On September 3, 1946, Father John Byrne, our founding pastor, and two Joliet Franciscan sisters opened St. Michael Elementary School with forty-four pupils in attendance. The former Chase Mansion on the east side of North High Street was purchased and converted into a combination church, school, and rectory. In 1954, Saint Michael School was built with 11 classrooms, a cafeteria and a kitchen. The Chase Mansion was converted into a convent for Joliet Franciscan Sisters who staffed the school.
Ground was broken in late 1962 and the Saint Michael Church was completed in 1964, with Father Byrne celebrating the first Mass on June 12 as part of the ceremonies for the 1964 graduation class from Saint Michael elementary school. In 1967, the convent was built to be a home for nine Joliet Franciscan Sisters who served the St. Michael school and parish community with dedication for thirty years.
Mrs. Mary Jo Ryan became the first lay principal of Saint Michael School in 1971. In 1988, the school achieved national recognition, receiving the U.S. Department of Education’s “Exemplary School Award.” Father William A. Dunn was named Pastor of St. Michael Parish in 1990 and by 1994, plans were initiated to undertake a major renovation at Saint Michael. In 1997 construction was started and before the project was completed in 1999, virtually no part of Saint Michael’s buildings and grounds was left untouched.
Our current pastor, Fr. Richard Pendolphi, began his work at St. Michael Church in 2002.