When the church was founded in 1879 it was in one of the wealthiest parts of Toronto serving the Roman Catholics of Rosedale. At its completion it was one of the most ornate churches in the city, and the only one to have a dome. Over time the area changed dramatically and became a united, diversified, and a multicultural community in the Toronto Centre District. The biggest change was the creation of the St. James Town Community Projects. The Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Church was originally affiliated with the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, but, in part because these changes, the church was handed over to the Jesuits in 1969.
St. James Town is mostly populated by immigrants, foreign workers, international students, and tourists from different countries with various traditions and cultures. Majority of the parishioners from all walks of life are fully committed to the parish through volunteer work to church ministries and hospitality. The congregation are active parishioners, who share and contribute their knowledge, skills, and trades, in various ministries and committees of the church. The Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Church also hosts the local chapter of Dignity and celebrates Healing Mass every third Saturday of each month for the sick with cancer, autoimmune diseases, HIV, AIDS, and other illnesses. The ministry and hospitality embrace all the children of God, regardless of race, nationality, creed, gender, age, sexual orientation, social-economic status, and others, as per the Human Rights Code of Canada. In this way, the Church Community strive to live the Good News of Lord Jesus, and continue to share and carry out their Christian commitment and values in building the City of God for world peace, love, humility, compassion, social justice, hope, unity, and faith in God.