History of the Parish

bell tower

The parish of the Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin was established in Old Valmeyer on March 24, 1921. The Valmeyer parish was made a mission attached to St. Francis of Assisi Church which had been founded in Harrisonville in 1866. The church was dedicated on Thanksgiving 1923.

In 1935, the church was extensively remodeled and expanded, and was dedicated in honor of the St. Mary under the title of Seven Sorrows.

In 1940, due to the increased attendance at St. Mary, it was designated a parish and the St. Francis of Assisi Church in Harrisonville became a mission. Also, a parsonage was constructed on a lot directly west of the church.

In each of the years 1943, 1944, and 1945, St. Mary survived the floods that left behind muck and mud to be shoveled out of the church.

In 1966-1967, a parish center was erected on the west end of Old Valmeyer.

In 1974, the bell which once called parishioners of St. Francis at Harrisonville, was dedicated to service at St. Mary.

In 1979, St Mary Church was once again extensively remodeled.

On Mother's Day 1993 a marble sculpture of St. Mary's patron saint, Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin, was dedicated and placed in the yard of the church.

In 1993, St. Mary was hit by a flood far surpassing the floods of the 1940's. With the Village of Valmeyer destroyed, but the congregation refusing to scatter, Mass was first held in the the Madonnaville church and then in Gibault High School. In 1995 a fire in Gibault's library destroyed a lot of St. Mary's belongings.

Because of the fire at Gibault, another move was necessary, and in late 1995 services were held in a temporary trailer used by the Valmeyer school. Holiday Masses were shared with Madonnaville, but Sunday worship continued at the school trailer until the completion of the new church in the relocated Valmeyer on Christmas Eve, 1995. The bell pictured right, was once again relocated.