The first Mass at St. Mary’s Parish was performed in a Sherman hotel room in the spring of 1872. Three years later, a small chapel was built at the corner of Travis Street and Eagle Lane. This structure was soon followed by a frame church dedicated to St. Mary. In 1905 construction began on a church designed by the renowned Texas architect Nicholas Clayton. It was completed in 1906 and would serve the parish for 103 years.
As a result of the increased population in the area, a new church was built in honor of St. Anne in 2009. It is situated across the street from St. Mary’s Church so that mother (Anne) and daughter (Mary) may gaze upon each other with love and tenderness. Both places of prayer continue to offer refuge, hope, and solace to the many who come to find God within their walls.
Since that spring day in 1872, prayer and praise have been offered continuously to Almighty God by the many parishioners of St. Mary’s Parish who have lived, worked, loved, and died here. We have seen many generations of faithful Catholics come through these doors as they do today. All people, whatever their time in our history, have spoken the words of the Psalmist, “How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, God of hosts.”
Alongside St. Mary’s Church has stood St. Mary’s Catholic School, founded in 1877 and given the name St. Joseph’s Academy by the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur. These Sisters came to Sherman to provide a Catholic education for the children in our town. St. Mary’s School is the oldest Catholic elementary school in the Diocese of Dallas and has continued to provide excellent academic and moral training since its opening. The men and women who teach in our school today follow in the footsteps of the sisters of St. Mary of Namur, demonstrating the same commitment and call to excellence.
We have come a long way from that hotel room in 1872, a distance measured not only in years but also in time, talent, and treasure given to our parish by the many parishioners who have expressed their faith alongside one another. We continue to show growth in our parish and in our school membership. We have more than 2,000 people attending our Sunday Masses each weekend. We have close to 170 students in St. Mary’s School. Our Sunday morning religious formation program offers instructions on our faith’s ways to more than 500 children.
By the grace of God and blessed with a people committed to serving God in this world, we find here a robust community of faith dedicated to listening to the Word of God and living it in daily life. We have many organizations, study groups, and charitable programs that bespeak the robustness of a people filled with the Spirit of God.