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Founded in 1881, St. Elizabeth Church is located in Chicago, IL.

St. Elizabeth Church is the Mother Church of the Black Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Brief History of St. Elizabeth Church

St. Elizabeth Church - "The Mother Church" has been a beckoning light in the Bronzeville Community for more than 100 years.  After a merger with St. Monica Parish, the first Black Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Chicago, on December 6, 1924, St. Elizabeth attained the prestigious title of "The Mother Church".  Under the spiritual and educational leadership of The Society of Divine Word Missionaries and Saint Katharine Drexel with the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, many Blacks in the city of Chicago began their religious and educational journey at "The Mother Church".  We are the oldest African American Catholic Institution in the Archdiocese of Chicago: a Church with over 300 families, 3 weekend Masses with pastoral and financial councils, committees, and parish staff.


History of the St Elizabeth Murals

On Sunday, November 19, 1995 St. Elizabeth Church blessed its historic pictorial ceramic mural that tells the story of St. Elizabeth as “mother” church for Chicago Black Catholics.


The mural is in two sections and graces the outside walls of St. Elizabeth Church on the Michigan Avenue and 41st Street sides. Each mural is six by fourteen feet, and is made of brightly colored ceramic tiles.


east mural_2.jpgThe Michigan Avenue section highlights the person of Father Augustine Tolton, the first universally recognized black Catholic priest in the United States. He founded St. Monica Church (symbolized by a small church structure and a graceful African-American woman) at 36th & Dearborn in the 1890’s. This congregation merged with St. Elizabeth in 1924. Two other figures are part of this section: Mother Katharine Drexel, SBS, whose Blessed Sacrament Sisters have ministered both at St. Monica and at St. Elizabeth elementary and high schools; and Father Peter Claver, after whom the Knights of St. Peter Claver are named.


  south mural_2.jpg

The 41st Street section pictures an African-American woman as the symbol of St. Elizabeth, “mother” church of Chicago Black Catholics. Alongside her a stream of figures sweep toward the gothic structure that was the original St. Elizabeth. In the right hand corner is the bust of Fr. Joseph Eckert, SVD, the first Divine Word Missionary to pastor St. Elizabeth as he brought the St. Monica congregation to St. Elizabeth. In the upper left hand corner the Uganda Martyrs are a reminder of the old St. Elizabeth Church, now a community center and school gym. In the bottom left corner some basketball players recall the activities of Shield House, which stood on 41st and Michigan for many years.


The entire mural is the work of Ildiko Repasi, a Hungarian-born artist, who teaches at the Art Institute and has lived in Chicago since the late 1980's. She worked almost an entire year on the project.


This beautiful and historic mural was blessed as part of St. Elizabeth  HOMECOMING celebration on November 19, 1995. The celebrant of the 11:00 a.m. Mass was the Very Rev. James Bergin, S.V.D., Provincial Superior of the Society of the Divine Word, whose priests and brothers have served at St. Monica and St Elizabeth since 1917. Bishop George Murray, Vicar, represented the Archdiocese of Chicago and blessed the mural at about 12:30 p.m.


Call St. Elizabeth Church at (773) 268-1518 today!

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