Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Maurice Sanderson (1877-1964)


Born at Fairford, Manitoba on 5 April 1877, son of Sarah Gillis and carpenter Thomas Sanderson (who helped in the construction of original St. Mary’s la Prairie Church at Portage la Prairie, St. Margaret’s Church at High Bluff, and St. Anne’s Church at Poplar Point), he received his early education at Fairford then, at the age of 12 years, attended the Indian Industrial School at Middlechurch when it opened in January 1890, training as a printer. Later, while looking for work in Winnipeg, he met a cleric from his youth, who encouraged him to enter the ministry. He enrolled in St. John’s College in September 1896 and became an ordained Anglican cleric in 1902. He served as a missionary to his people for over 60 years with his first appointment being to the Lac Seul Mission in northwestern Ontario, in the newly formed Diocese of Keewatin. After ten years there, he took charge of the Peguis Mission in the Diocese of Rupert’s Land, returning to Lac Seul about ten years later, soon after being put in charge of Indian Missions in the southern part of the Diocese of Keewatin. He moved to Kenora which became his base of operations for the next 20 years. His final appointments were at Lac Seul and, in 1944, he returned to the Fairford Mission. In retirement, he lived with his sons at Red Lake, Ontario. In 1942, he received a honorary doctorate in divinity from St. John’s College. He died at Kenora, Ontario on 16 November 1964.

His articles for the Manitoba Historical Society:

Mill Stones at Fairford
Manitoba Pageant, Vol. 3, No. 2, January 1958

Reminiscences of St. Paul’s Industrial School
Manitoba Pageant, Vol. 4, No. 1, September 1958

Recollections of an Indian Missionary
Manitoba Pageant, Vol. 5, No. 1, September 1959


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 20 November 1964, page 43.

“Middlechurch School and Maurice Sanderson” by T. C. B. Boon, Winnipeg Free Press, 6 February 1965, page 32.

We thank Benjamin McKay for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 14 August 2013

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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