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Rochester Catholic Schools have provided faith-based education in Rochester, Minnesota for
more than 137 years.
1877 - Academy
of Our Lady of Lourdes - First Catholic school in Rochester
The Academy of Our Lady of Lourdes was founded by
Mother Mary Alfred Moes in December of 1877. Classes opened with approximately
210 female students in attendance. The school was staffed by six Franciscan
Sisters with Mother Mary Alfred working as the director. Click here to learn more about our Franciscan founder, Mother Mary Alfred Moes.
1882 - St.
The Academy of Our Lady of Lourdes continued to
grow and in 1882 the need for a second addition became necessary. The sisters
purchased a building at the corner of 1st Avenue and 6th Street and named it
St. Mary’s Hall. The school was owned and
operated by the Sisters of St. Francis of the Congregation of Our Lady of
1888 - Saint
John’s Grade School
A south wing was added to Saint Mary’s Hall in
1888 which accommodated girls in grades 1 through 8. Housed
in Saint Mary’s Hall, the school became Saint John’s Grade School.
1899 - Saint
John’s Parish School
St. John’s Grade School was taken over by St.
John’s Parish and became known as St. John’s Parish School. This was the
beginning of the elementary co-ed education.
1913 Heffron High School for Boys and St. John’s
High School for Girls
Brothers of the
Christian Schools were the faculty for the new high school for boys. Sisters of
Saint Francis taught high school girls at the St. John’s High School housed in
Saint Mary’s Hall.
1925 - Saint
John's High School
The two separate boys and girls high schools became
one co-educational institution housing students in grades 7-12, and taught by
the Sisters of Saint Francis (the Christian Brothers had left Rochester). The
former Heffron building was converted into an elementary school housing grades 1-6.
1942 - Lourdes
A newly constructed building located on the
corner of 7th Avenue and Center Street named Lourdes High School opened in
January of 1942. Enrollment totaled 260 students. The choice to name the new
institution of learning “Lourdes” gave promise that the school would operate
according to the sound educational philosophy established by the Franciscan
Sisters and continue the noble traditions characterized by Rochester’s first
Catholic academy founded in 1877.
1952 - St. Francis of Assisi School
St. Francis of Assisi parish, located in the southeast quadrant of
Rochester, opened its school for children in grades K- 6. By the time grades 7-8 were added in 1959, the enrollment was 1,015 students.
1956 - St. Pius X School
St. Pius X School opened in
1956 for students in grades 1-8. The school opened with 325 students in a two story
building with the Sisters living on the second floor. Enrollment grew so quickly that within five years it more than doubled to 700 students, and the parish built a convent
for 18 Sisters.
1958 - St. John’s School
St. John’s School was torn down and re-built in 1959.
1991 - Rochester
Catholic School system
A landmark decision was made in 1991; the Rochester Catholic
Schools formed a Rochester Central School Board and dissolved
individual school boards .The new Rochester Catholic Schools system (RCS) includes
Lourdes High School, St. John the Evangelist School, St. Pius X School, St. Francis of Assisi School, and since 1993
Holy Spirit Catholic School.
1993 – Holy
Spirit Catholic School
Catholic School opened in northwest Rochester in the fall of
1994 for students in grades K-3. The final phase completed in 1999 expanded
space to include Kindergarten through grade 8. Preschool classes for students
age three and four year olds were added in 2008.
2013 - Newly
Built Lourdes High School
Due to age and dynamic educational demands,
Lourdes was faced with a challenge to re-build. Over the course of five years,
Rochester Catholic Schools completed its first ever Catholic capital campaign
raising over $15 million to make possible Rochester Catholic Schools' new “state
of the art” high school. The new Lourdes High School building and campus is
located at the corner of 19th Street and Valleyhigh Drive NW.
2800 19th Street NW
Rochester, MN 55901