125th Anniversary


Sacred Heart Roslindale Celebrates 125 Years

Our Sacred Heart Parish was established in 1893. That means we are 125 years old this year. This is a time to look back and remember the people who built Sacred Heart and the legacy this parish has created in our community. It is also a time to look forward and ask ourselves what we want our parish to be and do in the future and what we can do to help this future come to be.

Over the next year, there will be many occasions to celebrate Sacred Heart Parish, to strengthen our fellowship, to build our spirituality, and to contribute to the future of this faith community. We will have opportunities to strengthen our bonds with each other, to support our neighbors in Roslindale and beyond, and to enrich our faith. Watch the bulletin and the Sacred Heart website for announcements of events, projects, and services. And make plans to participate in our celebration!

Out of Debt . . . What Next?

In 1893 Father Cummins had vowed that the new church would not be dedicated until it was paid. The dedication finally took place in 1910, after 17 years of fund-raising! And on November 29, 1915, Father Cummins was able to announce the removal of all of the church property “from every shadow of debt.”

Clearly what the church needed to do was to undertake another large building project: a school.

What did building a school entail? Land, a building, teachers (which in 1915 meant sisters), so another building, a convent. Father Cummins and his parishioners set to work and by December 1915 the priest had a proposal for Cardinal O’Connell: two properties along Brown Avenue were available for a total of $15,500. Sacred Heart had $7,000 in cash on hand and could assume the existing mortgages of $8,500 on the real estate with the cardinal’s approval, which was quickly given. In 1916, the Sisters of Charity of Convent Station, NJ were engaged to send teachers to the new school, and the existing mansion on Brown Avenue at Allen Street was dedicated as their convent. Father Cummins negotiated a bank loan of $50,000 for construction of the school itself. Ground-breaking took place on May 30, 1916 and the three-story building at the corner of Brown and Ashland was finished by January 1917.

Father Cummins had been obliged to ask the Cardinal for an additional $10,000 to finish the school. His request cited increased cost of materials; the Cardinal’s assent attributed the additional expense to furnishings. The Cardinal’s reply made it clear that he was not happy with the cost overruns. Father Cummins arranged for a mortgage to cover the original $50,000 loan, rather than ask for an extension. He did have to request an extension for half of the additional $10,000.

He got his extension, but he didn’t get the Cardinal to preside at the school’s dedication. On April 2, 1917 the St. Francis Xavier Grammar School was dedicated with a crowd of about 6,000 in attendance. Named for Mother Xavier of the Sisters of Charity, the fully equipped and superbly sited school represented the fulfillment of the dreams of Father Cummins and the people of Sacred Heart to build the spiritual future of the parish through their children’s education.

*Based on The Centennial History of Sacred Heart Parish by Neil J. Savage.

 Click here to see prior posts

Prior Topics Include:

  • Before the Beginning

  • Two Lots, One Tent and Christmas

  • We receive a name, boundaries . . . and a Priest

  • Lawn Parties, Lectures, Fund-Raisers Galore 

  • The Ultimate Fund-Raiser--the Ox Roast

  • The Golf Tournament—Still Raising Funds

  • Father Cummins is a Popular Man

  • Father Cummins Moves In

  • Dedication and Dedications

  • The Church Finished

  • The Windows

  • Integrated into the Fabric of Boston


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