St. Ignatius Parish is located in the heart of Southeast Portland and draws worshipers from its diverse community just east of the Willamette River. The parish thrives and grows because of the many volunteers who work hard to make it special under the patronage of St. Ignatius.
The Jesuits arrived in the area in 1907, and within a year, the combination church and school was built in the present location. At the end of its first year, the parish counted 200 members, with 61 children in the parish school, run by the Holy Names Sisters, beginning a partnership between the sisters and the Jesuits that has endured.
Between 1914 and 1919, St. Ignatius included an all-girls high school, and in the early 1920s, the Holy Names Sisters helped lead the fight against a Ku Klux Klan backed state bill that would have nixed parochial schools. Parishioners prayed through wars, had a vibrant card-playing tradition and built a new church in 1951.
Presently, the parish sponsors a number of ministries, including the Life, Justice, and Peace Commission. The mission of the commission is to foster relationships and provide education and advocacy to promote just and livable communities. Their efforts include studying immigration issues and addressing the two Portlands — the wealthy and the poor.