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St. Frances Mission

St. Francis Xavier Mission on the Cowlitz Prairie near Toledo is the first permanently established mission in the state of Washington.

In response to several appeals, two Catholic priests -- Father Francois Norbert Blanchet and Modeste Demers -- traveled overland from Montreal to the Oregon Country to help fulfill the spiritual needs of Hudson's Bay Co. employees and the early settlers of the area, and to convert Indian tribes to Christianity.

On Sunday, Nov. 25, 1838, Francis Norbert Blanchet celebrated Holy Mass for the first time in the lower Oregon Country at Fort Vancouver.

On Dec. 16, 1838, Fr. Blanchet celebrated Mass in the home of Simon Bonaparte Plomondon, who retired from the Hudson's Bay Co.

2011 map

1941 map. Blue line is the 1915 alignment and the green line is the 1922 realignment.

The original Mission was built in 1840. This church was built in 1916.

Rest in Peace


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