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Little Flower, Coral Gables: Born after its school

CORAL GABLES | St. Therese's namesake church in Coral Gables was founded in 1926 by then Archbishop Patrick Barry on request of a small group of Catholics in the city.

An unusual facet of Little Flower is that it was born after its parochial school. Parishioners worshiped first in the convent library of St. Joseph Academy, established in 1925 by the Sisters of St. Joseph. The school's name was changed to St. Theresa in 1932, when it won accreditation from the Southern Association of Secondary Schools.

Little Flower’s congregation got its first temporary church home, a parish center and auditorium, in 1928. Growth during the 1930s, however, forced the congregation to celebrate Mass at the nearby Tower Theater.

During World War II, parishioners assisted the Civil Defense program, giving first-aid courses, making bandages, and serving as air raid and fire wardens. After the war, the parish constructed its long awaited church in 1951.

After 65 years of service, the Sisters of St. Joseph left St. Theresa school, and the Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Los Angeles began running the school in 1991.

The parish offers dozens of organized ministries, including blood drives, outreaches to teens and young adults, an Emmaus program, adult education Bible studies in English and Spanish, and a new bereavement ministry.

The church also has an active Respect Life group, which plans to take part in a Life Chain demonstration along U.S. 1 on Oct. 3.