Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church and School, Beaumont, Texas TX

Our Story

Beaumont was a rapidly growing city as the oil industry boomed during world war I and the years immediately following. Father Alexis LaPlante who had established the Blessed Sacrament Parish in down-town Beaumont soon realized the need for another parish in the rapidly growing suburbs.

Property for a cemetery had been purchased in Pear orchard and in 1926 additional property was purchased on Broussard Street across from the cemetery. This area was still rural with unpaved streets and remnants of the Pear Orchards that gave it its name. A mission chapel was built in 1927, donated by a benefactor from Philadelphia. The Church was served as a mission from Blessed Sacrament by Father LaPlante and his assistants.

In 1927, a school was built and opened with an enrollment of 134 pupils and three lay teachers.

In 1937, Our Mother of Mercy became a parish with the appointment of Father Francis Tighe, S.S.J., as pastor. A rectory was built with the generous aid of Mr. John Phelan, a local benefactor. For 2 years the developing mission at Orange, Texas, was attached to Our Mother of Mercy. A mission station was also served at Silver City.

In 1939, while Father Thomas Foley, S.S.J., was pastor, a new two story school was built, the second story being the convent. The Holy Ghost Sisters from San Antonio arrived and took over the management of the school. The school was built at a cost of $7,300.00.

In 1948, while Father Thomas Brophy, S.S.J., was pastor, a new convent was built and the old convent was converted into additional classrooms. By this time the school enrollment had risen to 400 and the congregation was listed at 1,800.

During the years of World War II, the growth of Beaumont accelerated. It became increasingly evident
that the parish needed larger facilities. Moreover the parish was growing to the west and the present location could not be enlarged.

In the late 1940s, the priest from Our Mother of Mercy began visiting the town of China, 12 miles west of Houston on a regular basis. In 1951, an acre of land was obtained and a small chapel built at a cost of $12,000.00. This was dedicated as St. Alphonsus mission and continued to be served by the priests of Our Mother of Mercy until it became an independent parish in 1975.

In 1962, another mission was established at Cheek, Texas, 6 miles west of China. The Bishop purchased a two acre site with an old school building. This was established as St. Martin de Porres Mission and was served by priests of our Mother of Mercy from 1968 until 1972.

In 1958, while Father Charles Hanks, S.S.J., was pastor, 10 acres of land was purchased at Sarah and Warren Streets at a cost of $25, 000.00 and plans were developed for a new church. The Josephite Society donated $10,000.00 towards this purchase.

In 1962, while Father Charles Crowley, S.S.J., was pastor, the construction of a new church was began at the new site. On September 23, 1962, the corner stone was laid and the church was completed and dedicated early in 1963. The church was capable of seating 800 persons. A new rectory was completed in June of 1964 and the official address for the parish changed from the old Broussard Street listing to the new Sarah Street location.

In the summer of 1964, the annual convention of the Knights of St. Peter Claver was held in Beaumont. All of the convention Masses were held at the new church. A temporary rectory was built at the new site.

In 1974, a new school and hall were completed and in 1977, a new rectory. The temporary rectory was converted into a convent, completing the transfer of all parish facilities to the new site.

From 1978 to 1987, while Father Raymond Woodka, S.S.J., was pastor, the parish continued to grow internally. The Parish Council was reorganized with commissions that were concerned with all phases of Parish life. An excellent Gospel Choir was organized and developed.

In 1982, the church, now 20 years old, was completely renovated and a new organ purchased. An additional 4 acres of land was purchased for future developmental needs.

In 1984, the parish hall was enlarged. In 1987, Our Mother of Mercy Parish celebrated its 50th Anniversary. On July 12, 1987, the memorial Mass was celebrated with the Mayor of Beaumont in attendance.

During its 65 years under Josephite administration, our Mother of Mercy Parish has registered 5,284 parishioners of which 638 were converts.