St. Thomas More Catholic Church began with six students from the University of South Carolina and Fr. Theophilus McNulty, O.F.M, September 23, 1953. Prior to the September meeting, the Catholic students at the university, known as the "Newman Club," had been meeting at St. Peter's Catholic Church since mid-1930.
Recognizing the need for a Catholic student center at the University of South Carolina, Msgr. Martin C. Murphy, St. Peter's Church in Columbia, requested to purchase property on Greene Street. The Bishop of Charleston, John J. Russell, gave permission to purchase the property that included a house and six-car garage. The new Catholic Student Center and Chapel were to be called the "Thomas More Centre" and "St. Thomas More Center," respectively.
The garage was torn down in order for the chapel to be built, which was consecrated by Bishop Russell on March 7, 1954. The altar and all of the granite work contained in the Thomas More Chapel was donated by John Bernardin. During this time, the Franciscan Fathers, with the help of any student who happened to drop by, repaired the Thomas More Centre that served as both a religious house for the priests in residence and meeting place for students.
In August of 1963, a Fr. Bonaventure Brown O.F.M. became the director of the Thomas More Centre. Under Fr. Brown's leadership, the small community expanded so greatly that the chapel was too small for Sunday Mass. In 1965, a letter was sent to the Administrator of the Diocese requesting that two Masses be held at Rutledge Chapel on the USC horseshoe and one Mass at St. Thomas More Chapel.
Due to community Growth, Fr. Brown realized the need for a larger chapel, which was completed in 1973. The new chapel held nearly 200 people, and was originally adorned with plain glass. Stained glass was donated by USC basketball coach, Frank McGuire.
Franciscan Fathers faithfully served the St. Thomas More community until the early 1990s. At that time, the St. Thomas More Center and Chapel were deeded back to the Diocese of Charleston and have been served by secular priests since.
[Excerpt from Catholic Diocese of Charleston: A History, 2008. ISBN: 978-2-7468-2134-7]