Herald JournalHerald Journal, July 5, 2004

St. Mary's of Waverly celebrating 120 years

By Lynda Jensen

Parishioners have two reasons to celebrate this year at the Church of St. Mary – they are honoring 120 years of history, as well as the first year of Father Timothy Cloutier’s appointment last July.

Cloutier’s appointment is cresting a wave of growth and prosperity for the church, with about 700 families attending the church, and growing.

“We’ve definitely seen growth over the past year,” commented Mary Pettit of St. Mary’s.

“I am truly impressed at what the parishioners of St. Mary’s have accomplished as a parish, and what this parish has contributed to our communities during the past 120 years,” Cloutier commented.

“St. Mary’s has been a constant beacon of faith, a harbor of hope, and a witness to practical Christian charity for generations of Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

“I celebrate my first year as pastor here with a sense of pride and privilege at being a part of such a blessed and lively faith community,” he said.

Cloutier is committed to St. Mary’s for another 11 years, during which he will likely be rotated according to Catholic tradition, she said.

Cloutier formerly served in France and Austria, as well as spending four years at the Vatican in the 1980s.

After returning to the Twin Cities in 1995, Cloutier attended St. Thomas University.

Cloutier was assigned by Archbishop Flynn as parochial vicar to Immaculate Heart of Mary, Minnetonka in 1996, to St. Raphael, Crystal in 1998, and most recently to the Church of St. Mary, Waverly.

A new parish?

Nowadays, the church leadership is talking about the idea of building a new parish, commented Pettit said.

Surveys were sent out to families and the response was “overwhelmingly positive” in favor of the idea, she said.

Although building ideas are in their formative stages, it is possible the new parish may house a fellowship hall, classrooms, administrative offices, and youth areas, she said. One option may be to attach the parish to the existing church.

The church building itself is a page of history, with its Kasota stone trim and Minnesota-made bricks some of which were made right in Waverly.

The taller of the two towers rises to a height of 141 feet, the other is 98 feet tall.

The architect for St. Mary’s is thought to be Adophus Druiding, a German immigrant and successful architect in Chicago, since the church bears distinctive markings that appear to be Druiding’s work in that time period.

Druiding enjoyed a successful career by designing famous churches in Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and many other cities.

About 600,000 bricks were used for the church building, made in Chaska, Shakopee, and Waverly Mills (the former name of Waverly) were used for the church, which measures 138 by 43 feet wide.

The stained glass was manufactured by Brown and Haywood of Minneapolis.

There are three bells in the north tower, cast by Henry Stuckstede of St. Louis, Missouri.

A smaller bell in the south tower, dated 1874 and also cast by the Stuckstede firm is from the old church and is not used.

The church cost about $50,000 to erect and seats 850.

The church will likely make a much larger celebration when the church hits its 125th anniversary in 2009, she said.

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