Notre Dame de Chicago is truly “The Parish with Heart in the Heart of the City.” It was founded in 1864 by the French-speaking immigrants who at first gathered in the basement of Old St. Pat’s Church. Moving from their eventual place of worship on Halsted and Congress, they constructed the current church building in 1887 and later a Notre Dame Academy grade school, which was staffed by the Sisters of Notre Dame. In 1918 the French Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament took over the church. They turned Notre Dame into a center of devotion and perpetual adoration to the Eucharist for the entire Chicagoland area.
Over the years the neighborhood went through socio-economic and ethnic changes. The parish community changed along with it- from being an ordered French parish to a diverse and multilingual diocesan congregation that remains a home for the heart of Chicago.
The initial church building was modest and lacking extravagant ornamentation. Through the years it went through at least five major renovations. The most significant changes included lengthening the sanctuary for Eucharistic Adoration and replacing the statue of Our Lady on the dome after it was struck by lightening. The most recent renovation, completed in 2005, dramatically changed the inside of the church. The murals inside the dome were restored and the altar was expanded, which required rearranging pews. Also an improved sound and electrical system was installed and the altar was made accessible.