For over a century, St. Mary Magdalen Church has stood as a symbol of the enduring nature of Vermillion Parish and its people.
We had a chance to go behind the scenes to learn about the rich history of this treasured landmark. It’s one of the most stunning landmarks in Vermillion Parish, an architectural masterpiece that serves as a beacon of faith for Catholics throughout the Abbeville community.
St. Mary Magdalen Church was established in 1842 by Father Antoine Megret, a priest from France and the first services were celebrated out of the remodeled home of a parishioner, Joseph Leblanc.
This current church was built in 1911, after a devastating fire destroyed the previous facility in 1907. Father William Blanda has served as pastor of St. Mary Magdalen Church for the past 12 years. He was at the forefront of a major renovation project in 2004 that modernized and freshened the interior of the church while preserving its majestic history.
Father Blanda says the current church is the fourth structure to be built on this site since the faith community was first named in honor of Saint Mary Magdalen, a favorite saying among the descendants of the acadian exiles throughout South Louisiana.
A cherished part of the church is this chalice that belonged to Pope Leo the 13. The Vatican, under the guidance of Pope Pius, gifted the chalice to St. Mary Magdalen to show solidarity with the parish after that 1907 fire.
CLARIFICATION: During our broadcast yesterday, Father Blanda’s first name was incorrectly reported. We apologize to our viewers and to Father Blanda for the error.