Sacred Heart Parish, Caruthersville, MO
Sacred Heart Church, Caruthersville MO. (Photos by G. Eckl)
Phone: (573) 333-4301
Mailing address: Sacred Heart Church, 605 Ward Ave., Caruthersville, MO 63830-1663
Parochial Administrator: Fr. Victor Anokwute, email@example.com
Sacramental Priest: Fr. Mark Binder, firstname.lastname@example.org
Deacon: Deacon James D. Darter
Secretary/Bookkeeper: Tiffany Rittenberry
DRE: Susan Faulkner
Also attends to Immaculate Conception Parish, New Madrid, MO
The first Catholic prayer offered in Pemiscot County, MO, is attributed to the Spanish explorer De Soto. The exact spot where De Soto planted a cross and led a prayer in 1542 is uncertain, but it is thought to have been near the present site of Caruthersville.
In 1793, Fr. Pierre Gibault assumed his duties as pastor of New Madrid and its dependencies, which included the village of La Petite Prairie (Little Prairie), a settlement a short distance down river from present-day Caruthersville. By 1799, the French Catholic population had reached 78; however, the village of Little Prairie was completely destroyed in the New Madrid Earthquake of 1811. By 1870, the population of Caruthersville was 80. In 1876, the first Mass was celebrated in the home of a Dr. Palmer. Clement and Sally Nanson, non-Catholics, donated the land for a Catholic church in 1877.
The first Catholic church in Pemiscot County, a 24’ x 40’ frame structure with a 48’ belfry tower, was built in 1892 and dedicated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Fr. William Schulte, the first pastor, was appointed in 1897 by the Most Rev. John Joseph Kain, Archbishop of St. Louis when the parishioners assured the archbishop that they could and would support a permanent pastor.
The first two decades of the 20th century saw the construction of the first rectory (1900), Sacred Heart Catholic School (1905), the present church (1913), and the present rectory (1925). Ursuline sisters from Crystal City taught at the school until 1937. They were replaced by Sisters of the Most Precious Blood.
The school was built in 1956, the year the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau was established. Both religious and lay teachers continued to educate children there until 1971, when the school closed.
Sacred Heart Parish in Caruthersville entered the 21st century after more than 100 years of service to Christ and proclamation of the Good News in Pemiscot County. With the help of the Holy Spirit, the parish will continue in service to Christ for many years to come.