell for Mass and other religious services and activities.
Narcisse Zephirin Lorrain, the first Bishop of Pembroke, actually visited the area in 1906, looking for a site for a church. The Sacred Heart Church was built on land donated by Hormidas Perrier, and Combermere was a mission of Brudenell. Further property was purchased from Victor Bouchard in 1925. As a matter of fact, missionaries, priests, the Bishop on episcopal visits and even the first parish priest until a presbytery was built, all stayed in the home of Victor and Anna Bouchard.
Rev. Frank French pastor at Brudenell built the first church at Combermere in 1907.
Sacred Heart Church, Combermere
Barry's Bay This Week
In 1931 the Combermere mission was made a parish by the Rt Rev. P.T. Ryan, Bishop of Pembroke. Rev. A. P. Dwyer then curate of Brudenell was appointed Priest.
On July 1, 1931, Sacred Heart and its twenty families became a parish, and its first pastor was Rev. A. Patrick Dwyer. Of his siblings, three were also priests while another two were religious sisters. St. Frances de Sales of Latchford Bridge now became a mission, and Bark Lake a station of Combermere. St. Frances de Sales became a parish in its own right from 1947 to 1957, but then reverted to being a mission to Combermere, although continuing to maintain its own church register.
Sacred Heart Church Hall, Combermere
The Madonna House foundress, Catherine de Hueck Doherty, was born in St. Petersburg, Russia on August 15, 1896. Her parents belonged to the minor nobility and were devout members of the Orthodox Church.
Schooled abroad because of her fatherís work, she and her family returned to st. Petersburg in 1910, where she was enrolled in the prestigious Princess Obolensky Academy. In 1912, aged 15, she married Boris de Hueck.
At the outbreak of World War I, Catherine became a Red Cross nurse at the front, experiencing the horrors of battle firsthand. On her return to St. Petersburg, she and Boris barely escaped with their lives from the turmoil of the Russian Revolution, having been nearly starved to death as refugees in Finland. Together they made their way to England where Catherine was received into the Catholic Church in 1919.
Emigrating to Canada with Boris, Catherine gave birth to their only child, George, in Toronto in 1921. To make ends meet, Catherine took various menial jobs and eventually became a lecturer, traveling a circuit that took her across North America.
Catherine de Hoeck Doherty
Madonna House, Combermere
Madonna House has itís headquarters in Combermere and training centre for all the Houses. It also serves as a Rural Settlement House. In Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, for Indian boys and girls attending High School, and Mary House for sheltering and aiding Indians and transients. Edmonton, Alberta has two houses; the Catholic Information Centre and Marion House Centre, which is engaged in the work of feeding transients -
Stella Maris House in Portland, Oregon, works with interracial groups. Casa de Nuestra, Senora, in Winslow, Arizona and Maria Reina in Balmorea, Texas do Catechetical work.
Catherine Doherty died in Combermere on December 14, 1985 at the age of 89. Since then, the cause for her canonization has been opened, and she may now officially be called 'Servant of God'