The original site of six acres was purchased on December 11, 1952 from Mr. and Mrs. N. B. Martin for $12,000. Members of the new parish would come from St. Mary and St. Patrick Churches. During the year of developing the new parish, the children continued to attend St. Patrick School. Many of the earliest activities of the future parish involved raising money to support the school bus used to transport parish children to St. Patrick School.
Fr. Francis W. Eiseman, Assistant Pastor at St. Patrick Church, was named the first Pastor of the new parish. The still-unnamed parish began to celebrate the Mass at the Lion’s Club in Donelson on Sunday, April 26, 1953. There were 127 persons attending the first Mass.
Fr. Eiseman received permission to begin fund raising for a church and school from Bishop William L. Adrian on November 24, 1953. The Bishop proposed the name of “Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church” in discussions with Fr. Eiseman early in January of 1954. 1954 was an international Marian Year, and Bishop Adrian encouraged any parish formed that year to take Mary as its patroness. Holy Rosary was also the name of the first Cathedral of the Diocese of Nashville. The Bishop approved the name on January 28, 1954.
Holy Rosary Academy opened the doors of the new six classroom facility in September of 1954. Five Sister Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a French-Canadian teaching congregation, staffed the new school of grades Kindergarten through Eighth Grade. The parish facility would be completed with a church seating 350. Estimated cost of the original facility was $250,000. The cornerstone was laid on December 5, 1954, and the church was dedicated by Bishop Adrian on February 6, 1955.
The new parish and the community of Donelson both grew quickly in the coming years. In October of 1954, Holy Rosary Parish had 400 members in 124 families. In October of 1959, the number of parishioners had grown to 1,576 persons in 395 families. This brought about a need for additional space in the Academy. The 1957-58 school year began with 315 students. The Academy had opened with 160 students three years earlier. It would reach a student population of 600 in the 1965-66 school year. That same year the parish population grew to 2,711.
The work of expansion fell to Fr. Paul E. Trainor, the second Pastor of Holy Rosary. Fr. Trainor became the Pastor on February 4, 1957. He oversaw the expansions of the Academy in 1958 and 1960 to a sixteen classroom facility. Fr. Trainor was also the Pastor when the new church building was constructed on a one-third acre lot adjacent to the existing rectory. This property was purchased from Mrs. Nellie Peebles on April 23, 1965. The new church was dedicated by Bishop Joseph A. Durick on October 7, 1966.
The Sister Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary staffed the Academy through the 1964-65 school year. The Sister Servant Principals were Sr. Marie Anselm Gallant (1954-1960) and Sr. Marie Yvonne (1960-1965). The Mercy Sisters of St. Bernard took over the Academy beginning in the 1965-66 school year. Sr. Mary Linus was the first Mercy Sister Principal of the Academy, followed by Sr. Mary Evelyn Hailey (1966-1971), Sr. Mary Coleman Burns (1971-1984), and Sr. Louise Shoulta (1984-1987). Sr. Louise ended the Mercy Sister staffing of the Holy Rosary Academy. Mrs. Lynn Farrand (1987-1991) served as the first lay Principal of the Academy, followed by Dr. Margaret Isabell (1991-1996), Mrs. Peggy Walker (1996-2007), Mr. Tim Keogh (2007-2008), Mrs. Mary Hart (2008-2011), Dr. Betty Reynolds (2012-2016). Our current principal is Mr. Peter Rodgers.
Fr. William S. Bevington was named the third Pastor of Holy Rosary in September of 1970, and served until the summer of 1980. He was succeeded by Fr. William Fleming, who served for two years. In 1982, Fr. Sterling McGuire was named the fifth Pastor of Holy Rosary. It was during this time that the Family Life Center and Gymnasium was build. Holy Rosary Academy was also expanded with the dedication of the new additions occurring on November 15, 1986.
Fr. Stephen Klasek was named the sixth Pastor in July, 1989. Changes in Holy Rosary Parish over the past twenty years have reflected the changes in the area during those years. Holy Rosary Academy which is dedicated to serving the Catholic students in eastern Davidson and western Wilson Counties had 475 students enrolled during the 2007-2008 school year. In October of 2007 the parish had 2,152 registered members who were Catholic in 887 registered households .As of July 1, 2009, the parish has 892 registered households with 2202 Catholic members.
Our current Pastor, Fr. Mark Hunt, was named the seventh Pastor in July 2008.