Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Sweetest Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church

In 1871, about three hundred Polish families organized St. Albertus Parish in Detroit. Father Dominic Hippolytus Kolasinski from Krakow, Poland was chosen as pastor. In November 1885, trouble and dissension polarized the parish into two factions which led to Kolasinski’s suspension and reassignment. On December 8, 1888, Kolasinski returned to the city. With dissidents from St. Albertus, he formed the Parish of the Sweetest Heart of Mary outside the jurisdiction of the Detroit Diocese. On February 18, 1894, Kolasinski and his congregation were officially received into the Diocese of Detroit.

Shortly after Kolasinski’s return, construction began on a church-school building on Canfield Avenue. On June 10, 1889, the congregation dedicated the multipurpose building at Canfield and Russell streets. The building soon proved too small and the Detroit architectural firm of Spier and Rohns were engaged to design the present Late Gothic Revival style building. The cornerstone was laid on June 5, 1892, and on December 24, 1893, the church was officially dedicated.

Reputedly designed by Detroit Stained Glass Works, the south transept window features Jesus working in his father’s carpenter shop, while the north transept is dedicated to Saint Vincent de Paul. The Holy Family window was shown at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago and was presented with a special award. The 1894 Austin Organ Opus 2 was restored in 1977 and now has an electromagnet system.

In 2013, Sweetest Heart of Mary joined with St. Josephat to form Mother of Divine Mercy Parish.



Sweetest Heart of Mary Church Exterior, c.1975 – 2014.003.584

Sweetest Heart of Mary Church Interior, c.1960 – 2014.003.256

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