St. Antoine/St. Mary's Church, Monroe Michigan
St Antoine St Mary, Monroe, Michigan
St. Antoine / St Mary, Monroe, Michigan

“The parish of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception was founded October 15, 1788 in the presence of Father Pierre Frechette, Pastor of St. Anne, Detroit and forty-two French Catholics who had settled along the River Raisin.

At the time the settlers promised to build a structure suitable for a resident pastor and for religious purposes. A Pottawatomi Chief had donated a parcel of land to be used for religious purposes, yet other land was accepted two and a half miles west of our present site. Fr. Edmund Burke, an Irish priest, became the first Pastor and the parish was dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua. It was then known as St. Antoine at the River Raisin. The pioneer priests were faced with many hardships caused not only by the poverty and independence of the parishioners but also by the restricting trustee form of parish government. Some of the priests only stayed a few weeks.

It was not until 1828 that a brick church was built closer to to town (at the northwest corner of North Monroe and West Noble). This church was to be referred to as the Fairgrounds Church.

It soon proved inadequate and in 1838 another brick church was built at the present site. The nave of St. Mary's is what remains of that church. In 1845 the parish was rededicated to St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception.”

Quoted from the St. Mary’s Parish Website

“St. Anthony’s parish, St. Antoine Sur La Riviere Aux Raisins, was founded in Frenchtown by Fr. Frechette in 1788. (The site is located on North Custer Road, one mile west of Telegraph Road, marked by a granite monument). It is the second oldest (now St. Mary’s, Monroe) parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit - only St. Anne’s, Detroit, is older. St. Antoine Sur La Riviere Aux Raisins (St. Anthony of the River Raisin) as it was called was destined to be the mother parish to St. Joseph Sur La Baie (Erie) since most of the settlers in the Bay Settlement came down from Monroe. For example, the largest family, Cousineau, had its origin in Monroe. Alexis Cousineau was born in St. Antoine, west of Monroe in November 1793, was baptized in Detroit, April 28, 1794. He was married in St. Antoine’s September 23, 1816 to Victoria Raoult. After their marriage they moved to Mud Creek, then the Bay Settlement. The church on Bay Creek was served by the priests from Monroe until 1837.”

Quoted from The St. Joseph Church, Erie, Michigan: 150th anniversary, an historical and biographical review, 1819-1969