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Bunz Family windowIn 1904 Adam and Katharina Bunz, their five sons (Albert, John, Adam Jr., Karl and Martin), one daughter (Maria Magdalena) and daughter-in-law (John’s wife – Barbara), homesteaded southeast of Muenster. Of German and French heritage, they had first emigrated in 1898, from the Banat region, which is now part of Romania, to Massachusetts, USA.

Home and church were very important to Katharina. She wanted her family close and so the sons also obtained homesteads adjacent to the parents’ land.

Their house was built of trees cut down on their land and they moved in on Christmas Eve, 1904. This homestead house pictured in the bottom frame of the window was the center of family celebrations and togetherness and has been a symbol of the Bunz family history.

The strawberries and saskatoon bushes remind us of how they relied on their garden, fruit trees and wild berries and also of the beautiful flowers Katharina enjoyed planting.

A church had been promised to be built within two miles of them. On may 10, 1907, mass was celebrated by Father Peter Windschiegel at the Bunz homestead house. Around 50 people were present and following mass, a meeting was held and it was decided to organize a new parish. The parishioners wanted to name the new parish St. Katharine after Katharina Bunz, however, Fr. Peter’s wish to name the parish St. Gertrude in honour of his mother prevailed.

The first trustees elected were Adam Bunz Sr., Henry Boehm and Frank Schuler. On June 28, mass was again celebrated by Fr. Peter and at the meeting after mass, a site for the new church was chosen, but was later changed to be next to the St. Gertrude School built in 1909. On July 16, 1911 mass was celebrated at the school, followed by a fund-raising picnic. Construction on the church was begun, but unfortunately stopped, with only a foundation laid.

Times were hard and plans were put on hold until 1945 when a meeting was held to revive the idea of constructing a church to serve the growing farm community. Under the watchful eye of Father Leonard Benning, construction took place during the summer of 1947. Adam and Katharina would have been so proud to see two of their grandsons, Johannes and Henry, helping build the church. And they would have been pleased to see their dream of the St. Gertrude Church finally become a reality, when it was blessed by Fr. Peter Windschiegl on October 12, 1947, over 40 years after the first mass and organization of the new parish took place at their home.

Their homestead house has served as a meeeting place for mass for many years and Katharina always fed the parishioners heartily before they left for home. They had brought with them a very large bell from Massachusetts which served as a dinner bell and also welcomed the neighbors to mass.  This bell was later donated to the Muenster Fire Hall.

The Holy Spirit at the top symbolizes the presence of God’s love and faithfulness in our lives at all times.

By Bertha Miller

Installation Date:  March 30, 2010

Blessing Date:  Sunday, April 25, 2010