THREATENED: After Foreclosure Sale, Future Unknown for St. Therese of the Infant Jesus Church – Little Flower Church

“An example of an unprotected religious structure is 10 miles due south of Greater Union on the corner of 80th and Wood Streets, where the vacant former Little Flower Church wilts.

“The limestone-facade church was built in 1940 and served generations of Catholic worshippers before closing in 1993. Greater Mt. Hebron Baptist bought the building from the archdiocese, according to the city’s Department of Buildings, but later vacated the premises.

“The dilapidated church is a pall on a block of nicely-maintained brick bungalows, two-flats and three-flats.

“Ald. David Moore (17th) said he’s been trying to contact the congregation about the building, but to no avail.

“‘It’s a very good-looking building … and it hurts my heart when these churches are abandoned and the historic architecture of them is lost,’ Moore said. ‘We don’t want a building with this great architecture to go to waste.’

“Hear, hear. Especially when a repurposed religious structure can be quite the asset. The former Church of the Epiphany, 201 S. Ashland Ave., was built in 1885 and now enjoys a new life as Epiphany Center for the Arts, a performance venue with studio space.

“The old Little Flower has no demolition permit pending against it, according to the building department. And the building is listed for sale at $100,000. Perhaps with new owners, the church can bloom again.

“Chicago just stood by in the 1970s and 1990s as nearly all of the city’s beautiful old movie palaces were closed, then bulldozed.

“Without protections and a plan, churches and temples — facing the same perils of age and dwindling attendance as did the old movie palaces — might well be next.” (Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board, 1/11/23)

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