St. Mary Magdalen–Est. 1872

St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi was formed in 1872 from St. Theresa in Rhodelia and Holy Guardian Angel in Mount Merino, near Irvington. Father Jule Pierre Roaux of St. Theresa, recently arrived from France, was responsible for developing the new parish. A frame church was constructed on two acres which had been purchased in 1871 for thirty dollars. Two pastors later, in 1879, Bishop William G. McCloskey confirmed fifty people and formally blessed the church.

In 1883, the first resident pastor was Father John Thomas O’Connor, who had been ordained just a week. After building a rectory, he expanded the church for the growing congregation and made many improvements. Additional acreage was purchased later for the cemetery and picnic area. During his eighteen-year pastorate (1902-1920), Father Bernard Doherty remodeled the church and built a beautiful rectory.

Fire destroyed the church on March 5, 1936 but the congregation was determined to rebuild, a courageous undertaking during the Great Depression. A red-brick structure with stone trim, seating 450, was blessed by Bishop John A. Floersh on March 29th, 1937

The parish sent seventy-five young men to the armed services during World War II. Many were brothers, including two Clark brothers killed in action and the six Mattingly brothers. Two daughters of the parish have become Ursuline Sisters. Besides a parish hall built in the 1950’s, numerous additions and improvements have been made, including a new rectory basement, porch and ten classrooms in the hall. Also, a gathering space added to the front of the church.

With almost 500 parishioners, bonds of family and of history knit together this community, which enjoys celebrating together and taking responsibility for the life of the parish.

History of Our Patron Saint

St. Mary Magdalen was actually baptized as Catherine. As a young girl, age 12, she vowed her virginity and convinced her father to let her pursue religion even though he was planning her marriage. She became a nun and changed her name at the age of 18 at the monestary of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence. As a nun her motto was, “To suffer or die.” She had a heavy heart for the sins of people and spent many hours in prayer and silence. St. Mary Magdalen had a passion for Communion and cherished it. Her sisters called her “the Mother of Charity” and the “Charity of the Monastery.”

“The last thing I ask of you-and I ask it in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ-is that you love Him alone, that you trust implicitly in Him and that you encourage one another continually to suffer for the love of Him.”–St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi