Our Lady of Lourdes

Project Name
Our Lady of Lourdes

4640 N. Ashland
Chicago, Illinois

Project Status
Merged with St Mary of the Lake
Future of the church uncertain

Project Date/s

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Our Lady of Lourdes parish began in 1892 on the north side of Chicago. The church relocated twice, including moving the entire Spanish Renaissance style church from the east side of Ashland Avenue to the West side in 1929. At that time, the city of Chicago wanted to widen Ashland Avenue where the church was located. The Pastor of the church, Rev. James Scanlon, purchased property across the street and hired the Crowe Brothers Moving Company to move the entire church, which weighed more than 9,000 tons. It took 2 weeks to lift the church 6 feet. It was set on rollers pulled by a team of horses on a steel track, moving a foot a minute. Once across the street, the church was cut in half, and a thirty foot addition added to the middle.
John Mallin decorated the church in 1954. The mural behind the altar done by Mallin represents “The Blessing of Our Lady of Lourdes” and shows the visions of St Bernadette. The figure of Cardinal Stritch of Chicago was placed in the mural, as shown in the newspaper photo on this web page. Originally, below the altar painting were figures of Christ and St. Matthew, St John, St. Luke, St. Mark Evangelist, Pope Pius X, and St. Patrick, as shown in the original architectural photos and documented by Mallin. The figures were removed in 1983 to simplify the church and refocus on the altar. They were stored in the church basement until Fr. James Colleran brought them back and had them hung in the business office. The dome decoration includes the 12 apostles, with designs done in 23 carat gold mosaic.

The church also includes a Grotto which is a replica of the original Grotto in Lourdes, France.


John A Mallin Brochure
Newspaper article, “Notes on Lourdes Centennial, 1957, Newspaper Unknown.

Photos by Noah Vaughn