2023 Cohort

St. Adalbert Catholic Church

(Roman Catholic)

South Bend, Indiana

For nearly a century,  St. Adalbert Roman Catholic Church in South Bend has provided spiritual, cultural and social guidance to first the Polish, then Hispanic immigrant communities in the city.  

St. Adalbert Catholic Church by Gregory Kil

St. Adalbert Catholic Church by Gregory Kil

2023 Cohort

St. Adalbert Catholic Church

(Roman Catholic)

South Bend, Indiana

For nearly a century,  St. Adalbert Roman Catholic Church in South Bend has provided spiritual, cultural and social guidance to first the Polish, then Hispanic immigrant communities in the city. 

The St. Adalbert congregation was organized in 1910 to serve South Bend’s Polish speaking immigrants, many of whom came to the city to work in factories, construction, and agriculture. The current church was constructed from 1923-1926 and designed by the Chicago-based firm Worthmann & Steinbach in the Neo-Gothic “Polish Cathedral” style.  Ten large canvas murals painted by John A. Mallin in 1941 adorn the walls of the church, including the Polish Worker Mural, unusual in that it does not depict religious iconography but rather serves as a testament and tribute to working class people. For nearly a century, St. Adalbert Parish was the center of Polish spiritual, cultural, and social life in South Bend. Beginning in the 1990s, immigrants from Mexico began coming to the West Side of South Bend for the same reasons as earlier Polish immigrants – to work in factories, construction, and agriculture. Since that time, St. Adalbert has transformed into a center of life and faith for both Polish and Hispanic communities. The parish is a congregation of about 900 families (3,000 parishioners) of which 90% are first- or second-generation Spanish-speaking immigrants.   

Today St. Adalbert Parish is the cornerstone and de facto community center of its largely Spanish-speaking neighborhood, providing needed services through outreach programs including education, youth recreation, food assistance, and translation services. St. Adalbert also opens its doors to the City of South Bend when the city needs to reach out to the Spanish-speaking population, hosting bilingual events such as a listening session for South Bend’s comprehensive 2045 City Plan and an open house for the mayor.  

A National Fund grant of $250,000 with at least $500,000 in matching funds to be raised by the congregation will support repairs to St. Adalbert’s exterior building envelope, including the roof, masonry, windows, and doors. This is an urgent need identified by a recent building conditions assessment, which indicated evidence of interior leakage, plaster deterioration, and water staining inside the building.   

St. Adalbert Catholic Church by Gregory Kil

Spotlighting Women’s History at Historic Houses of Worship

Religious institutions have served both as a platform for the advancement of women’s rights and opportunities, and women have played critical roles in advancing religious traditions. The leadership and community building opportunities within these sacred sites have been critical to increasing female independence outside of the home and allowing women to develop institutions that strengthen their congregations and broader communities. The four historic houses of worship highlighted embody positive examples of how the histories of women and religion are inherently linked.

First Church in Oberlin

Stories and Media Coverage

Read more about how the National Fund for Sacred Places is helping congregations around the country rehabilitate their sacred places.

Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church by Luis P. Gutierrez