Marian ShrineParish Office (507) 725-3804
School Office (507) 725-3355
Rectory (507 725-4408

Our mission is to hear the Word, share in the sacrifice, serve the Lord, and create community.

About the Church of St. Mary

St. Mary's had its beginnings in 1854, when Irish, German, and Luxemburg Catholics who settled in the Caledonia area began making plans to create a parish.  The first step was to dedicate a cemetery, now known as Calvary Cemetery. 

Having a school has also been important since the earliest days.  The first Catholic school in Caledonia opened in 1870, and when there were two parishes, there were also two schools.  In 1927 the schools were merged into the Central Catholic School System, which included Loretto High School.  Loretto closed in 1968.

Early Days

The Irish Catholics were the first to construct a church building in 1857 on the site now occupied by Merchant's Bank.  A newer structure replaced it in 1862 and the new church was given the name St. John the Baptist. 

The first Catholics of German and Luxemburg descent to settle in the Caledonia area did not speak English, so in 1870 two parishes were formed.  The German-speaking Catholics constructed St. Peter's Church from limestone hauled by wagon from Brownsville, then a 14-mile trip uphill over rough roads.  This church, now known as St. Mary's, remained essentially unchanged from its dedication in 1872 until 2002.

The bell tower was completed in 1873 and two years later, its three bells were installed.  The largest of the bells was donated by the married men of the parish and bears a Latin inscription: Through the intercession of St. Donatus, protect us, O Lord, against storms and lightening.  The second largest was from the young men of the parish in honor of St. Joseph, and bears the Latin inscription, From on high, I proclaim to the faithful the Lord most high.  The smallest bell bears the inscription in Latin, In honor of Sts. Anne and Mary.  Devoutly dedicated by the young ladies of the parish.  In 1925, the old bell tower was replaced with the current structure.

The church's Wickes pipe organ was installed new in 1936.  It has been refurbished and is in use today.  The Stations of the Cross are from Bavaria and were installed in the early 1900's.

St. John the Baptist and St. Peter's parishes were merged in 1976.  The new parish was renamed Church of St. Mary and was housed in the former St. Peter's church, which was the structurally sounder of the two.  Today the history of these parishes can be seen in the painted glass windows of the church: John the Baptist is on the north side, St. Peter on the south side, and St. Mary is between them in the apse.

St. Mary's Today

In 2002 a major refurbishment of St. Mary's was completed.  Two transepts were added and the altar was moved forward in the worship space.  A gathering space was added to the front of the church and a link to Holy Family Hall was constructed.  However, great care was taken to preserve the church's historical elements and appearance.

In 2004 St. Mary's was linked to St. Patrick's Church in Brownsville as part of a diocesan clustering plan.  The churches had separate pastoral councils and offices but shared a pastor. 

In 2017 St. Mary's was part of another re-clustering and was linked to St. Olaf's in Mabel.  The churches are sharing a pastor but maintaining separate pastoral council and offices.   St. Patrick's is now clustered with La Crescent.


Station of the Cross

One of the original Stations in St. Mary's Church

Church of St. Mary