Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Most Holy Redeemer Church

On St. Patrick’s Day, 1880, The Redemptorist Fathers founded Holy Redeemer Parish to serve the Irish and German Catholics living in the area that was then known as Springwells. The first services were held in a general store on West Jefferson Avenue. In September of 1880, four acres of land on the corner of Vernor and Junction Streets were purchased to construct a church building. The wood frame structure known as the Little Church on Sand Hill was dedicated in 1881. In 1882, a school was established under the leadership of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Sisters.

With increasing membership, a second larger church was built in 1896. By 1921, an even larger church was needed. The Detroit firm of John Donaldson and Henry Meier designed the present Roman basilica style church based on the Church of St. Paul in Rome. The complex occupied an entire city block and included a convent, two school buildings, a gymnasium, and an auditorium. The convent closed about 2005, however the elementary school and Detroit Cristo Rey High School (opened in 2008 at the location of the former Holy Redeemer High School) remain on site.

The marble altar was fashioned in Italy and adorned with insets of glass mosaics. Six additional altars are present, three in each transept. Over eight thousand square feet of Pewabic Pottery tiles cover the floor of the sanctuary, aisles, narthex, and side chapels. The stained glass windows are attributed to A. Kay Herbert and the clerestory windows to Detroit Stained Glass Works.

The church was under the care of the Redemptorist until 1999 when they ceded stewardship to the Archdiocese of Detroit. The church serves what is now primarily a Latino community.



Most Holy Redeemer Church Exterior, 1950s – 2014.003.505

Holy Redeemer Postcard, c.1910 – 2012.044.608

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