Holy Guardian Angels Parish
St. Barbara Parish (Brookfield) and St. Louise de Marillac Parish (LaGrange Park) were united to form one new parish, Holy Guardian Angels Parish, effective July 2019 as part of Renew My Church. Holy Guardian Angels Parish is one parish with two worship sites (St. Barbara and St. Louise de Marillac). Daily mass is held at each site, including a weekly Spanish mass at St. Barbara.
During this time of change, these Holy Guardian Angels guide each of us in making decisions to make the best choices for each of our churches and provide spiritual protection that cover us like a blanket as we join together. Our Holy Guardian Angels renew us in Christian faith and lead us in good thoughts, works and words. God appoints an angel of heaven to every individual to be our guide and protector. In our world of daily change, we look to a host of angels to lead, inspire and foster a personal connection in each of us to come together as a strong faith community in our parish.
St. Barbara Church
In 1911, a handful of devout laity, met to discuss establishment of a Catholic Church in the Village of Brookfield, Illinois. At that time, Brookfield was just another Burlington Railroad stop, with dirt roads, wooden sidewalks and gas lights, where about 350 people resided. Mr. Ricker, a real estate developer, very generously offered three lots on Prairie Ave., and agreed to help defray some of the expense in building, if the new Church would be named for his mother, Barbara, and in honor of the virgin-martyr of the early church with the same name. About 63 resident families, tired of walking to LaGrange to St. Francis Xavier Parish for Sunday services and under the guidance of Father Joseph C. Bollman, the pastor of St. Francis Xavier in LaGrange, petitioned Archbishop Quigley of Chicago for permission to build their own church. It was granted.
Sunday Mass was held in the village hall until the new church was completed. The first mass of St. Barbara parish was officially offered on May 18, 1912. In August, 1912 the cornerstone of St. Barbara Church was blessed and construction of the new church began. St. Barbara remained a “Mission Church” under the banner of St. Francis Xavier, until 1916, when its first pastor, Fr. Jules Fortin was appointed.
Father Thomas L. Harmon succeeded Father Fortin on 1920. By 1923, the parish had tripled its number to 300 families. Fr. Harmon purchased the home at 4032 Prairie when he first came to the parish to be used as a rectory. In 1923, he sold the home and made plans to begin building a combination school, church and rectory. The cornerstone for this new building was laid October 30, 1923. The building was completed on February 7, 1924, and was solemnly blessed on February 10th by Reverend William A. Foley. The completion of a second building project within a little more than ten years was a fresh triumph for the active parish. Seating capacity of the new Church was 600. The school section of the building had six classrooms and there were ample priests’ quarters on the second floor above the school behind the Church.
St. Barbara School
St. Barbara School first opened in September 1924, with four Sisters of Saint Joseph assigned to teach full time in the new school building. Those pioneers were Sisters Virginia, Elizabeth, Fidelis and Agatha – who hand carried all their supplies, books and lunches as they traveled daily from the Motherhouse in LaGrange. In 1931, with school enrollment up to 300, two more classrooms and an assembly hall were added. In 1939, the first four resident Sisters moved into 4004 Prairie, while the remaining Sisters commuted by their “mission bus” to and from LaGrange. In 1948 the new convent built at 4000 Forest Avenue became the permanent residence of all Sisters teaching at St. Barbara’s School. With enrollment almost to 800, Father Tyrrell began work on a new school building in 1954. The school contains 14 classrooms, a library, and a large meeting/lunchroom facility, now called the Windemere room. The old school building, built in 1923, was demolished in 1980 for the construction of the new Parish Center. After surviving many waves of school closings in the Chicago Archdiocese, St. Barbara graduated its last class in 2013.
St. Louise de Marillac Church
St. Louise de Marillac parish was formed in July, 1955 to serve the people living in the northern part of Brookfield and the eastern part of LaGrange Park. The cornerstone of our main school building was laid in 1956 (with two later additions to the building in 1960 and 1962) and the cornerstone of our church was laid in 1957. In the summer of 2003, construction began on the latest addition to St. Louise, a 7,800 square foot Parish Center that was completed in May of 2004.
Our founding pastor, Father Cletus Lynch served from 1955 until 1976. Our second pastor was Father Edward Borisewicz serving the people of the St. Louise from 1976 until 1985. Our third pastor, Father John Hergenrother served from 1985 until 1997. Our fourth pastor Father Fred Tomzik served from 1997 to 2010. Our fifth and current pastor, Father Denis Condon has served the people of St. Louise de Marillac since September of 2010.
We, as a parish, feel that we have been blessed these years with many generous and involved parishioners, associate pastors, deacons, religious women, lay teachers and catechists, lay ministers, and dedicated support staff. All have worked together to form a spirit of community and family. We pray and hope to continue to support one another on our journey of faith in Jesus Christ and to celebrate who we are as His people in the Catholic Church.
St. Louise de Marillac School
St. Louise School has been educating children in the Catholic faith for over 60 years. After surviving many waves of school closings, St. Louise School will close June 30, 2020.