Church of Saint Anne
1321 Braman Avenue, Bismarck, North Dakota 58501
Phone 701-223-1549 Fax 701-250-9214
History of the Church of Saint Anne
The Parish of Saint Anne had it's beginning in the summer of 1955 when a group of concerned parishoners of Saint Mary's Parish met with the pastor, Monsignor Robert A. Feehan, to investigate what could be done to allevate the over crowded conditions in Saint Mary's School and Church.
It was decided and approved by Bishop Lambert Hoch
to construct a new school. It was built on property at 13th Street and Braman Avenue which had been donated by Mr. T. Clem Casey. In the spring of 1956, plans for the Church of Saint Anne were drawn up by architect Bernard H. Hillyer.
The facility was originally intended to be a mission of Saint Mary's Parish. By the time construction was near completion, in the summer of 1957, Bishop Hillary Hacker determined it more feasible to make Saint Anne an independent parish and named Father Arnold Spain as its first pastor.
The first Mass was celebrated in the school gymnasium on July 7th, 1957. Before long, four Masses were necessary to accommodate the new parish of 350 families.
The Sisters of Norte Dame, from Mankato, agreed to provide teachers to Saint Anne. The first six arrived on August 20th, 1957 and due to delays in construction of the convent were housed in two classrooms until April 1958. The new school opened on September 3rd, 1957 with an enrollment of 235 students.
By 1960, it became apparent that Saint Anne Parish needed a church building. The school gymnasium could not accommodate the growing crowds that attended the Sunday Masses. Benard Hillyer was retained as architect for the church. A modern church to seat 700 was designed and built with completion in 1961. The church is distinguished by the enormous south wall of glass, affectionately referred to as "God's Picture Window".
A Parish Center was added in 1980. The church interior was remodeled in keeping with the Liturgical Documents of Vatican II in 1984.
Presently, Saint Anne is a thriving faith community of over 1,500 families with Father Edwin P. Wehner as pastor. Saint Anne has completed new additions to the seating area of the church, replaced pews and flooring, enlarged the music area, installed a fire sprinkler system, added a gathering space and a lower level. Future plans are to complete the lower level with a fellowship hall and construction of a kitchen.
However, after all is said and done, parish is really about people not buildings. Since the time that the first group of volunteers organized as Saint Anne Guild, the parish has been about caring for one another as family.
In this sense, God has truly blessed us!