The monastery chapel of St Barbara College had become too small, as a result, St Barbara Church was built as a new college church. In 1855, Italian Cardinal Matteo Gonelle laid the foundation stone consecrated by Pope Pius IX. Three yeas later, the church was first opened for worship.

Father Jesuit Prosper Coppens, the designer of this church, originally had very ambitious plans. Due to a lack of funds, architect Frans Steyaert was never able to fully implement these plans.

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