Our History

Saint Brigid Parish has a long history dating back to 1866, when it became the first permanent organized Catholic Church in the Midland area. Saint Brigid Parish began with the arrival of the William B. Keeley family from Ireland. They, along with many other Irish Catholics who were living in the area, would gather and pray together in homes around town.

Saint Brigid Church was originally established as a mission church, served by a priest on horseback from Saginaw. In 1884, it became a parish serving the Catholic population of Midland County, Auburn and Freeland. By 1871, construction on the church began at the corner of Indian and Haley streets thanks to the generosity of John Larkin, who donated $100 and most of the lumber.

In 1908, Benjamin Bradley offered to sell his current home and two lots at Ashman and Larkin to Saint Brigid Parish. It took three weeks to move the church on log rollers to its new address at Ashman and Larkin. The residence on his property, known today as the historic Bradley House, was built in 1874 and was used as the parish rectory.

By 1922, the parish had determined that a school was needed, so they opened Saint Brigid Catholic School to 150 students who were taught by the Sisters of Mercy. The last of the Sisters of Mercy left in 1981, and since then the school has been staffed entirely by lay teachers. All teachers today are fully state-certified and participate in continuing education programs.

Growth forced the parish to build a larger church, so in 1941, a new brick and stone structure — still in use today — was dedicated by Bishop William Murphy. The three marble altars in the church were donated by Mrs. Grace Dow, and because of the war in Europe, spent years being preserved in a cave in Italy. They were eventually installed in the church in 1947.

The Bradley House, which served as the parish rectory for 60 years, was moved to Emerson Park in 1969 and is now part of the Midland County Historical Society Museum. The current rectory was designed by Alden Dow Associates, and is a classic example of his Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired architecture.

Saint Brigid Catholic School has a long and proud tradition of offering excellence in Catholic education and has sent nearly 1,500 graduates into the world. Our graduates include the late James Hickey, formerly the Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, D.C., who blessed the new school and parish center that opened in 1983.