The history of Little Flower

Remembering those who came before us


We remember our rich tradition

“The lack of historical memory is a serious shortcoming in our society. A mentality that can only say, “Then was then, now is now”, is ultimately immature. Knowing and judging past events is the only way to build a meaningful future. Memory is necessary for growth.”
The back of Pope Francis against a blue cloudy sky
Pope Francis
An illustration of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the patroness and guide of Little Flower Catholic Church and School, depicted holding our parish in protection

Our History

A parish family rich in over 75 years of history.

Little Flower Church and School has been an integral part of West Pensacola since 1945. Located on the corner of 65th Ave and Lillian Highway, our parish family serves the families of Myrtle Grove. People are drawn to Little Flower because of the rich Catholic tradition, strong devotion to our patroness St. Théreèse of Lisieux, formation as missionary disciples of Christ.

Humble beginnings in 1945.

From our humble beginnings in 1945 — an old house and barn on the corner of two dirt roads — to our present location on the corner of Lillian Hwy. and 65th Ave, Little Flower Catholic Church and School has ministered to thousands throughout the years.

Moving forward with hope.

Since 1945, Little Flower Parish has brought thousands into relationship with Christ and His Church. We move forward with a sense of gratitude and hope, humbly asking the Holy Spirit to continue to guide us, that we may be a beacon of light in the darkness.


founding of the parish

In the beginning, The Most Rev. Thomas J. Toolen, D.D., Archbishop of Mobile, found a need for a parish in the Myrtle Grove community.

In the year 1945, Little Flower Parish was started from a territory cut out of St. Stephen Parish. At that time, the church grounds were an open field with a house and barn. The building site was surrounded by farm lands at the intersection of two dirt roads.

In 1946, the old house and barn were converted into a church and rectory by Fr. James E. Smith, Pastor. This was also the first year that students were accepted at the newly formed Little Flower Catholic School.

In 1947, the building of a new school, convent and church structures was ordered by Archbishop Toolen.

In 1948, a church and school building were converted from the old Army barracks on the property at the time under the leadership of Fr. Hinton A. Lipscomb, Pastor.


the 60's

During the 1960’s Rev. Fr. Edward J. O’Connell, Pastor, brought numerous changes to the parish including the construction of the present day church.  

The  new church was dedicated January 24, 1960 and our present day school and auditorium (cafeteria) was completed in December 1966.

In 1967, the changes to the liturgy that resulted from the Second Vatican Council were implemented by Rev. Fr. Thomas W. Sadler, Pastor.


the 70's

In 1975, a new parish hall was constructed by Fr. Hugh W. Dolan, Pastor.

In 1976, the new parish hall was converted to classrooms and the blue and white stained glass was installed in the church.


the 90's

In 1992, Msgr. C. Slade Crawford, Pastor, initiated plans to build a new rectory and the Mother Teresa Outreach building.

A building and purchasing plan was developed which would eventually lead to the new building program that comprises our present day campus.


the 2000's

In 2000, Fr. Martin D. Holley, Pastor, continued with the building program before being ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, D.C. by Pope St. John Paul II. 

In 2004, Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis slowed the progress of the building program. Repairs were  completed on the church and school roofs in 2005. Fr. Eugene Casserly, Pastor, led our parish through these hard times.

In 2006, plans moved forward to construct the new Parish Hall and Office Center, which was completed in 2008.


recent developments

Upon Fr. Casserly’s retirement in the summer of 2016, Fr. Matthew Worthen was appointed Administrator of the parish by the Most Rev. Gregory L. Parkes, Bishop of Pensacola–Tallahassee.

Under Bishop Bill Wack, Fr. Matthew was made Pastor in January 2018.