During the late 1600’s early settlers came to Edisto Island and established a Sea Island community along the coast of South Carolina. One of first missions was to build churches so the Island community had a place to worship. Years later some of these historic churches still stand and ancestors of some of these early settlers still worship under the same roof today.
Not having a Catholic Church on the Island during the early 1900’s the few Catholic families living on Edisto Island had to travel many miles to attend Mass at St. Mary’s Church on Yonges Island. They had to leave early, hope that the dirt roads were passable and that the Old Dawhoo Drawbridge would not leave them stranded on one side either coming or going.
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During those early years, Bishop Walsh appointed a Priest to have Sunday Mass on Edisto Beach. It was then that our co-founder’s Mr. & Mrs. Frederick Herlihy and Mr. & Mrs. Stephen Flowers Sr., open their homes to hold Mass for the residents and summer visitors. Around 1954 when the summer vacationers outgrew the founders homes, Mr Herlihy gave a civic building to the Lions Club of Edisto with one provision: that it be used by all denominations for worship on Sunday. This was our summer place of worship for over 25 years. In 1957, realizing the need for a Catholic Church on Edisto, Mr. Stephen Flowers Sr. gave the Bishop a beach lot to build a new church on Edisto. The permanent Catholic family on Edisto grew and welcomed the many summertime vacationers, as Edisto Beach became a popular vacation destination for families. It became apparent that the small beach lot given by Mr. Flowers would not support a church and ample parking for future growth. The present 5 acre site was purchased, a building erected, and on August 26, 1979, Bishop Ernest Unterkoefler dedicated the Church of St. Frederick & St. Stephen.