St. Ann’s Catholic Church was a small church built to serve a small town, but that humble building was a mighty testament to the people who built and nourished it.
The people of Chuchuwayha Indian Reserve Number Two traveled more than 40 miles, each way, by horse and wagon, to pick up the lumber they used to build their small church, by hand, outside the town of Hedley, British Columbia. That church stood for more than a century, providing spiritual nourishment to its small congregation at the far-flung edge of the world.
But now, St. Ann’s is gone. On June 26, it burned until nothing was left but a smoldering pile of ash. It wasn’t lightning or a tragic accident. It was arson — and it wasn’t an isolated incident.
All over Canada, churches are going up in flames. On the same day 25 miles south, Our Lady of Lourdes parish was burned to the ground as well. The