The cornerstone of the church reads:
SAINT GERTRUDE'S CHURCHThe parish dates from 1872.
REBUILT AD 1904
According to diocesan statistics, Saint Gertrude's Church has about 305 parishioners in 101 families.
The village of Grantfork was originally called Fitz James, then Saline, and then Grant Fork. According to a history of Madison County, dating from 1882:
This is a pleasant little village of about one hundred and fifty inhabitants, lying on the township line, partly in Leef and partly in Saline townships. It was first called Fitz James, and was laid out in 1840, by Henry K. Lathey, James Carpenter, George Fulls, Jonas R. Gale, Z. Lowe, and William F. De Wolf, on the southeast quarter of the south-west quarter section thirty-three. John Duncan opened a store in 1840. His house stood on the north side of the road that runs on the township line. He kept a public house, and put up a large sign inscribed in prominent letters "Fitz James Hotel by John Duncan." He continued here in a fair paying business, until his death, after which the buildings were burned. Some years after this, the town in the meantime making little progress R. D. Leggitt put up a second store. This also stood on the north side of the road. After about two years, he sold out to William Schum, who subsequently sold to John Bardill and brothers. Mr. Bardill afterward purchased his brother's interest in the store and conducted the business for many years. He was instrumental in getting a post-office established, called Saline. The department ordered the name changed, and the citizens christened it Grant Fork, which is the present name of the post-office. Martin Ruch, in the early history of the village, opened a store on the south side, where he is still engaged in business. In 1840 one Herrin opened a blacksmith shop in a little log cabin that stood just cast of the Douglas store building. He was not an expert at his trade, but could mend a chain or clevis, and was looked upon as quite an acquisition to the settlement. He afterward left, and for many years there was no blacksmith. John Link was the second smith. The Catholic church is a handsome brick edifice, built in 1872. There is a school conducted in connection with the church. The Lutheran church is a neat brick structure erected the same year. The public school is a brick building, one story high, with two rooms, in charge of James Lane at the present writing.Grantfork is located on what was once the great Illinois prairie. It sits on the right bank of Silver Creek, just before the creek forms the Highland Silver Lake reservoir. According to the 2010 census, the village has 337 residents.
I took these photos on the Saturday in the fourth week of Lent, the eve of Passion Sunday. Depicted before the altar is the Crown of Thorns, one of the instruments of Our Lord's Passion.
Symbols are depicted on the arch surrounding the sanctuary; shown here is a painting of the waters of baptism, with the traditional baptismal shell and the Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove. On the left is the Holy Family.
Statue of Saint Gertrude the Great (6 January 1256 — 17 November 1301 or 1302). She was a Benedictine nun, a visionary and a mystic, known for her great devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Her writings were approved by Dominican and Franciscan friars, and highly recommended by Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint Francis de Sales, and Dom Prosper Guéranger.
The baptismal font has an unusual design.
The First Station of the Cross — Jesus is condemned to death.
The stained glass windows in the church are simple but include symbolism. On the left is a miter with a crozier and processional cross in saltier — a heraldic symbol of a Catholic bishop; on the right is the Crown of Thorns.
202 North Locust Street