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Introduction to Collection

Our website is a collection of historical images from Old St. Mary’s church in San Francisco, California. This history should be documented and shared because of the importance of the Paulist mission that was adopted by the church. We present a pictorial timeline of Old St. Mary’s from construction to disaster to reconstruction as a way to show their journey and the endurance of the church and its community, and the faith of the congregation.

The images are divided into four categories: History, Pre-Disaster, Post-Disaster, and Restored St. Mary’s Church. The images convey the perseverance of the church and the strength of their message of inclusion to the spiritually lost, the immigrant community, and the disadvantaged. Prior to the reconstruction, there was debate on whether to move the location of Old St. Mary’s to a new, “better” neighborhood. The pastoral staff declined, wishing to stay in an area where they were more needed. Before the renovations were complete, the parishoners refused to leave the church community and worshipped in a temporary structure and the attached Paulist house.

The four categories of photographs help show both the strong and enduring foundations of the Paulist mission at St. Mary’s as well as the changes to the community over time. This information is important to the history of the church, the Paulists, the parishoners, and those who are still seeking spiritual guidance. Freedom and sharing of information is important to build community and to better the lives of those who seek happiness through the pursuit of this information.

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