Saint Lawrence is our patron saint.  He was put to death four days after Pope St. Sixtus II.  It is believed that his death took place about 258 A.D.  The church built over his tomb has become one of the seven principal churches in Rome.  Legend has it that he was ordered to turn over to the Romans prefect the riches of the church.  He gathered the blind, lame, lepers, orphans and widows.  When the prefect arrived, Lawrence simply said, "These are the treasure of the church."  The angered prefect ordered a death by inches for Lawrence and prepared a great gridiron with coals beneath it and had the deacon placed on it.  After Lawrence had suffered the pain for a long time, he made his famous cheerful remark, "It is well done.  Turn it over and eat it."
     The Saint Lawrence Catholic congregation was organized in 1881 by a group of pioneer settlers.  The first church, school, and rectory built by St. Lawrence parishioners were completed by 1883.  The rectory, which serves as a private residence now, is the only building remaining.  It is located on the southeast corner of the intersection of Bell Avenue and Lloyd Street.

First church, school, and parsonage

Children attending St. Lawrence School in 1901

Classroom photo from 1901 school year.

     St. Lawrence School opened in 1885 and was staffed by Benedictine Sisters.  The school was started with four classrooms but soon changed to three rooms since there were only about 60 to 65 pupils.  They staffed the school until 1893 when the parish could not support the school because of poor crops.  According to records of the Sisters, the building then reverted to the original purpose - a rectory.
     In 1901 Presentation Sisters from Aberdeen, SD, began staffing St. Lawrence parish school which had formerly been taught by the Benedictine Sisters.  The school reopened in 1901 to children from 12 families.  For about the next ten years, parishioners used the original school, church, and parsonage.  Then it was time for a new church and school.  The school was built first and opened after the Christmas holidays in 1911.  In the spring of 1912, the work on the parish house began.  A chapel on the second story was used as a parish worship center until the church was completed in the fall of 1914.  The cornerstone for the church was laid in 1913.  The total cost of the three buildings was estimated at close to $100,000.  The second school was torn down in the summer of 1998.  The current school was constructed in 1998 through 1999 and has numerous advantages. 
     Until the 1980-1981 term, the seventh and eighth grade pupils were dually enrolled, attending St. Lawrence half days and the public school half days.  The upper grades were dropped because of the unavailability of teachers.
      The 1982-1983 year marked the first year that St. Lawrence charged tuition.  It ranged from $80 for one child to $175 for four children.  Increasing costs made the charge for tuition necessary.  Today, tuition costs at Saint Lawrence School are near the bottom.  Tuition rates for the 2002-2003 school year were: Preschool: $44/month for two days of school per week and $55/month for three days of school per week; Kindergarten: $400/year; Grades 1-6: $500/year (There is a maximum cap cost of $1,100 per year.).  It likely costs less to send a child to school for one year at St. Lawrence than it does to send the same child to piano lessons for the same term!  
      The school year of 2001-2002 marked the first year in the history of St. Lawrence School that a Sister was not among the faculty (Sister Jane being the last).