By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — To mark 160 years of St. Marguerite Parish, now Sacred Heart Cathedral, a limited edition Isabel Bloom cross has been commissioned.
Father Rich Adam, rector and pastor of Sacred Heart Cathedral, said a persistent parishioner asked him to look into the possibility of having an Isabel Bloom artwork made specifically for the cathedral. Isabel Bloom is a business that creates concrete figures handcrafted in Davenport.
Fr. Adam contacted Donna Young, a protégé of the late Isabel Bloom and chief designer of the sculptures. Fr. Adam provided Young with the Sacred Heart logo to incorporate into the cross.
The parish ordered 300 crosses, available only through the cathedral. Priced at $35 each, about 100 crosses were sold in less than a month. Sale proceeds go to the cathedral building fund.
The cathedral “is our home. It’s the mother church of our diocese,” Fr. Adam said. “It’s everyone’s home in the diocese.”
St. Marguerite Church was dedicated Oct. 19, 1856, in honor of St. Margaret of Scotland. Antoine LeClaire, a principal founder of Davenport, covered the costs for the land, church, bell (presently in the Sacred Heart tower) and organ, Fr. Adam said. The church was named after LeClaire’s wife.
After establishment of the Diocese of Davenport in 1881, Bishop John McMullen established St. Ambrose College, which took up residence in St. Marguerite School on the church’s property. By 1889, Bishop Henry Cosgrove announced plans to build a cathedral to replace the church due to a growing population.
Because of Bishop Cosgrove’s devotion to the Sacred Heart and first Friday devotions, Pope Leo XII declared the cathedral to be named after the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The cornerstone of the current building was laid in 1890 and dedicated Nov. 15, 1891.
Bishop Martin Amos is the eighth bishop of the Diocese of Davenport and Fr. Adam is the 14th pastor of the parish.
Fr. Adam noted that a capital campaign is underway at the cathedral for a new parish hall, restrooms, west entrance and other building improvements. Bishop Amos designated the second Sunday of February as Cathedral Sunday. Parishes in the diocese take up a special collection for the cathedral at that time.
As the Year of Mercy is about to begin, Fr. Adam encourages people from throughout the diocese to visit the cathedral, which is one of nine pilgrimage church sites in the diocese. Carol Haines, the cathedral’s office manager and bookkeeper, noted the cathedral receives many visitors, Catholic and non-Catholic, throughout the year. Groups are encouraged to call ahead so that tour guides can be available.
“We hear from people how beautiful our cathedral is,” said Haines, who had to leave an interview with The Catholic Messenger to give a tour of the cathedral.
For more information about purchasing an Isabel Bloom cross, to make a donation to the capital campaign, or to take a tour of the cathedral, call (563) 324-3257.