About the Sanctuary

The History of the Sanctuary

In 1847, a group of forty-five residents, living along the river from the Mill Creek to Sedamsville, met for the purpose of raising funds for a church and school. They contributed a total sum of $465 and soon afterward obtained three adjoining lots between West Sixth Street and the Ohio River. The first building erected was a one-story frame, which at first served as both a school and a space for prayer services.

In the fall of 1847, construction of Saint Michael Church began.

Throughout the 1800s the area, then known as Storrs Township, continued to develop. With the construction of the Price Hill Incline at 8th Street and State Avenue in 1874, the area boomed with 12,000 residents and a robust retail district.

The Sanctuary Today

The Sanctuary is a vibrant community hub that serves as the cornerstone of Lower Price Hill. Built in 1847, The Sanctuary is the second oldest (standing) former Catholic church in Cincinnati. Today, the space has been fully restored and is operated by Community Matters as a gathering space for celebrations, performances, weddings, meetings, and community events. Proceeds from renting The Sanctuary support the mission of Community Matters: to create a thriving and more just community by removing barriers to opportunity.

The space features historic architecture, restored stained glass windows, original hardwood floors, acoustically engineered space, licensed commercial kitchen, two multi-stall restrooms, additional meeting/dressing rooms, large stage, updated heating and air conditioning, onsite tables and chairs, and full ADA accessibility.

Staff Members

Stella Luggen

Facilities Director
513-244-2214 ext. 216

A lifelong resident of Cincinnati, Stella graduated from Miami University (Ohio) with degrees in Psychology and Family Studies. In 2013, she joined our sister organization, Education Matters, as an AmeriCorps member in the College Bridge Program. Her heart was won over by the people and places of Lower Price Hill, and she became committed to being a part of the community. This foundation of serving others with dignity and respect made Stella an important teammate at Education Matters, and now, Community Matters. Her experience has allowed her to strengthen her innate planning skills and foster her “get-it-done” attitude, which she now uses to coordinate events in The Sanctuary and oversee the operations of the Saint Michael’s Campus.