||In 1920, less than a dozen
Italian families resided in the city of Windsor. During
the 1920s, as
the number of immigrants grew, priests from the Order of Benedictine
Fathers would occasionally come from Detroit, to minister to
the Italian community.
By 1928, the number of Italian families
Merici Church original structure.
Courtesy of St. Angela Merici Church, P10468
||had grown to aproximately 150. In that year representatives
of the Italian community met with the Apostolic
| Delegate, Monsignor
Andrea Cassullo, on the occasion of his visit to Windsor, and spoke
to him of the need for a priest who spoke the language of the recent
immigrants and who understood their needs.
The Apostolic Delegate discussed the matter with the Bishop of
the Diocese of London, and arrangements were subsequently made
for an Italian-speaking priest to come from London once a week
to the spiritual needs of the Italian community.
At this time, the property where the church now stands, at
the corner of Erie Street and Louis Avenue, was nothing more
empty lot, which would be occupied for a short time each
year by a touring circus.
On the 27th day of January, 1929, Father Alfonso Page was appointed
Administrator of the Italian Community of Windsor, and it
was on that day that he and the Italian people of Windsor joined
together for the official opening of the “Italian Chapel” at
Sacred Heart Church. During the week of April 7-14, 1929,
the first Holy Mission to be preached in Italian, in Windsor,
conducted at the “Italian Chapel” by Rev. Father
It was soon after the opening of the “Italian Chapel”, in
1929, that an active group of women in that early Church
community founded the Christian Women’s Society. Four years
later on May 14, 1933, a chapter of the Holy Name Society was
among Italian men. It would eventually be primarily through
the leadership and efforts of these two groups that the church
St. Angela Merici would be constructed.
On December 1, 1935 the first real steps were taken toward
the founding of a permanent place of worship for the Italian
community in Windsor. On that day a general meeting was called
by the delegates of the five associations representing the Italians
in Essex County for the purpose of discussing the problems of
the Italian Community. On this day the decision was made to build
a national church which would be based on nationality and language
rather than geographic area.
A delegation of five men subsequently journeyed to Ottawa
to plead with the Apostolic Delegate, Monsignor Umberto
Mozzoni, to send an Italian priest to
help build the church. In August of 1938, the Apostolic Delegate had
met with Father Costantino DeSantis, then pastor of St.
in Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.A., and asked him to come to Windsor
to found a new Italian parish.