Catholic New World: Newspaper for the Archdiocese of Chicago

Parish Pride

By Dolores Madlener

St. Odilo Church

2244 East Ave., Berwyn

Photo by: Sandy Bertog

Father Anthony Brankin
Saturdays 5 p.m./ Sundays 8:30, 10 and 11:30 a.m.
Seating capacity:
(708) 484-2161
Parish founded:
Parish Website:

Founded in 1927, this parish spurred the growth of Berwyn. Known since the 1920s as the national shrine to the souls in purgatory, it is probably the only church in the country named for the saint who helped establish All Souls Day. On July 4, 1962, ground was broken for the present air-conditioned church, designed by Andrew G. Stoecker. Over the choir loft is a large stained glass mural of St. Odilo and the holy souls. There is also a bronze depiction of purgatory. The church is modern traditional with cararra marble and walnut trim interior. While Hispanic-Americans have been here for years, there are also several generations of Euro-American founders, many living in the same houses where their parents were raised. Stability in faith and family, regardless of ethnic origin, helps preserve a parish and a town that withstand the sands of time. A viable school still boasts BVM sisters, the order that has been a presence here since 1928.