Saturday, May 06, 2017

St. Mary Church (St. Clair)

In 1764, British forces built a fort at the mouth of Pine River, a tributary of the St. Clair River. In 1817, Robert Fulton platted a town on the north side of the Pine River and lobbied for the creation of St. Clair County. He then convinced the state to make his settlement the new county seat and St. Clair remained the county seat until it was transferred to Port Huron in 1871.
A historic map of St. Clair, dating to 1868 - Source

Bishop Peter Paul Lefevere established St. Mary Parish in 1850 with Rev. Fr. Lawrence Kilroy as the founding pastor. Three years later, a modest church was built on the banks of the Pine River.

Construction of the current brick church began in 1864, half a mile north of the original church, under the direction of Rev. Fr. Francis VanderBom. The cornerstone was laid and construction was completed the following year. Women from the parish formed bricks and they were hauled to the site. The cost of construction was $13,000 ($185,000 adjusted for inflation). 

Transepts were added to the church in 1921, under the direction of Rev. Fr. Edward J. Kromenaker, and a parish school was established.
St. Mary School as it appeared in the 1940s, before the gym was added - Source

Madonna and Child in a garden between the church and rectory.

The traditional three doors on the front entrance along with a large cross in the cement plaza.

The Descent of the Holy Spirit pictured in the center of the ceiling.

Side altars for the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, respectively, decorated for the Easter season.

Scenes of the Gospels and childhood of Jesus are depicted in the transept windows
The windows along the nave are geometric with various symbols at the top.

A rose window of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the south transept.

Sacred Heart of Jesus in the north transept.

Deposition of Christ in the south transept; the baptistery in the north transept.

Trefoil windows above doorways show organic patterns along with symbols of the papacy and episcopate.

Ichthys, ΙΧΘΥΣ, in the gates of the altar rail along with symbols of the Eucharist.

Decorative trusses line the ceiling, each had a small symbol of the church at the joints.

St. Mary's Cemetery stands two miles away from the church, straddling Rattle Run Road, the western edge of St. Clair.

Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays bring 8:00am Mass preceded by Confessions. Thursday evening Mass is at 6:30pm; Mass Mass is also offered at 9:00am on Fridays and Saturdays.


For more info: bulletin archive
For more photos: AOD Film Services
For more history: City of St. Clair
About St. Mary's Cemetery: U.S. Gen Web Archives


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