St. Mary’s Church has graced Annapolis as the city’s main house of worship for Catholics since 1860. However, visitors of many faiths have been impressed by her architectural beauty both inside and out. Constructed in 19th Century Gothic Revival style, its magnificent steeple and bell tower overlooking Duke of Gloucester Street have beckoned parishioners to worship for more than 150 years.
For most of America’s Colonial Period, people of the Catholic faith were prohibited by law from voting, holding public office, and worshiping in public. Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, was forced to worship within his own home in Annapolis. Only after the Revolutionary War had begun, did Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland pass acts of religious tolerance in 1776.
Carroll passed away in 1832, and his daughters inherited his properties. One granddaughter, Maryanne Caton Patterson, oversaw the building of St. Mary’s, the modest first church. In 1852, Carroll’s four granddaughters donated the Carroll House and its grounds to the Redemptorists.
The religious order then built the new church aided by Rector Michael Mueller, who collected donations by going door-to-door. Although only about 100 Catholics lived in the area, Mueller planned a church for a congregation of 500 and was considered mad. Nevertheless, St. Mary’s was completed in 1860 after two years of construction.
Renovation & Beauty
Prior to its 150th Anniversary Celebration in 2004, St. Mary’s was renovated with a budget of $1 million. For the most significant transformation, its beautifully ornate arched ceilings were restored by first removing aged fans and long-faded paint. Thereafter, artists painted its surface with shades of blue, imitating the firmament, and adorning it with stars.
What is not often noticed is the small remarkable, garden behind the church. A hidden haven in the middle of a busy city, only a few are aware of the serenity the garden offers. There stand statues of the Lady of Fatima and St. Francis Xavier Seelos, a Redemptorist missionary. Beyond the garden’s exit is a wonderful view of Spa Creek and Chesapeake Bay.
St. Mary’s Details
Office Hours: Monday to Friday – 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Saturday – 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sunday – 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Address: 109 Duke of Gloucester Street, Annapolis, Maryland 21401
An Inn Near the Church
St. Mary’s Church is only half a mile away from Gibson’s Lodgings, a historic inn located in downtown Annapolis. Call us to reserve your room at our toll free number 877-330-0057. We’ll be very happy to serve you and your family throughout the year.