Visitation of the B.V.M., Rankin

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Parish History

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary was established in 1902 as a Croatian parish.  The origin of the parish can be traced back to the arrival of Croatian immigrants to the area to work in the local mills beginning in 1890.  Before the parish was organized, the local Croatians traveled to the North Side to attend the Croatian St. Nicholas parish.  In 1900, local Croatians met and decided to buy land for a church.  This purchase took place in 1901 and a temporary hall was built.  In 1902 a priest from the Archdiocese of Zagreb was invited to come to Rankin to be pastor of the new church.  He arrived in August of 1902.

On January 25, 1903, ground was broken for the new church.  The cornerstone was laid on August 20, 1903, and the completed church was dedicated on August 14, 1904.  This church was renovated in 1915, 1918, 1958, 1966 and 1974.

As the growth of population in Rankin at the end of the nineteenth century led to the creation of the parish, the loss of population at the end of the twentieth century led to its suppression.  In 1994, Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary merged with two other parishes to form the new Word of God parish.  Visitation Church remained open and continued to serve the new parish.  However, by 2011, the size of the congregation of the new parish had dropped to the point that they no longer needed the number of churches they had.  In that year, the parish discontinued using Visitation Church.  Three years later, the parish determined that they had no further need of the church and formally closed it on June 30, 2014.

Photos From the Diocesan Archive:

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, 1933
Side altar of church, 1933
Altar of church, 2002

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