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St. Therese Chinese Catholic Mission Church Lions

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St. Therese Chinese Catholic Mission Church Lions

St. Therese Chinese Catholic Mission Church Lions

© Jennifer Roche
These lions, adorning St. Therese Chinese Catholic Mission's church at 218 W. Wentworth, represent guardian animals who protect against evil spirits. This rich blend of Chinese cultural heritage and Christian tradition can be found throughout the building.

The church was originally built in 1904 and named the Santa Maria Incoronata Church. It served a primarily Italian-American population. In fact, according to the Chinese-American Museum, Al Capone's mother, Teresina Capone, purchased the statue of Christ on the cross for the church. Even though she lived on the far south side, the Chinese-American Museum speculates that she worshipped here because the congregation spoke her particular Salerno dialect. (It also probably helped that her son, um, did business in the neighborhood.)

The church was renamed St. Therese in 1963. It celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2004 and underwent significant renovation for the occasion.
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