The Origin of The Church of St. Katherine of Alexandria in Baltimore City

During the latter part of the nineteenth century, the majority of white churches restricted persons of color from attending their papal services. In 1891, The Church of St. Katherine of Alexandria (also referred to as St. Katherine’s Church) was established for colored people by Mt. Calvary Episcopal Church. Information from various sources reveals several locations were used during our church’s infancy. From 1891 through 1911, worship services occurred in houses on North Calhoun Street, Whatcoat Street, and the corner of Gilmor and Presstman Streets.  Sister Petronella, other nuns from the Sisters of All Saints, and Mrs. Sargeant, Mt. Calvary Parish Member were key facilitators during our church’s  formation. The  nuns lived in the houses where worship services were held.

With help from the nuns serving as housemothers, two homes were placed under the auspices of our church.  Protection and care were provided to colored youth at Saint Mary’s and St. Katherine’s Homes for boys and girls respectively.  As a result of  our church’s work, its congregation continued to grow.  Priests from Mt. Calvary alternated at worship services. 

The Church of St. Katherine of Alexandria held its formal opening with mass at the large house on Gilmor and Presstman Streets on the eve of St. Katherine’s Day, November 24, 1899 at 8:00 p.m.  The house was formerly a mansion occupied by an owner of a large plantation. Mass was conducted at 9:00 a.m. on Sundays.  Sunday School was established and broadened to Friday evening painting classes for boys and sewing classes for girls.  At the end of 1899 until 1911, services were held at 1350 and 1360 North Calhoun Street.