Established in 1911 and led by Rev. Hugh J. McDevitt, D.D., St. Rose of Lima began with a membership of 25 families. It had grown to be the second largest church in Portland by 1960 with a school staffed by the Holy Child sisters. The present church, built over the original church, was dedicated in 1925 and contained the first administrative space and classrooms for the growing St Rose School (further additions came in 1950, 1956, 1993).
The Holy Child Sisters staffed St Rose School from 1913-1986 and built Holy Child Convent and Academy (a high school for girls) diagonally across the street from St Rose Church. In 1986, a growing Vietnamese and SE Asian Catholic refugee population, which had conducted worship and ministry at St Rose from 1976 until 1986, moved into the former Holy Child Academy and became a separate parish: the Southeast Asian Vicariate (Our Lady of LaVang Church).
Like a sentinel on guard, St. Rose Church stands high on the hill at the corner of NE 54th Avenue and Alameda Street. Its striking Spanish architecture and beautiful bell tower is crowned with a gold cross that can be seen for many blocks.