St. Mary's was originally founded in 1883 as a mission church of the church of the Redeemer in Bryn Mawr. It served for many years Mill Workers in the Ardmore area. The mission prospered and many members of the Redeemer became permanent members of St. Mary's alongside the working class. This blending of rich and poor, black and white, able and disabled continues today. In 1886 land was purchased on Ardmore Avenue for the permanent chapel and architect Frank Furness and his partner Allen Evans were hired to design the new building. In 1887 St. Mary's became and independent parish.In 1895, the women of St. Mary's began the St. Mary's Laundry which provided year round employment for 100 local women, and was eventually sold.
Today, St. Mary's continues in this tradition with our partnership with womanspace, a substance abuse rehabilitation facility on Ardmore Avenue. We offer training, life skills, employment opportunities, and partnership with these extraordinary women.St. Mary's addressed the Great Depression and its hardships by beginning a Bargain Counter in 1932, which continued until the Fall, 2005.Today, St. Mary's aids distressed families as one of nine local host congregations comprising the Interfaith Hospitality Network. Every nine weeks we offer homeless families meals, lodging and hospitality. St. Mary's parishioners transport beds, belongings, host meals, and serve as overnight hosts, and otherwise assist families in transition.