The Mission that became Saint Monica
St. Monica was the mother of St. Augustine. Like the saints, the histories of St. Augustine Parish in Montpelier and St. Monica in Barre are closely connected.
In the early days, Barre was considered a mission community, and was tended to by the clergy of St. Augustine. It was St. Augustine pastor, Rev. Joseph Duglue - the first Catholic priest ordained on Vermont soil - who said the first Mass that was ever celebrated in Barre. The Mass was celebrated at the old town hall on Barre's Main Street on Nov. 13, 1881.
A year later, Catholic services were moved to Jackman's Hall in Barre, where they continued until 1886. At that time, St. Augustine's new pastor, Rev. William J. O'Sullivan, leased what was then called the Spaulding Academy.
The Barre congregation grew in size and in organization. It was apparent that St. Monica Parish would soon need its own church. Building lots were purchased on the corner of Summer and Seminary streets, and on Oct. 2, 1887 - in front of what was described as the largest crowd that had ever assembled in Barre - a cornerstone was laid for the church building.
The construction project took 16 months and cost $25,000. St. Monica is considered one of the most beautiful churches in the state; it is an expansive brick structure liberally trimmed with Barre granite. Shortly after the church was completed, St. Monica welcomed its first resident priest - Father Brelivet.
What began as a mission was now a proud and independent parish, both physically and administratively, and soon became larger than its parent parish, St. Augustine.