Friesen, Isaac P. (1873-1952)

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Isaac P. Friesen (1873-1952) Source: Search for Renewal: 46.

Isaac P. Friesen: Mennonite (General Conference Mennonite Church) evangelist, minister, and poet; born on 6 July 1873 to Peter Martin Friesen (1835-1893) and Katharina (Klassen) Friesen (1850-1896) in the village of Rosengart, Chortitza Mennonite settlement, South Russia. When he was still an infant his family immigrated to the United States. After one year they traveled from Fargo, North Dakota up the Red River to Manitoba, settling in Rosenort. Friesen was baptized on 22 May 1893 by Ältester Johann Wiebe and became a member of the Reinland Mennonite Church. He married Katharina Harder on 1 August (or 30 July) 1898 and they had six children. Isaac died 3 January 1952 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Friesen spent most of his life in Rosthern, Saskatchewan, the center of the large Rosenort Mennonite congregation. Isaac opened a hardware store in Rosthern in 1897 and became a successful business man. He had a life changing conversion experience at the age of 36 when in Long Beach, California on one of his frequent extended trips. Friesen was able to visit Palestine and other areas of the Ottoman Empire in the fall of 1910. He found this trip to be a very moving experience and wrote a book about it which he entitled "Meine Reise nach Palestina" (My Journey to Palestine, Winnipeg, 194?).

Friesen was elected along with his oldest son to the office of evangelist on 23 November 1919. He was then later ordained as minister on 8 July 1923. With the revivalistic character of his preaching he led most of the ministers of this large congregation, as well as those far beyond his own church. Friesen inspired his audiences with his fluent speech and the dominant emotionalism in his sermons. Even though he had only a grade six education, he wrote two widely-read books of poetry Im Dienste des Meisters (In the Service of the Master). He traveled throughout southern Manitoba as an evangelist, first part-time and then full-time.

In 1934 Friesen conducted a series of evangelistic services in Winkler, Manitoba, which led to the conversion of over a thousand adults. This resulted in the founding of the Rudnerweide Mennonite Church.

During his service in the ministry he liberally supported various Mennonite missionary undertakings. He donated his Rosthern house and property to help found the Rosthern Home for the Aged. He also supported the Children's Home on the Mennonite Youth Farm near Rosthern, and other missionary and welfare projects.


GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 5.05 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2008: #176851.

Friesen, Lorin. "I. P. Friesen." Personal e-mail (19 September 2011).

Isaac P. Friesen Fonds. Mennonite Heritage Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba. December 2002. Web. 15 October 2008.,%20Isaac%20P.%20fonds.htm.

Warkentin, A. and Melvin Gingerich, compilers. Who's Who Among the Mennonites. North Newton, KS: Bethel College, 1943: 76.

Additional Information

Isaac's parents were Peter Martin Friesen (6 December 1835, Chortitza settlement, South Russia - 8 December 1893, Winkler, Manitoba, Canada) and Katharina (Klassen) Friesen (22 January 1850 - 10 May 1896). Isaac was the oldest of 11 children born to his parents (four of the ten, including his twin brother, died in infancy), and he had four older half siblings (a fifth died young) from his father's second marriage to Anna (Giesbrecht) Friesen (12 August 1839 - 1 January 1869). His father's first wife was Margaretha (Sawatzky) Friesen (15 December 1835 - 29 December 1858).

Isaac's wife was Katharina Harder (13 October 1877 - 30 July 1898, Rosthern, Saskatchewan, Canada), the daughter of Jacob Harder (30 December 1833 - 17 December 1905) and Aganetha (Winter) Harder (15 May 1835 - 29 July 1893, Manitoba, Canada).

Isaac and Katharina had six children: Isaak I., Catherine, Helen, Hilda, Alice, and Louise.

Author(s) John G. Rempel
Richard D. Thiessen
Date Published September 2011

Cite This Article

MLA style

Rempel, John G. and Richard D. Thiessen. "Friesen, Isaac P. (1873-1952)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. September 2011. Web. 14 Jun 2021.,_Isaac_P._(1873-1952)&oldid=167756.

APA style

Rempel, John G. and Richard D. Thiessen. (September 2011). Friesen, Isaac P. (1873-1952). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 14 June 2021, from,_Isaac_P._(1873-1952)&oldid=167756.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, pp. 326-327. All rights reserved.

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