Big Lake History - The Miracle of 1958

Back in the 1950's, the Big Lake community experienced the growth of farms, businesses and people. A parish of Catholic residents was born when 47 Catholic families made a leap of faith and purchased land in 1955 and in 1958 founded a parish.

After encouragement from diocesan officials and approval of Bishop Peter W. Bartholome, a loan was secured, a rectory purchased and building plans finalized for a 40 x 100 foot, above-ground, structure at an approximate cost of $100,000.

Looking back on those plans, those founding families and the sacrifices made, the story of the beginnings of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church was called: Founders, Keepers, the Miracle of 1958.

Those founding families worked together to build both the church and the community of faith, providing construction labor, food and encouragement.

There were 80 families in the parish when the community gathered to dedicate the new church on November 23rd, 1958.

Growth of the Parish made more space necessary and an annex to the original building was designed and built in 1973. Lower level facilities added much needed classroom space, social area and storage. The "pieta window" was installed in 1977, made possible by donations from parishioners.

The cemetery added a similar pieta shrine in 1987.

Parish improvements continued over the years; the annex was renovated and the former rectory was replaced with a new pastors residence in 1997; the parish was now at 600 households.

In the Jubilee Year 2000, the parish completed an elevator project to make the building accessible to people with special needs, providing a ground level entry and access to both the church and lower levels.

The rapidly growing corridor on Highway 10 holds continued promise of the expansion and rapid growth. The "Miracle of 1958" continues to bring growth and blessings to the People of God of this parish community in the 21st century and beyond.

As of 2002, there were 750 registered families in Our Lady of the Lake Parish.

In May 2012, the parishes of Immaculate Conception in Becker and Our Lady of the Lake in Big Lake,were combined into one larger faith community and renamed Church of Mary of the Visitation.

Parishioners gather holy water following a Mass in celebration of the new parish May 19, 2012 at the Becker campus.

Founders & Keepers


1958-1968 . . Father Joseph Linn
1968-1968 . . Father John Kroll
1968-1969 . . Father Leo Revering
1969-1981 . . Father Ray Ringwelski
1981-1995 . . Father Richard Wey
1995-1999 . . Father Nic Dressen
1999-2005 . . Father Ralph Zimmerman
Present   . . ...Father Gene Doyle

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