Our History

A Heritage of Faith: Honoring the Legacy of Our Lady

Since the first Jesuit Fathers arrived in 1848, St. Mary’s has been under the protection of Our Lady and a symbol of our Catholic Faith. Countless souls — priests, brothers, nuns and laypersons — have come to St. Mary’s in response to the call of Our Lord and to labor here under His continual providence. Today, we walk in the footsteps of those who came before us. Let us honor our Catholic heritage by answering the divine call of our Blessed Mother to build the Immaculata.



St. Mary’s Mission is founded by the Jesuits. The first cathedral is raised west of the Missouri River and east of the Rockies, and named the Church of the Immaculate Conception. The town of St. Mary’s is established in 1869



On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Father Shyne introduces a plan to build the Immaculata, a chapel dedicated to the new Jesuit seminary, separate from the parish in St. Mary's. 300 alumni of the College are invited to pledge $100. The cornerstone is laid in 1907. The Immaculata, a jewel of Gothic architecture, is dedicated in 1909.



St. Mary’s College celebrates its centenary. To date, 300 priests have been ordained in the Immaculata.




The Jesuits depart. The Immaculata and St. Mary’s College fall silent.



Archbishop Lefebvre visits St. Mary’s and recognizes the Immaculata’s beauty and its symbolism, in the heart of America, of a Catholic renaissance. SSPX assumes ownership.



A fire during renovations destroys the roof and interior. Archbishop Lefebvre returns in 1979 to call for rebuilding; 1,000 people attend. In 1980, storms topple standing walls, exposing the revered statue of Our Lady




St. Mary’s Parish surpasses 2,000 parishioners. Rebuilding efforts begin again, led first by Fr. Griego and then Fr. Fullerton. $1 million is raised. Years of dedicated efforts, and the unerring hand of Providence, lay the groundwork for final planning to come.



With $15 million raised, Fr. Rutledge leads development and gets approval of plans for a monumental church to honor Our Lady and build on past efforts. The church will serve a growing community of 4,000 souls, and be a symbol of hope for traditional Catholicism worldwide.

It is the will of God (that the Immaculata be restored).
— Father Franz Schmidberger First Superior General of the SSPX