St. Ann Roman Catholic Church shares a rich history with the city of Baltimore and a rich present with its sister parish of St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church (parish established on parish in 1872). They two parishes also share a pastor, in Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Timothy Dore, OFM Conv.
St. Ann’s Church was erected because of a promise made by Captain William Kennedy, commander of The Wanderer, one of the most famous Baltimore clipper ships, when he was caught in a raging storm off the coast of Vera Cruz in 1833. He made of vow to God that they were able to return safely, he would build a church as a testament of gratitude. The story goes that the captain survived, gave up his life at sea and made good on his vow. In 1872, he and his wife bought the land and paid for the construction of a church, naming it Saint Ann; patron saint of sailors (According to French tradition, Mary Magdalene crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Marseilles, France to spread the word of Jesus’ death and resurrection. She is said to have brought St. Ann’s remains with her. The legend continues that St. Auspice buried Saint Ann’s body in a cave. When barbarians invaded, the cave was filled with debris and forgotten until it was dug out by minors six hundred years later during the reign of Charlemagne. Sailors and minors of France were very devoted to St. Ann. Their devotion spread throughout Europe and eventually to the New World.). The Captain and his wife are buried under the
The cornerstone was laid in 1873, the same year Captain Kennedy and Mrs. Kennedy died. Although neither of them lived to see the church completed, they are both buried under the main aisle of Saint Ann Church. They both died in 1873.
The Church was completed in 1874 and a school and convent were also added. In 1925 the anchor of The Wanderer was restored and placed in a stone cradle beside the cornerstone. The historic, cultural and architectural significance of this church is well documented in the church archives, and the Church of St. Ann’s continues to be a neighborhood landmark,home to a predominately African American welcoming faith community, the continues a rich history of mission in East Baltimore.