What characterizes the charisma of Dolores Mission, a parish created in “the Flats” east of downtown Los Angeles, is its continuous and dedicated service to the poor, the immigrant and to social justice. When the church began in 1925, it depended upon the supportive priests from nearby St. Mary’s Parish. In 1945 the parish received a donated building which was established at its current site, on the corner of Gless and Third Streets, and was named, “The Mission of Nuestra Senora de los Dolores.”
The Canonness of St. Augustine (later named the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart) from Belgium came in 1946. They served for 45 years at the parish and school. In 1952 Auxiliary Bishop Timothy Manning dedicated the new three-story school building, the first Catholic school the neighborhood ever had.
In 1980, because the Belgium order had too few members to staff the parish, Cardinal Manning asked the Jesuit order to take charge of the mission. In the intervening years since 1980, the people of Dolores Mission have worked hard with the Jesuits to ask the question, “What is God asking us to do, here and now?” As a result of this question, various grassroots non-profit organizations have sprouted and grown from the parish, including Homeboy Industries, Proyecto Pastoral at Dolores Mission, CHIRLA, and East Los Angeles Housing Coalition.
Currently, Dolores Mission Church and School do a lot with a little to serve what is still today a low income population of “the Flats” of Boyle Heights.