Encyclopedia Of Detroit

St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church

St. Mary’s parish was founded in 1834 by Father Martin Kundig to serve the spiritual needs of the German speaking Catholics from the small farming community of Neustadt. In 1841, Antoine and Monica Beaubien sold the land at St. Antoine and Croghan (now Monroe) Streets, for one dollar, to be used as the site of the new St. Mary’s Church. It was consecrated on June 29, 1843.

As the congregation grew, plans were made for a larger church. The old church was demolished and construction of the present church on Monroe Avenue began. Parishioner Peter Dederichs was the architect of the “High Victorian Romanesque” structure, a mixture of several European styles. The cornerstone was laid in 1884, and the edifice was completed in 1885.

The north tower houses three of the four bells from the 1843 church, donated by Antoine and Monica Beaubien. Polished granite columns, originally intended for the State Capitol building, divide the side aisles from the nave and support the walls of the main roof. The altar, dating from 1885, has important saints on the reredos. Two smaller wood altars flank the central one. The stained glass windows were designed by The Detroit Stained Glass Works and date to 1885. The tracker organ was installed in 1990.

St. Mary Parish has been staffed by the Spiritans or Holy Ghost Fathers since 1893. It was previously administered by the Franciscan Fathers from 1872 to 1893 and the Redemptorist Fathers from 1847 to 1872.



St. Mary’s Catholic Church Postcard, c.1910 – 2012.044.614

St. Mary’s Catholic Church Exterior, c.1975 – 2014.003.280

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