Friesen, Katherina Penner (1871-1952)

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Katherina Penner Friesen, Mennonite pioneer, was born on 14 January 1871 in the village of Friedensfeld, South Russia. She was the seventh of 13 children born to Peter H. Penner (1839-1916) and Helena Penner (1840-1908). Katherina was baptized and a member of the Mennonite Kleine Gemeinde. On 1 September 1889 in Blumenort, Manitoba she married Klaas I. Friesen (1868-1927) son of the village mayor Abraham M. Friesen (1834-1908). Katherina and Klaas had nine children together -- six daughters and three sons. Katherina died on 14 October 1952 in Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada.

Though born in Russia Katherine left that country at the age of three and immigrated with her parents to the United States where they initially settled in Kansas. Five years later in 1879 they moved to Manitoba, Canada where they established a successful farm in Blumenort. When Katherina married Klaas I. Friesen they began farming first on the Friesen homestead and then on their own in the Greenland area. For ten years they struggled to make a living without success. They then moved to Steinbach where Katherina raised her family and ran a "guest house." Klaas ran a livery stable during these years. In 1920 Katherina and Klaas decided to try farming one more time. They moved to the Prairie Rose settlement where they lived until Klaas' death in 1927. Katherina then decided to move back to Steinbach where she helped her youngest son Alfred run a raspberry farm and here she lived for the remainder of her life.

Despite the struggles and hardships of her life, Katherina was remembered as a "jolly happy person." Like so many other courageous pioneer women of the Canadian West, Katherina was able to rise above the difficult circumstances she faced. As a woman of strong faith surrounded by a supportive community, Katherina never lost her joy for living.


Loewen, Mary Ann. "Katherina Penner Friesen 1871-1952." Preservings No. 10 Part II (June 1997): 55-56.

Author(s) Sharon H. H Brown
Date Published March 2006

Cite This Article

MLA style

Brown, Sharon H. H. "Friesen, Katherina Penner (1871-1952)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. March 2006. Web. 26 May 2018.,_Katherina_Penner_(1871-1952)&oldid=87604.

APA style

Brown, Sharon H. H. (March 2006). Friesen, Katherina Penner (1871-1952). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 May 2018, from,_Katherina_Penner_(1871-1952)&oldid=87604.

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