310  Sengstak St. Mobile, AL 36603
(251) 432-5270 - (251) 432-5271 (fax)

History

In October of 1900, a school was opened in the original building that served as the new parish then named St. Anthony. In October of 1902, five Glen Riddle Franciscan Sisters arrived to take over the school and remained for five years. Lay teachers operated the school from 1907 to 1911 when Sisters of the Holy Spirit from San Antonio, Texas took over the educational mission of the parish in September of that year.

In 1912, a school annex was built at Davis Avenue and St. Ann Street, one mile north of the parish plant. This annex school continued until 1927 when a brick school building replaced the many temporary buildings used by the school. A full high school program was initiated in September of 1911 and   continued until 1964, when integration opened McGill-Toolen High School to African-Americans.

The Holy Spirit Sisters staffed Most Pure Heart of Mary School from 1911 to 1943, when the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, Wisconsin replaced them and who continued to serve until 1990. The school was then staffed with a lay principal and teachers until 1993. In September of 1993, the Glen Riddle Franciscan Sisters returned to manage the school.

Lay teachers, 1900-1902 Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, 1902-1907 Lay Teacher, 1907-1911 Holy Spirit Sisters, San Antonio, 1911-1943 Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, 1943-1990 Lay Teachers, 1990-1993 Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, 1993-2012.  2012 - present Lay Teachers.

The Church was organized in 1899 as St Anthony's Mission by Creoles of African descent. The Mission was served by Josephite Priests, Rev. Joseph St. Laurent and Rev. Louis Pastorlli. By 1901, a small school was established. The construction of the present church was completed in 1908. The name was changed to Most Pure Heart of Mary in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mother. The Parish continued as a spiritual beacon to black Mobilians during the Civil Rights Movement of the late Sixties and early Seventies. Most Pure Heart of Mary was the public meeting location for the Neighborhood Organized Workers-NOW. Diocesan priests and nuns participated in boycotts and marches in support of the black community. Most Pure Heart of Mary parish continues as a foundation for Black Catholics in Mobile.

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