Formation of St. Theresa
With the dedication of a new rectory on September 19, 1954, years ago, St Theresa Mission became St. Theresa Church. Even though the parish has celebrated its 50th anniversary, its history actually goes back to the year 1947. In September of that year the founding members of the parish met with then Bishop Fletcher to discuss the possibility of establishing a Catholic Mission church in the Geyer Springs area of Little Rock. In October 1950 ground was broken for the new Church which was dedicated in April of 1951. The naming of the mission as St. Theresa is an interesting aspect of its history. Father Burke, mission chaplain during its early years and also its first pastor, tells of how while he was saying Mass for the Carmelite Sisters, he mentioned to the Mother Superior that the name of the new mission would probably be St. Henry since a large donation was made by a man named Henry. Mother simply said the only acceptable name would be St. Theresa. End of story! The big day of course was Sunday, September 19, 1954 when Bishop Fletcher dedicated the new rectory and renamed the mission St. Theresa Church with Father William Burke as its first pastor.
By the mid 60's the parish was thriving. Under the leadership of Father Rudolph Maus, its third pastor, the parish continued to work together to meet it's ever demanding needs. Mass was moved to the Parish Hall to house the growing congregation. A convent was built to house the Benedictine Sisters who came to staff the school in 1959. He pulled the people together to continue to work for the common good of this ever growing parish. This beloved pastor who spent 15 years at St. Theresa from 1960 to 1975 was responsible for the building of the present church building. Dedicated in 1973, its original cost of $500,000 was completely paid off before he was transferred in 1975.
The parish grew in the 1980's to about 600 families. During these years, the school was expanded to accommodate the ever increasing enrollment. Father Leo Riedmueller and Father Tom Keller followed in Father Maus' footsteps to meet the demands of this Southwest Little Rock community . In the 90's, the school addition was completed to its present footprint.
The Church was remodeled and rededicated in 1996. The parish grew to about 750 families with 2000 members. In 2001, we completed the Parish Center. It has been a blessing to its members. In the past 20 years, St Theresa has become a true multi-cultural and multi-racial parish. We now have 4 Masses in Spanish and 2 in English every weekend.
The history of St. Theresa Church is a rich one, and we endeavor to hold fast to our faith in the Lord as we do our best to evangelize in our area of Little Rock.