About Us


St. Rose is a picturesque limestone church built in 1878 by Irish Immigrants who came to America with only their faith and their families in search of a better life. These pioneers chose Cherry Grove Township as the perfect location to settle and begin anew. St. Rose of Lima was built by these settlers skillful hands and stands as a testament to the priority of faith in their lives. Our goal is to collaborate with the Church, community, and historical groups, connecting all of us to our historic sacred past while honoring the Irish pioneers of St. Rose.

Mission Statement

To preserve and restore St. Rose of Lima as a center point for educating future generations of immigrant history by experiencing our pioneer past. St. Rose was built in 1878 by Irish Catholic immigrants who came to America in search of a better life. These immigrants eventually settled in Cherry Grove Township, Goodhue County, Minnesota. They built St. Rose of Lima using native limestone and trade skills from their homeland. St. Rose is emblematic of the pioneer experience and of an ethnic community coming to America and retains fundamental integrity to convey and express its significance as a wholly unaltered tangible piece of immigrant pioneer history.

The Board

Relative strangers gathered together in the summer of 2002 and expressed a shared vision for the need to save and restore St. Rose.  These strangers left as friends with the concept of a shared mission.  Through their energy, hope, and perseverance, they created a non-profit corporation and found acceptable terms to secure the purchase of St. Rose necessary to begin their journey.

The energy and dedication expressed in that first meeting continues today as the current board stewards the time, treasures, and talents of others who desire to bring St. Rose back to the stature it deserves.

Corky Buckingham

My grandparents lived in the Concord area from 1940 thru the fifties and would attend St. Rose on Sunday frequently.  I live three miles south in Eagle Valley. I have appreciation for the effort and craftsmanship of the pioneer settlers in building this church and believe in preservation. I served as a rural mail carrier in the area and have memory's of many that are now buried at St. Rose. I am honored to serve on the board

Rick Keane
I have always been interested in history and genealogy and am pleased to be part of this restoration. St. Rose has always held a special place in our family as it was once a mission of St. Michaels, which my family helped establish, and because it was Irish Catholic. Stories and families of the parish were a strong part of my past. My hope is to continue the foundation of support and preserve St Rose for future generations.
Jill Palof

Living a mile away, I feel a strong sense of responsibility, pride, and commitment toward saving St. Rose.  This church represents one of the few remaining tangible expressions found on our landscape built by those who had given so much to settle in this promising new land.  It's a privilege to share this piece of Minnesota pioneer history with others as well as educate future generations about the value that these early settlers placed on faith and family.  I truly believe it is our obligation to respectfully preserve and restore St. Rose so that others can experience our treasured past.

Jerry Vettel
I have been interested in the history of Pine Island since moving here in 1962. I worked for 30 years as an Engineer at IBM. I have been involved in Pine Island city goverment and several public building perservation and restoration projects. I am a charter member of the Pine Island Area Historical Society. St Rose facinated me from the start and is both historically significant and in the Pine Island area. I am honored to serve on the board.
Richard Henry

St. Rose has been a part of my life in one way or another.  I grew up less than a mile from the church, just across the fields.   I can remember going or taking my grandmother to the cemetery each Memorial Day.  She would put the flowers on grandfather’s, Charles Henry and her son’s, Charles Patrick Henry’s graves.  I always thought that it was one of the most pleasant sites in the area.  The view from the church to the south is magnificent.  The founders of St Rose chose well for all of us to enjoy to this day.

Kathy Luebke

St. Rose of Lima Church in Cherry Grove has been a part of the family history for as long as I can remember.  Built by my O'Kane and Tunks ancestors and their neighbors, St. Rose became the heart of their community.  It was the place they gathered to celebrate faith and community; the place they shared the challenges they faced and the hope they held that the roots they were establishing in their new country would be a strong foundation for generations to come.

Kelly Ronningen
I have lived within 4 miles of St. Rose most of my life. Even though none of my family were members of the St. Rose congregation I feel a real connection through the families of our life long neighbors who were members at St. Rose.
My son's wedding was the first wedding in this church since it was closed forty years ago.  Much has been done inside and out to restore St. Rose back toward its original beauty.  It is my hope that we can preserve this piece of history for many generations to come.