Sweetest Heart of Mary Catholic Church
Location Name: Sweetest Heart of Mary Catholic Church (Detroit, Michigan)
Location Type: Church (Catholic)
Year Completed: 1893
Architect(s): Spier and Rohns
The history of the Sweetest Heart of Mary parish begins with a rift within a nearby church. For a variety of alleged reasons, Father Dominic Hippolytus Kolasinski was removed of his pastorate at Saint Albertus Catholic Church (less than half a mile east of Sweetest Heart of Mary). His removal factionalized the parish and Detroit’s growing Polish community. In 1889, Father Kolasinski organized Sweetest Heart of Mary to serve his followers. The new parish outside the jurisdiction of the Catholic Church decided to build a grand cathedral-like structure for its new home, and the cornerstone was laid on 05 June 1892.
Architectural firm Spier & Rohns was selected to build the Gothic Revival structure. At a final cost of $125,000, Sweetest Heart of Mary was officially dedicated (but not by the Catholic Church) on 24 December 1893. The massive Sweetest Heart of Mary is dominated by two 217-foot tall steeples on the Russell Street facade. The church, built mostly of red brick, houses the oldest existing Austin Organ (Opus 2). Sweetest Heart of Mary’s large stained glass windows were designed by the Detroit Glass Works and won prizes at the 1893 World’s Colombian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois.
Many Polish Catholics defected from the church to join Kolasinski at Sweetest Heart of Mary. To reassert their control over the renegade parish, the Vatican put pressure on Detroit Bishop John Foley to make peace with Kolasinski. On 18 February 1894, Kolasinski and his church were officially received into the Diocese of Detroit.
Today, Sweetest Heart of Mary remains part of the now Archdiocese of Detroit, and remains one of the most spectacular and impressive houses of worship in the Midwest.
Sweetest Heart of Mary Catholic Church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.Sources