Our Lady of Guadalupe                                                          Our Lady of Guadalupe
                    Original Church                                                                      Current Church



Changes in Ethnic Patterns
In the 1920's major changes began to occur in the ethnic makeup of the Southeast Side. European immigration had slowed with the events of World War I and United States immigration policy changed radically in the 1920's greatly reducing European immigration. Mexicans began to enter the community and settled in the area east of the Illinois Central railroad tracks in South Chicago. As time went on African Americans began to come to the community in greater numbers and many of the white ethnic groups began to move to the surrounding suburbs and to northwest Indiana. 

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe is located at 91st Street and Brandon Avenue in the South Chicago community. It is the oldest Mexican parish in Chicago. This Roman Catholic parish started when Fr. William Kane S. J. began ministering to the religious needs of Mexicans in South Chicago in 1923. The area was inhabited by many Mexican Catholics that worked in the area's steel mills. South Chicago was a port of entry for incoming Mexican immigrants. A small wooden church (above left) was erected in 1924 at 9024 South Mackinaw Avenue. Father John Maiztegui, a Claretian priest, was named pastor in 1924 beginning a long history of that group of priests serving the parish. In fall of 1926 land was purchased at the corner of 91st and Brandon for a new church. The three story brick building (above right) was dedicated in September 1928. At the time there were about 8,000 Mexicans in the area. In 1929 Father James Tort established the National Shrine of St. Jude, the patron saint of hopeless causes. In 1947 the parish built a new elementary school at 91st and Burley Avenue. An addition to the school was completed in 1960. In 1973 at the time of its Golden Jubilee the parish had 1,200 families and 330 children enrolled in the school. 

Mexican Social and Community Organizations

Mexican Patriotic Club 
The Mexican Patriotic Club was initiated in the late 1930's from a previously existing club called the Mexican Patriotic Committee. The committee was founded through the efforts of the directors of Hull House. They wanted to have a committee in every community in Chicago and all together they would be called Mexican Patriotic Committees. Priests at Our Lady of Guadalupe sent representatives of the Mexican Patriotic Club through the church and also gave permission to use the church hall. The first Mexican Patriotic Club president was chosen. He was Father Montoya. The secretary of the committee was Mr. Severino Lopez, and Father Saenz was the treasurer. Later on the Mexican Patriotic Club had to be closed because both Father Montoya and Father Saenz were transferred to other churches out of Chicago. This caused a lack of direction in the club. Fortunately in 1948 the club came back and new officers were chosen. The new organization was called The Mexican Patriotic Club. A social center was finally obtained in November 30, 1974 at 8521 Commercial. The Mexican Independence Day Parade is sponsored by the Mexican Patriotic Club. The parade traditionally traveled from 91st Street and Houston and ended at the Mexican Patriotic Club. 

Mexican Community Committee
The Mexican Community Committee was established in 1959 by Henry H. Martinez with the help of other concerned residents. It began in co-founder "Tiny" Chavez's basement where they all agreed they wanted to help better their community. The Mexican Community Committee is called the MCC for short. The Mexican Community Committee has one purpose and that is to reduce delinquency and to provide social services to the Mexican American community. Among some of the activities offered at the MCC are dances such as Mexican Independence Day dances, homework assistance, individual family and work counseling, organized sports, physical fitness programs, cultural and recreational activities, literacy programs for adults, job development, health advocacy, and HIV/AIDS awareness. By 1965 the MCC. raised enough money to rent a store front for its local headquarters. In the mid 1970's it purchased a large building of four stories, the former Masonic Lodge located at 91st and Exchange Avenue. 

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