Catholic Parish of St.

Catholic Parish of St. Bavo, Mishawaka, In

Founded : 1903

Pastor: Fr. Barry England


#1 #2 #3

#4 #5

1. The Exterior of St. Bavo's

2. St. Bavo's School

3. St. Bavo's Interior

4. Another view of Interior

5. Another view of Interior


Genealogy Records


LDS Records

 The Sacramental Records of St Bavo have been filmed by the LDS

Church records, 1903-1989

Catholic Church. St. Bavo (Mishawaka, Indiana) (Main Author)

Microfilm of originals in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Text in English and Latin.
Most volumes individually indexed.
Some pages wanting, faded, torn, etc.

Deaths 1903-1989 -  FHL US/CAN Film [ 1617050 Item 2 ]

Baptisms 1903-1930 -  FHL US/CAN Film [ 1617050 Item 3 ]

Baptisms (cont.) 1929-1950 -  FHL US/CAN Film [ 1617051 Item 1 ]

Marriages 1903-1947 -  FHL US/CAN Film [ 1617051 Item 2 ]

Confirmations 1905-1964 -  FHL US/CAN Film [ 1617052 Item 1 ]

First communion 1905-1960 -  FHL US/CAN Film [ 1617052 Item 2 ]

First communion (cont.) 1960-1968 -  FHL US/CAN Film [ 1617053 Item 1 ]


South Bend Public Library

Films are available in the Genealogy Center, second floor, Crimp Film rolls 20-21-22


Item 2             Deaths                                    1903-1989

Item 3              Baptisim                     1903-1950


Item 1              Baptisim                     1903-1950 cont.

Item 2              Marriage                    1903-1947


Item 1              Confirmation              1905-1964

Item 6              Communion                1905-1968

Roll 23

Item 1              Communion                1905-1968

Research assistance is available at 574-282-4621 in the Genealogy center 


Church Web Site and Contact: 


Web Site :



For Sacramental Records Contact St. Bavo’s  Parish

St Bavo Parish
511 W. 7th St.
Mishawaka, IN 46544
Phone: (574) 225-1437 Fax: (574) 255-0404

Sat: 5 p.m.

Sun: 7, 9, 11 a.m.

Weekday: Tue, Wed, Fri: 8 a.m. Mon, Thu: 5 p.m.

Holy day & Vigil: 7, 9 a.m. Vigil: 7 p.m.

Confessions: Sat: 9 to 10 a.m.

History of St.Bavo

SOUTH BEND. St. Joseph County.
St. Bavo (Belgian) Church.

St. Bavo parish history actually begins with the arrival of the first Catholic Flemish immigrants to this area in the 1840s. They worshiped with the German Catholic community at St. Joseph Church. As the Flemish community grew, the need for a Belgian priest to serve them became apparent. Father August Oechtering, pastor of St. Joseph's, made the necessary arrangements to have a Flemish speaking priest from Belgium sent to Mishawaka.

On September 2, 1902, Father Charles Stuer came from Belgium to assist Father Oechtering. At first there was no intention of organizing a separate parish for the Belgians. Most of Father Stuer's duties consisted of looking after the spiritual welfare of the Belgian people. Shortly after this arrangement was made, Father Oechtering became ill and died. Since things had changed, Father Stuer was going to leave Mishawaka, but before leaving he conducted a Mission for the Belgians. The Mission was a huge success. It revealed the number of Belgians in Mishawaka and the need of a resident Flemish priest was realized.

In March of 1903, the Flemish people petitioned Bishop Alerding of Fort Wayne for a parish of their own. Permission was given, Father Stuer was named our first pastor and on May 3, 1903 a wood-frame building was dedicated at the corner of 8th and West Streets to serve as church, school and hall.

On may 8th, 1904, a cornerstone for the present day location of St. Bavo's Church, the second Catholic church in Mishawaka, was blessed by Bishop Meerschaert of the Oklahoma and the Indian Territory. This brick church at the corner of 7th and West Streets was completed at the cost of $13,081.00 and was dedicated on January 1, 1905. The parish consisted of one hundred families at that time.

