Saint Ann History

The history of our parish has two branches. The oldest branch can be traced back to the 1920’s, when the Chapman-Storm Lumber Company brought in workers from Louisiana to the four holes area of South Carolina. Many of these workers and their families were Catholic. In 1927 a chapel was built for the Catholics in Four Holes with the support of Mrs. Camillia Pearl Barry-Hutto. By the 1940s the Catholic population had shifted to the nearby town of Holly Hill. So the chapel was transferred to Holly Hill, an in 1945 Bishop Emmer Walsh dedicated it to St, Ann. For many years, missionary priests of the Redemptorist order celebrated Masses in the Chapel.

The Redemptorists also have strong ties to the other branch of our parish history. This branch began in the 1970s when a growing number of Catholics started to settle in Santee. Many of these Catholics were retirees from the Northeast and Midwest who were attracted to Santee’s convenient location near I-95 and its scenic setting alongside Lake Marion. In 1982 Rev. Joseph Gorney, a Redemptorist of the Saint Ann Mission in Holly Hill celebrated the first Saturday evening Mass in Santee. The Masses were initially held in a local hotel room, and in 1983 they were moved to the Bradford Village Clubhouse. In 1995 the Redemptorists withdrew from their mission in Holly Hill and Santee. Rev. Charles Brinkmann was the last Redemptorist Parochial Vicar to serve these missions. The Saturday evening Mass in Santee was suspended, while Sunday Mass continued to be celebrated in Holly Hill by priests from the Diocese of Charleston. In 2000 Rev. Scott Buchanan proposed moving St. Ann’s from Holly Hill to Santee. However, mold damage later forced the closing of the Holly Hill Church. In 2001 the Santee Catholic Community was established with the assignment of Rev. Carl Kaltreider. Masses then resumed in Santee in a room at the Outlet Mall.

In 2000, a committee headed by Father Scott Buchanan completed a thorough study of the status of the Catholic presence in the area comprising eastern Orangeburg and Clarendon counties. One of the recommendations made was to move the St. Ann parish from Holly Hill to Santee. Various reasons were cited for the proposed move. The major factors were as follows:

  • Santee is the center of the Catholic population, surrounded by Eutawville (10 miles) east; Holly Hill (12 miles southeast; and, Elloree (6 miles) west. In addition, Santee is in the center of a large number of Lake Marion area subdivisions, from Low Falls (12 miles) northeast to Rocks Pond (16 miles) southeast.
  • Various demographic studies showed an increase in population in all of these areas except a decrease in Holly Hill (years 2000 to 2015). The area near Santee State Park (between Santee and Elloree) was targeted for the most population growth in the Santee community.
  • Being bisected by Interstate 95, Santee attracts a large number of tourists/travelers. A Church located in Santee would make it convenient for these transients to attend Mass. Santee has over 1,500 motel rooms to accommodate travelers and tourists. In the fall of 2003, the following census of registered parishioners was established for conduction the capital campaign:
  • Santee Catholic Community             48
  • St Ann Holly Hill                                 38
  • Non-registered                                     10
    • Total                                          96

In 2004 Bishop Robert J. Baker announced that the two former Redemptorist Missions of Holly Hill and Santee would be combined into a Parish dedicated to St. Ann. Bishop Baker decided to build the parish’s Church in Santee on land donated by Mrs. Rosemary Jocius. He also directed that the church in Holly Hill should be repaired and reopened as a chapel of ease.

In July 2005 Bishop Baker presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for a multi-functional building that would serve as St. Ann Catholic Church. The Administrator at the time was Rev. Ernest Hepner, the Deacon was Rev. Robert Kronyak and the building Committee Chairman was Mr. Hart Klee. Shortly after the groundbreaking, in early August 2005, Bishop Baker assigned Rev. Thomas Kingsley as the Administrator for Saint Ann Catholic Church in Santee. The Master Plan was developed to “outline” the future development  of the Church as shown below:


The present church (located in the parish hall) was designed to seat 200; however, with the present number of pews, seats 160 before adding chairs.

The church in the Master Plan seats 400. Per the architect the current cost for the 7,500 sq. ft. building ($180/sq ft) plus site work and additional pews would range between $1,400,000 and $1,600,000 (estimated summer 2012).



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