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St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church - National Fund For Sacred Places
2017 Cohort

St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church

Indianapolis, Indiana

Located in Indianapolis, St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church is considered to be one of the finest churches outside of Chicago designed by architect Henry J. Schlacks.

St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church by Rev. Doug Hunter
St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church by Rev. Doug Hunter
2017 Cohort

St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church

Indianapolis, Indiana

Located in Indianapolis, St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church is considered to be one of the finest churches outside of Chicago designed by architect Henry J. Schlacks.

The congregation was originally founded in 1921, a year after the canonization of St. Joan of Arc, to serve worshippers of German and Irish descent who were moving beyond the reach of the central cathedral in downtown Indianapolis. St. Joan of Arc quickly outgrew its original church and commissioned Schlacks as the architect for a new Romanesque Revival church, which was completed in 1929. Trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Schlacks began his career in the famed offices of Adler & Sullivan before starting his private practice, which became one of Chicago’s finest church design firms, and later founding the architecture department at the University of Notre Dame.

Today, according to the congregation, St. Joan of Arc remains an “open church and school, welcoming all who enter its doors and community.” St. Joan of Arc Catholic School, founded alongside the congregation in 1921, currently has 450 students, 200 of which participate in after-school and summer programs. The congregation also operates a community garden and contributes to several outreach ministries such as the Refugee Clothing Project and St. Vincent de Paul Society. Each year, the church hosts the French Market, a festival with French food, entertainment, and Mass in French, which attracts over 10,000 people.

A National Fund grant of $250,000 with $500,000 in matching funds raised by the congregation will contribute to a multi-phased restoration. The congregation has already addressed problems with the HVAC system, enhanced accessibility, and created an endowment for future maintenance. The National Fund project scope will include restoring the clerestory windows in the sanctuary and mitigating water infiltration in the narthex. According to the congregation, restoring the building has allowed it “to take pride not only in [the building’s] history” but also in creating a space in which it is proud to invite new community members.

St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church by Rev. Doug Hunter

St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church by St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church

A Postcard Tour of Historic Houses of Worship

The vast quantity of postcards depicting historic houses of worship is best evidenced through the James R. Tanis Collection of Church Postcards. The collection of more than 20,000 postcards illuminates the range of religious architecture in the United States from monumental cathedrals to one-room meeting houses. Read more for a postcard tour highlighting the history and significance of select congregations in the National Fund for Sacred Places.

James R. Tanis Collection of Church Postcards

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