St. Mary of Sorrows Historic Catholic Church
Orginally started as a mission of St. Mary's in Old Town Alexandria, St. Mary of Sorrows Parish was founded over 150 years ago. Land for this church was donated by two prosperous immigrant Irish farming families. The donors Irish heritage is evidenced by the parish rectory's address, just down Fairfax Station Road on "Tinkers Lane."
This church served as a field hospital during the Second Battle of Manassas, and Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross, worked there as a nurse caring for wounded soldiers in the aftermath of the horrific fighting in which some 25,000 Americans were killed.
According to the church's web site, Barton "was a clerk at the Government Patent Office who had gathered a group of volunteers to tend to the wounded and dying. She nursed the wounded for three days and nights as heavy rains fell and doctors operated ... many soldiers died and were buried in the churchyard. Although 20,000 Confederate soldiers began the push toward Fairfax Station, Barton, her volunteers and the doctors remained until the last of the wounded were evacuated. She watched from the windows of the last train as the Confederate Soldiers captured Fairfax Station and set fire to the depot. As a result of her experiences at Fairfax Station, she devised a plan to establish a civilian society, which became the American Red Cross. A plaque honoring her heroism sits on the Route 123 side of the church grounds."
President Grant replaced the pews in the the church after the war (they had been removed by Union troops); the same pews remain in the church today, and the church (located near the Fairfax Station museum) still offers services. Part of the same parish, an additional church was constructed in the late '70s due to space constraints here of 120 seats.
Daily Mass is held Monday-Friday at 6:30 am. Sunday Mass is held at 8:45 and 10:45 am. Also located on the property is a small parish hall.
Additional information about the history of the parish and events may be found at www.stmaryofsorrows.org or by calling 703/978-4141.
- Fax: 703-978-2568
- Handicap Accessible: No
- Founding Date: September 19, 1858
- Parking: Free lot
- Denomination: Catholic
- Congregation size: 3,000
- Services: Choir/music programs