In February of 1989 the interior of the church underwent a complete facelift. The sanctuary was refitted with new pews throughout. The altar was brought out farther into the congregation and the pews were turned inward. The old ceiling tiles were replaced with wood paneling, the walls insulated and replastered and a new Wicks pipe organ was placed behind the altar in view of the congregation. A new baptismal font constructed of Indiana limestone was placed alongside the altar. Air conditioning and a rest room were also added. All the windows in the church were professionally repaired and cleaned.

The Stations of the Cross that adorn the sanctuary in the church were discovered by Fr. Shafer in the church basement. These were the stations from the original wooden structure that was used as a church in 1903.

As the parish grew, more special interest groups were formed. It was soon decided that a Parish Center was needed. In 2000 plans were drawn and a major pledge drive was begun. We undertook a $2 million project which included, raxing the old convent for more parking, converting a four-car rectory garage into a chapel, creating an addition to the school building for handicapped accessible, parish meeting rooms, additional rest rooms, new school staff offices, expanded library/media center, expansion and modernization of the existing kitchen and a lot of storage space. We dedicated the new building in 2003 as part of our 100 year anniversary.

Items of Historical Interest

MISHAWAKA. St. Joseph County.
St. Bavo's Church.

Rev. Louis de Seille was the first Belgian emigrant to America, who came to St. Joseph county to labor and die here, as we have recorded elsewhere. After him came other of his countrymen, settling in South Bend and Mishawaka. Rev. August B. Oechtering, pastor of St. Joseph's Church, Mishawaka, did all he could to welcome these brethern in the faith, and secured for them the serevices of priests of their own nationality, from time to time. Owing to the efforts made by Father Oechtering, the Bishop of Ghent sent a newly ordained Belgian priest, to take charge of the Belgian Catholics in Mishawaka. It was Rev. Charles L. Stuer, who arrived on September 29, 1902, and took up his residence with Father Oechtering, as assistant. The death of Father Oechtering, at the close of 1902, discouraged the young Belgian priest and he concluded to seek another field of labor. Before going, however, he would give the Belgians a mission, to disose them for their Easter Communion. The attendance during this mission revealed the fact, that the Belgian population of Mishawaka was much larger, than had been suspected. In response to the visit of a committee, Bishop Alerding visited Mishawaka, in March 1903, when it was determined to organize a Belgian parish. In less than three days, over $4,000 were subscribed, and in addition, Ivo Talleu donated six lots, and Leo Bultinck donated the present priest's house. On May 3, 1903 Bishop Alerding blessed a frame structure, 85x35 feet, to be used temporarily as a place of worship.
The corner-stone for St. Bavo's Church was laid, on May 8, 1904, by Bishop Meerschaert, Vicar-apostolic of Indian Territory, a Belgian by birth. It was on the first day of January, 1905, that the church was solemnly dedicated to the service of Almighty God, by Bishop Alerding. The parish has 201 families, numbering 975 souls. The amount of debt is $18,500. St. Bavo's has the Sodality of the Children of Mary, with twenty-seven members; the Rosary Confraternity, for Married Women, with fifty-four members; St. Bavo's Society, for Men, with seventy-seven members.
In 1906, the building used temporarily for worship, together with an addition built to it, was converted into a school of four-rooms. Adjacent to this school building a commodious frame residence was erected for the Sisters. The Dominican Sisters have charge of the schools. Three of these Sisters are, at present, teaching 120 children.

Source: Catholic Churches of St. Joseph County

Source University of Notre Dame Archives


The Patron of St Bavo’s Church

Saint Bavo, also known as Bavon, Allowin, Bavo of Ghent, Baaf, 589-564) is a Roman Catholic Saint.

Bavo was born in Brabant, Belgium, a Belgian Nobleman originally named Allowin. Wild as a youth, selfish. He was known to have sold servants to local nobles as slaves. Bavo was converted to Christianity upon hearing a sermon preached by Saint Amand.

He built an abbey on his grounds that was contributed to Saint Amand and then became a monk. He finally distributed his belongings to the poor and lived as a recluse, first in a hollow tree, later in a cell in the forest near the Abbey.

He died at St. Bavo's Abbey, in today's Belgium

Source: Catholic Encyclopedia

Information submitted by: Jim Piechorowski and John Kovatch

 Project Started: Saturday, September 10, 2005

Updated: Sunday, September 11, 2005 02:47:18 PM

Return To: Immigrations

Return To: Saint Joseph County, Indiana INGenWeb Site