Sacred Heart Catholic Church


On August 21, 2011, Sacred Heart Catholic Church will celebrate 62 years in Brevard. However, long before the first church was built, the spirit of the Catholic Church had already taken root in Transylvania County.  In 1820, Bishop John England was named as the first bishop of the Charleston Diocese that included North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. He made regular visitations all around his diocese including western North Carolina.

Dr. Christopher Grimshawe, a Canadian-trained physician, moved his family to the Sapphire-Whitewater region of Transylvania County. He opened a practice there which he maintained for 50 years. Among his children was the mother of Mrs. Mildred Szabo, an active parishioner at Sacred Heart for many years.

Many of the founding families of Sacred Heart came to sink their roots and to start a business. One such family came in 1912 because of the forest. Louis Carr leased land from George Vanderbilt to build a saw mill and lumber company. Carr Lumber Company was the largest employer in Transylvania County for a number of years. Frank Carr, Sr., son of Louis Carr, and his wife were influential in the development of the Brevard Music Festival, now the Brevard Music Center. The Carr family had to travel to Hendersonville to attend a Catholic Church. It would be many years later that the first Catholic Church was built on Caldwell Street in Brevard.

Alexander Thomas, a founding member of Sacred Heart, was known for his beautiful gladioli which he sold and shipped to nurseries in Baltimore and New Orleans. Mr. Thomas raised a considerable amount of money to construct the first Sacred Heart Church by selling his plants.

Jack Driscoll was sent to Brevard by Harry Straus to get the Ecusta Paper plant up and running. While serving at the plant he met and married June Fenwicke, a native. Not only was an active member of the church, Jack believed that the community library was a measure of the community itself. One of Jack’s contributions to Transylvania County was serving on the Friends of the Library.

Two Catholic nuns arrived in 1984 to open the Francis Warde Health Services Clinic. Sister Jacqueline Dewar, RSM and Gretchen Hermanny, MC. RSM served not only the migrants, the mountain poor, but also the general population. This service has grown by the addition of The Sisters of Mercy, who formerly operated the St. Joseph’s Hospital in Asheville.  The urgent health center was opened on September 10, 2009, and is the fifth urgent care center of the Sisters of Mercy in Western North Carolina. 

Founding families of Sacred Heart Catholic Church made many contributions to this community in the past. Many current parishioners carry on the tradition of serving the community today in the fields of medicine, education, business and through volunteerism.

Father Charles O’Connor was assigned to Sacred Heart parish to serve not only the Catholics but also to contribute to the civic life of the community. In 1980, Father Joe Mulligan was approached to join other local churches to found Transylvania Christian Ministry (Sharing House). Sacred Heart has been a member of the General Assembly of TCM since its early beginnings. This tradition of service is still true today with the current pastor, Father Carl T. Del Giudice. Members of Sacred Heart are active volunteers and the parish supports local charities with contributions of food, clothing, household items and cash.

As the years passed the church outgrew its home on Caldwell Street which is now used by the Transylvania Arts Council. Land was bought and the church was built on Brian Berg Lane. The spirit of the Sacred Heart community moved with the people and infused all who joined later to help them be a segment of the People of God.

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