Church Administrator Is out

By Andrea Johnson
Minot Daily News [North Dakota]
August 24, 2004

POWERS LAKE - The sometimes controversial former administrator of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Prairies here left Powers Lake earlier this month.

Paul Dobrowski, a member of the board of directors, said Friday the board asked Ryan St. Anne, 51, to leave the Shrine. Dobrowski said St. Anne has purchased a former medical facility in Galesburg, Ill., where he plans to establish a new independent Benedictine monastery.

The daughter of an 82-year-old long-time parishioner who left the Shrine with St. Anne said Friday she's concerned about her mother's welfare.

Bobbie Fleming, of Orangevale, Calif., said she last spoke with her mother, Roseanna Gevelinger, more than three weeks ago. Gevelinger is one of two elderly former parishioners who left with St. Anne, Dobrowski said. St. Anne, when reached by phone Friday in Galesburg, said that Gevelinger is with him in Galesburg. He declined to put Gevelinger on the phone and referred questions to her attorney, Kathleen Key Imes of Williston. Imes said Friday that she could not comment on issues regarding her client.

St. Anne, who has also gone by the name of Ryan Patrick Scott, created some controversy during his time in North Dakota.

Bishop Paul Zipfel, of the Bismarck Catholic Diocese, issued a statement last summer stating that he does not recognize St. Anne as a priest. The Shrine of Our Lady of the Prairies is also not considered part of the diocese.

St. Anne calls himself a "traditional Catholic priest" and abbot of an independent Benedictine monastery called Holy Rosary Abbey. He says the Latin Mass and does not believe in changes that took place in the Roman Catholic Church following the Vatican II Council in the 1960s. He came to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Prairies in early 2003. In the past several years, St. Anne has also lived in Wisconsin, in Pocahontas, Iowa, and in Hornbeck, La.

St. Anne and Gevelinger obtained a restraining order in April 2004 in Northwest District Court in Williston against Shrine board members Dobrowski and Jerry Durick. In the petition, St. Anne alleged that members of the board had made threats against him and threatened to destroy property and financial records at the Shrine. St. Anne also alleged that the Shrine is the subject of a county, state, and federal investigation into its finances prior to St. Anne's arrival at the Shrine.

Dobrowski said Friday he didn't know why St. Anne obtained the restraining order, which is still in effect.

St. Anne has a 1994 felony conviction for misconduct in public office, dating back to the time he served as finance officer in Edgerton, Wis. St. Anne pleaded no contest to the charge and was sentenced to three years of probation by a Rock County, Wis., judge, which he served from 1994 to 1997.

Dobrowski said the Shrine of Our Lady of the Prairies currently has "zero" parishioners, but the board of directors hopes to find another "traditional Catholic priest" to say the Latin Mass there. He said the Shrine continues to broadcast its radio program, "The Marian Hour," which airs on various radio stations in the United States and Canada.


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