Gesu Church (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

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Gesu Church
Gesu Church Milwaukee.jpg
Gesu Church is located in Wisconsin
Gesu Church
Gesu Church
43°2′18″N 87°55′38″W / 43.03833°N 87.92722°W / 43.03833; -87.92722Coordinates: 43°2′18″N 87°55′38″W / 43.03833°N 87.92722°W / 43.03833; -87.92722
Location1145 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
CountryUnited States
DenominationRoman Catholic
StatusParish church
Founded1887 (Gesu Parish)
Founder(s)Society of Jesus
Functional statusActive
Heritage designationNRHP
Architect(s)Koch, Henry C.; Et al.
StyleFrench Gothic, Gothic Revival
ProvinceJesuits Midwest Province
Pastor(s)Fr. Jim Flaherty, S.J.[1]
Gesu Church
Arealess than one acre
MPSWest Side Area MRA
NRHP reference #86000108[2]
Added to NRHPJanuary 16, 1986

Gesu Church is a Jesuit parish of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated a Milwaukee Landmark in 1975.

Although the church is not affiliated with Marquette University, through a 1991 partnership, it ministers to the downtown campus of Marquette and surrounding neighborhood.


Gesu, founded 170 years ago in 1849 as St. Gall's Parish, initially served English-speaking Irish Catholics from the near south and west sides of Milwaukee in what was the neighborhood of Tory Hill.[3] As the parish grew, it built Holy Name Church in 1875, and by 1887 Jesuit officials combined the two parishes into one church. The Gesu name was chosen in 1893 to honor the Church of the Gesu in Rome, where St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, is buried.

Architect Henry C. Koch designed the French Gothic building, drawing inspiration from the Cathedral of Chartres in France. It features landmark spires of unequal height and stained glass windows. The cornerstone was laid on May 23, 1893, with over 20,000 in attendance. A dedication ceremony followed on December 17, 1894, to mark the formal completion of the church.

Actor Pat O'Brien (1899–1983) served as an altar boy at Gesu while growing up near 13th and Clybourn streets. He attended Marquette Academy (a preparatory department that later became Marquette University High School) with Spencer Tracy (1900–1967), and later attended Marquette University.

Gesu Church holds daily Masses and attracts over 2,500 worshipers on weekends.[citation needed]

In late 1954, the church held the funeral for Miller Brewing Company president Fred Miller and his son, Fred, Jr., attended by thousands.[4][5]



  1. ^ "The Rev. Jim Flaherty appointed new Gesu pastor". Marquette Wire. Marquette University. October 12, 2015.
  2. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  3. ^ [1] Archived March 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Crowd of 3,000 overflows church for Millers' funeral". Milwaukee Journal. December 20, 1954. p. 1.
  5. ^ Riordon, Robert J. (December 21, 1954). "Miller, son, buried in spirit of triumph". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1.

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