White Bear Lake Area
Learning From Our Past, Preserving For Our Future
The Depot Gift Shop specializes in items specific to the White Bear area including gifts with bears, sailing and historical motifs. Some of our best sellers include:
Father Joseph Goiffon: A Tale of a French Missionary
Father Joseph Goiffon: A Tale of a French Missionary is an English translation of Father Goiffon’s 1908 autobiography edited by Duane Thein. It describes what happened to the Catholic priest and missionary in the winter of 1860 and 1861 when he was returning from St. Paul, Minnesota, to his two parishes in the Red River Valley. Father Goiffon tells of the events surrounding his being caught in a snowstorm, being rescued, the amputation of his leg and foot, and the fire at the St. Boniface Cathedral in Canada.
The book contains forty photographs, maps, and graphics, and three appendixes. The first appendix is a brief history of all the locations mentioned in the autobiography. The second appendix is translated letters of Bishop Taché, Father Mestre, and Sister Curran giving their account of Father Goiffon’s adventures. The third appendix is a brief genealogy of the Goiffon family. The entire book is fully indexed.
Father Joseph Goiffon was born March 3, 1824 in France He immigrated to Minnesota in 1857 to be a missionary priest. In 1858 Father Ravoux, administrator of the St. Paul Diocese, sent Father Goiffon to serve in the Red River Valley at St. Joseph (Walhalla) and Pembina; today both towns are in North Dakota.
Father Goiffon, during his career in the St. Paul Diocese, also served the parishes of Little Canada, Centerville, White Bear Lake, Rice Lake (today part of Lino Lakes) Moundsview, and Mendota, all in Minnesota, and for a brief time Somerset, Wisconsin. In 1909 Father Goiffon went to live with his nephew in Oneka Township, Minnesota, sometimes helping out at the Hugo church. He died May 6, 1910, in Oneka Township, Minnesota.
Through his dedication to this project of more than twenty years and his thorough research, Thein has provided this community with a more complete picture of the experiences of Father Goiffon that have spawned legends. This work sets the record straight on the stories perpetuated by generations and allows the subject’s recollections and additional resources to clear the confusion. In addition, those who still worship at the parishes created by Father Goiffon now have a greater understanding of his intense missionary spirit and the power of his faith.
Father Joseph Goiffon: A Tale of a French Missionary is an excellent addition to the existing documents of our area’s rich history. The book is available at the Historical Society’s Depot Gift Shop for $19.75. For more information please call Sara at 651-407-5327.
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Prices do not include Minnesota sales tax of 6.5 %.
E-mail: Sara Markoe Hanson at WBLAHISTSOC@GoldenGate.net