The parish of St. Ann in Slayton was established on May 31, 1897. It wasn’t long before the parish members decided they needed a rectory if they were going to get a resident priest. On June 4, 1899, Mass was celebrated by Fr. Michael Riordan in Slayton’s first Catholic church.
Construction began in the fall of 1909 and was completed in 1910. The first resident pastor was Fr. John Cummiskey. He was replaced less than a year later by Fr. Frank English who remained until 1915. Priests that followed included: Frs. Lawrence Gavin, Patrick Kearney, Charles Cavanaugh, William Gorman, John Misch, William Schimek, Raymond Snyder, Warren Ryan, Thomas McHugh, Raymond Redder, Donald Zenk, Donald Halloran, Hilary Brixius, John Ozbun, James Berning, Matthew Vanissery, Mark McNea, Patrick Arens, James Seitz, Gregory Parrott and Thien Van Nguyen.
In 1949, a new church and rectory would soon become a reality as work on the buildings began. The church cornerstone was laid in July 1953, and one year later the Church of St. Ann was dedicated. the former church was converted into a church hall with classrooms for religious education in the basement.
St. Ann parishioners knew of the importance of educating their youth. A convent was provided and the parish was served by both the Benedictine and Franciscan sisters from 1950-1990. In 1965, the St. Ann School was built on Maple Avenue for the express purpose of educating youth. The Franciscans provided their assistance as they helped staff the “center” as it became known and educated the volunteers who taught the classes.
On July 25, 1954, the present day church on Maple Avenue was dedicated by Bishop Edward Fitzgerald. The church was remodeled in 1975 and in 1976. The first of what has become a well-known tradition in southwest Minnesota, the St. Ann Chicken Barbecue Dinner, was held. In 1992, the old rectory was torn down and a new one built. At that time, the old church (known as the “hall”) was torn down, piece by piece. All of the stained glass windows from the old church/hall were saved and installed in the new hall which was built to adjoin the present church. An open house for the new hall, known as Divine Mercy Hall, was help on August 15, 1993.
Three St. Ann parishioners were ordained to the priesthood: Fr. Paul Meaden was ordained in 1984 in Rome by Pope John Paul II. Fr. Paul van de Crommert was ordained in 1988 for the Diocese of New Ulm. Gary Ewen, Rev. Sharbel EWen, OSB, is a Benedictine Monk at the Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside, California. He was ordained on July 16, 1988. St. Ann Parish is proud of the religious who have made their final vows: Catherine McLeod, Sr. Mary Trophine, who entered the Sisters of St. Joseph, Saint Paul; Sr. Mary Moran, Daughters of Charity; Ione Suedbeck, Sr. Constance, OSB, Crookston; and Mary Burns, Sr. Alice Marie, a former Slayton High School teacher who entered the Order of St. Francis, Rochester.