<<open menu
Close ×
<<close menu


By the 1950s, Our Lady of the Angels was one of the largest parishes in Chicago, serving mostly Italian and Polish families. The memories that have been shared with us by former parishioners have given us a great respect and appreciation for the large, generous and joyful Catholic community at Our Lady of the Angels parish in the years before the tragic school fire in 1958. Below is a brief timeline of the important events in the parish from its founding to 1958.

Our Lady of the Angels Parish History (Pre-1958)

Our Lady of the Angels parish was founded by Fr. James Hynes to serve the Irish Catholics who had moved to the area. The parish briefly functioned out of storefront on Augusta and Monticello until the first church was built. This original church stood on the same site as the present church building.


Original school was built. The population of the parish increased rapidly.





The Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary began serving at the school.


Expanded church-school building was dedicated. The original school and church were soon not big enough to hold all the parishioners. Additions were made to the school building, and the school building was also used for the church.


After World War I, many Italians and Polish families moved into the neighborhood and joined the parish.


Fr Cussen




Fr. Joseph Cussen came to the parish.


Fr. Cussen spearheaded the construction of the new church and rectory. The cornerstone of the church was laid on October 15, 1939.


Altar Boys



First Mass was celebrated in the new church on November 3, 1940. The rectory was ready for priests to move in on June 1, 1940. The new church can hold 1130 people.



Cornerstone was laid for the new convent building. The sisters originally lived in the old school. They later briefly moved to a six flat on the southeast corner of Iowa and Avers in the early 1950s. The new convent building could hold up to 37 sisters.



Information source: Koenig, Msgr. Harry. A History of the Parishes of the Archdiocese of Chicago. (Chicago, 1980).
Picture and information source: Morgan, Eric. “Our Lady of the Angels Fire Memorial,” last modified May 26, 2013,