The history of the Church of St. Therese began at Fort Snelling in 1920, when Father Edward F. Casey, then principal of St. Thomas Academy, was assigned to care for the spiritual needs of the soldiers and civilians living on the government reservation. He also took under his spiritual guidance the thirty-some families living in what was then known as the Homecroft area.
In 1926, a chapel was built on the St. Paul side of the Mississippi River, opposite the Fort so that it could serve the inhabitants of the Fort as well as the surrounding area. The chapel was built at the corner of Prior and Norfolk, and the first Mass was celebrated on February 21, 1926. The Church of St. Therese was incorporated on June 21, 1926, with Fr. Casey as its pastor.
By 1933, the number of families in St. Therese Parish had grown to 275. In 1935, a rectory was built adjacent to the church to enable the pastor to devote his full time to the growing community of Homecroft and the hundreds of Catholic soldiers at Fort Snelling.
St. Mary’s Home was built across from the church the following year and was staffed by the Sisters of St. Francis of the Angels.
To accommodate the growing parish, the church was remodeled and somewhat enlarged in 1942.
By 1948, the Homecroft area had grown considerably, resulting in the need for a parochial school. Ground was broken on the Feast Day of the patroness of the parish, October 3, 1948. The cornerstone was laid on May 15, 1949, and classes opened in September with 153 children enrolled.
In just six years, the number of families in St. Therese Parish grew to 475, with 473 children attending the school. This rapid growth prompted plans for both a new church and an addition to the school. During the construction, the congregation worshiped in the parish hall in the school, and by 1955, the little chapel was torn down and replaced by a church with seating capacity for 600 people, and two new wings were added to the school. The new church was dedicated by Archbishop Murray on September 4, 1955.
In 1963, a parish convent was built on Mississippi River Boulevard, adjacent to the school. It housed the nine Sisters of St Joseph that were teaching at the school. This completed the building era of the parish of St. Therese.