Religion in the Kinkora Area
Below is a brief introduction to religion in the Kinkora Area. For more information please visit Kinkora’s Community Collection at the library/CAP site in Kinkora. Enjoy a sample of the photographs, documents and oral history interviews on this subject in our Digital Collection
The present day residents of the Kinkora Area practice a variety of religions, but the only church in the area is St. Malachy’s Catholic Church. Kinkora has long been known as a strongly Catholic town as its settlers were predominately Irish Catholic in the 1830’s. Many of the surrounding communities that make up the “Kinkora Area” had Protestant ties, but the towns have always worked together for the benefit of everyone in the area.
One of the dominating features of Kinkora is its first church, St. Malachy’s Church. It was built between 1847 and 1849 and a tower was added around 1872. After its uses as a church, it was hauled across the road and used as a community hall until the 1960’s G.K. Farmer, Around Kinkora Area (Maple Leaf Senior Citizens Club, 1991) 18.1
The famous Island architect, William Critchlow Harris, designed the church and Parish House with a French Gothic design. Built in 1901, the Church and Parish House still stand today in their original form and are a registered provincial heritage place.
The Sisters of Saint Martha came to Kinkora in 1921 and started the St. Stanislaus convent. The clergy and sisters have always held very important roles in the community and none more so than in their fight for education. Many times in the history of education in Kinkora did St. Malachy’s parish help to build schools or fundraise. The sisters taught school, catechism and music lessons and are still talked about today by many of their students as excellent teachers. In 1935 they moved the convent into the McIver house to host boarders and teach high school. At one point the high school curriculum was taught out of a room in the convent as a high school had not yet been built. When they were no longer teaching at the schools, the sisters moved into a smaller residence in 1992.
The Catholic Women’s League was formed in Kinkora in 1926. This group of very dedicated women have raised funds since their formation to help with everything from church morgues to buying Christmas toys. The group holds spiritual development and study groups, attends conferences, visits the sick, caters events, does charity work and provides meals after every funeral. (While writing this, the author can hear them in the Kanat Klub kitchen preparing a meal!)
In more recent years, the amalgamation of Catholic churches meant that one priest was in charge of the three Catholic churches in the area: Sacred Heart in Borden, St. Peters in Seven Mile Bay and St. Malachy’s in Kinkora. With the closing of Sacred Heart in Borden, it left only St. Peters and St. Malachy’s. The priest lives in the Parish House on the St. Malachy’s grounds.
Community members have noted the changes in the church over the years, from the strict control the church held on their lives, recalling with laughter that you had to ask the priest permission to harvest your crop on a Sunday, to the current church where there is a folk choir and female alter servers.
Religion in today’s world seems to take a back seat to people’s busy lives, but the people of the Kinkora area are still proud of their beautiful church. They also recognize all of the good that the Parish has done and continues to do.
To view a sample of the Community Collection about religion in the Kinkora Area please go to the Digital Collection.
1 G.K. Farmer, Around Kinkora Area (Maple Leaf Senior Citizens Club, 1991) 18.