Monday, May 31, 2010

Notre Dame des Victoires

The French church of Notre Dame des Victoires was central to the religious, educational and cultural life of my French family. My grandmother would often attend mass there, along with her cousins Marie and Gracieuse Lasserre who were active in the church their entire lives. Marie Lasserre would graduate from the school attached to the church in 1928. Two sad monuments within the church list the French Northern Californians who returned to France to fight and die in both World Wars.

Front of Notre Dame de Victoires

Inside Notre Dame des Victoires

First prize pin that my Grandmother won from NDdV in 1920 for French

NDdV 1928 Class ring from Marie Lasserre

Background from the Church's website
Eglise Notre Dame des Victoires was founded in 1856 to serve the spiritual needs of the French Catholic immigrants who came to San Francisco during the Gold Rush. In 1887, Pope Leo XIII signed the decree placing Eglise Notre Dame des Victoires under the charge of the Marists for perpetuity and giving it the designation of being a French National Church.

The Church building was rededicated in 1915 after rising from the ashes of the 1906 Earthquake and Great Fire. The City of San Francisco declared Eglise Notre Dame des Victoires as a historical landmark in 1984. After the 1989 Earthquake, the Church and Rectory underwent retrofitting in record time. The retrofit was fully paid with all funds coming from parishioners and parish fundraising activities.

Under the leadership of Fr. Rene Iturbe, S.M., Eglise Notre Dame des Victoires continues its ministry to the French Catholics and consists of a vibrant, cross-cultural, cross-generational and international faith community.

The school opened in 1924 in order to serve the area's growing French community. Today, the school maintains its long-standing tradition of educating all children in the French language and culture. The Marist Fathers and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange were instrumental in the establishment of the school and continue to be involved in the running and direction of the school.


  1. I, too, am researching my husband's French ancestor in S.F. He came out here sometime before 1850, presumably for the Gold Rush. He and his wife later had a daughter there, but I have been unable to find any information about her. I never thought about the French Hospital or Notre Dame des Victoires, though I have visited it on several occasions. They are going onto my to-do list right now.

    I look forward to reading more!

  2. My husband & I were married there in 1985, as it is his family's church..great blog!