St. Mary's Church
the distinction of being the first Catholic Church in Elgin. Originally
established as an academy for women of all denominations in 1880, The Sisters of
Charity set out to mold minds "...in the ways of rectitude and virtue, thus
developing the moral and intellectual qualities simultaneously".
began construction in 1896 and took three years to complete. Once finished, it
was the most costly church erected in the city. Since it predated all other
Catholic institutions, students came from a wide geographic area, as well as
Elgin and South Elgin. St. Mary’s Church parishioners were largely Irish and
other Catholic schools and churches, such as St. Joseph’s, would be built so
that parishioners could withdraw from the Irish domination.