St. Mary’s is one of the oldest buildings in Mokena and was the first Roman Catholic church in the area. [singlepic=366,375,375]After Mokena was settled by German immigrants in 1860, nine Catholic families came together in the midst of the Civil War to raise $1,400 needed to build with their own hands this one room church in their classic white wooden frame style. It was completed in 1864, just before then end of the war between the states and 16 years before the town was incorporated. The church was later restored in 1971.
Now it sits quietly, set back from Wolf Road (a former Native American fur-trading route). After using this modest building for nearly a 100 years, in the late 50s and early 60s the St. Mary’s congregation built a new site in Mokena on the other side of town, leaving the old St. Mary’s Church to the solitude of the trees out of which rises its steeple. A real sense of history comes over you as you stroll this site, but the quietness of the small church and the yard of graves surrounding it gives an eerie feeling, as well. Many of the stones–cracked and fallen–seem forgotten by time.