Gros Islet Church

Gros Islet
The early importance of Gros Islet as a parish is borne by the fact that one of the first priests who arrived in St. Lucia in 1749 settled there, and so one can safely affirm that there was a church early in Gros Islet (around 1765) because of the presence of a priest there.

The parish of Gros Islet has been blessed by being the recipient of many churches with the present church as the fifth. It was blessed by Archbishop Dowling (of Trinidad and Tobago) on 31st May 1933. It was measured 150ft. long and 70ft. wide. The initiative to build the present church was taken by Fr. Besson who served as parish priest 1913-1927. The plan of the church was drawn by Mr. L. Lawrence . Fr. Besson expressed his intention to build the church at every visit of Archbishop Dowling. After much effort and work on the foundation the cornerstone was solemnly blessed and laid by Archbishop Dowling on 6th June, 1927.
Gros Islet Church St.Lucia
Many priests were involved in the work and improvement of the church building and it's attribute to the Gros Islet primary School at the time to produce one man a builder in the person of Epiphane Scott who undertook the construction and general supervision of the church to its completion under the watchful eye of the late Fr. Vieillevigne the parish priest at the time.

The Belfry was erected in 1891 and the two big bells named Joseph and Josephine were ordered by Abbe Chassang. They were blessed on 16th December 1893 by Archbishop Flood in the presence of the very Reverend Father Tapon, vicar General Father Rousseau (Soufriere) and Father Rochereau.

In 1985 Gros Islet village was elevated to a town much to the delight and joy of the community.

A great honor and blessing was bestowed upon Gros Islet when his Holiness Pope John Paul 11 officiated mass at Rodney Bay on 7th July 1986.

The chapel to the south of the town in Chapel Street was built by the La Rose Society in and the Holy water founts which now in the new-church was built by Les Marguerites.

The Catholic School- was not a permanent Institution up to 1897. There was a Catholic school from 1861 to 1870, in 1882 and from 1885 to about 1893.

The Mico School- called after Lady Mico had a better head teacher that explains why it lasted longer than some others. Sister Claire was the first Head teacher.

The presbytery- was a rented house up to 1845, from 1845 to 1883 the presbytery was the central part of the old Convent. Abbe Chassangs presbytery was certainly a definite improvement which is still today's presbytery. Father Dregast was also to buy the former Mico School. It had been handed over to the Government by the Mico Trustees in June 1891.

Gros Islet was to remain without a parish priest for the next 26 years, exactly from May 1812 to April 1838. The parish priests of Castries were in charge of Gros Islet; they came occasionally, when there were but one or two priests in St. Lucia (from 1812 to 1816 and 1824 to 1826) more frequently when there were three (3) priests in the island (from 1817-1823), once a fortnight, when the number of priests increased from (1827 to 1838). Sometimes a visiting priest for instance Abbe Rendon of St. Vincent in 1825, ministered to the people.

It was also during those priestless years that a new church was built in Gros Islet. The dreadful hurricane of October 21st, 1817, had blown down the old church. At the parish Assembly of 4th July 1819, it was decided that a wooden chapel be built on the very site of the previous church in order to have Holy Mass celebrated a Gros Islet from time to time by the Parish Priest of Castries. The Governor, Sir Jon Keane, gave his approval to the project.