A Symbol of Catholic Values

A Symbol of Catholic Values

February 18, 2020

Honoring our past, celebrating our present, preparing for our future
by Johan M.J. van Parys, Ph.D.

During his Christmas sermon in 1903 Archbishop John Ireland announced his desire to build a church in Minneapolis that would strikingly symbolize the values and significance of the Catholic Church. He asked for the support and cooperation of the parishioners of the church of the Immaculate Conception in realizing this dream. By early 1904 committees had been established and the project had begun.

In 1905 Archbishop Ireland appointed Emanuel Masqueray as the principal architect for the project. Masqueray was born in Dieppe, France in 1861. He was educated in Rouen and Paris where he studied architecture at L’École des Beaux Arts.  He came to New York City in 1887 to work for the firm of John Mervin Carrère and Thomas Hastings, fellow students at L’École des Beaux Arts in Paris. Five years later, he joined the office of Richard Morris Hunt, the first American architect to attend L’ École des Beaux Arts. Of note is that while in New York he established two so-called Ateliers where he taught young architects. One atelier was for men, the other for women. About the latter he said that he had “unbounded faith in women's ability to succeed in architecture...provided they go about it seriously.” In 1901 he left New York to become Chief of Design for the St. Louis Exposition. In 1905 he moved to St. Paul to work on the St. Paul Cathedral and the Pro-Cathedral of Saint Mary, now The Basilica of Saint Mary. 


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From BASILICA Magazine Fall 2019



Supporting The Basilica Landmark restoration honors the history and plans for the future of The Basilica.