Caretaker defends care of historic site

Caretaker Tony Mewusch says that he is irritated the public may think he doesn’t take care of the Sadlow Ukrainian Catholic Church Cemetary in Spruce Siding. 

By Marianne Curtis

The caretaker who voluntarily takes care of one of the oldest Catholic churches in the region feels he has been unfairly criticized after a recent article in the Dawson Trail Dispatch.

Last month, we exclusively reported that a couple has contacted the Ukrainian Catholic Metropolitan in Winnipeg. They alleged the condition of the Sadlow Ukrainian Catholic Church and Cemetery in Spruce Siding was deplorable.

The couple explained how they toured the area recently and found the church open so they investigated further. They alleged the floors were dirty, the linens are soiled and the church was “coming apart at the seams.” When it came to the cemetery, they alleged crosses were toppled, trees were growing out of graves and the area was overgrown.

In a special request they approached the diocese in hopes to either gain more funding, push to make the site a historical site or accept their voluntary assistance with upkeep.

While their intention was to gain assistance for the site, the current caretaker Tony Mewusch says he was personally offended by the article.

“I cut the grass in the church yard and do some upkeep on the church with some of our family and friends,” stated Mewusch. “The church is swept out a couple times a year –this is an empty church; there has been no services here since the 60’s.”

He added that some things are not so easy to maintain. For example the antique linens dressing the alter in the tiny church are so old they might fall apart of cleaned incorrectly.
“I am finding all this irritating because some people are judging too harshly on what should be done,” Mewusch continued. “Anyone with questions about the place could have contacted the RM of Reynolds who would have referred them back to me.”

The Sadlow Ukrainian Catholic Church and Cemetery goes back over a hundred years and may even be the first Russian settlement in Manitoba.


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