Monday, Thursday & Friday: 8:00 am Join Us at:
Wednesday: 9:00 am (when school is in session) 404 9th Street North
Parish Office and Mail
St. Francis History
In 1871 the Northern Pacific Railroad built its rail line connecting Duluth to the west coast, bypassing the then existing town of Crow Wing, and crossed the Mississippi six miles to the north at the present site of Brainerd. In October of the same year Father Buh established St. Francis of Assisi parish in the new town of Brainerd with a wooden church on South 5th St. and Maple, where the Crow Wing County Courthouse new sits.
A fire destroyed this wooden building twenty years later, and the pastor, Monsignor Daniel Lynch, decided on a new site for the new church, Juniper and 9th, the site of the present St. Francis Church. Then on the night of March 9th, 1933, that church also burned to the ground.
The afternoon of the fire, Don Ryan, a lawyer called his brother Clem and the trustees of the parish, Georg O’Brien and Joseph Krause, along with the pastor, Fr. Hogan, and immediately began to plan a new church. The project started on July 1st and was completed in 1934 for the cost of $60,000. This was an extraordinary accomplishment considering that this money was raised and the church built in the height of the Great Depression, and many of the parishioners were immigrants with little income. The new church was larger than the preceding one and able to seat 650 people and is still our church today.
The first two attempts to build a Catholic School failed, but in 1909 under the pastorate of Fr. J. J. O’Mahoney, the school opened with 200 children. In 1922 Fr. Hogan built the convent on 412 N. 8th St. for the Benedictine nuns from St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth. Until about 1960 this convent housed up to fifteen nuns. The convent has since been torn down and the property was used to expand the school playground.
By 1950 it was obvious that this school building was inadequate, and so the pastor Fr. Thomas Scott, built the present school in 1951. It opened its doors in September, 1952 with 230 children in grades 1-6. A gym, auditorium, club rooms and kitchen was added in 1955.
A major capital campaign was held in 2009 to upgrade the school’s electrical, heating, and air conditioning systems plus build on a new entryway, library, teachers lounge, computer library and add a handicapped elevator.
In August 2001 Bishop Schnurr clustered the parishes of St. Andrew’s, St. Francis, and St. Mathias under the pastorate of one priest, and he appointed Fr. Seamus Walsh, the pastor of St. Francis, as the first pastor of the cluster of three parishes.
Finally, in June of 2014 it was announced that there would be two clusters in the Brainerd area. St. Andrew & St. Mathias would be clustered together and St. Francis, All Saints and St. Thomas of the Pines in the other. We currently have two separate offices, one located at St. Andrews and the other just behind St. Francis Church.