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Sacred Heart Celebrates 125th Anniversary

Sacred Heart Celebrates 125th Anniversary

PR Newswire

ATHERTON, Calif., May 17, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- This Sunday, Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton (SHS) will conclude a yearlong celebration of its 125th milestone anniversary. The school community will attend a Mass and Congé, French for "leave taking," a traditional—often surprise—day of play for students observed by Sacred Heart schools worldwide.

Explore the institution's long history as a top independent Bay Area preschool—12th grade school by visiting its 125th anniversary website developed to showcase the theme, "125 Years - Educating For A Lifetime."

The website is the culmination of a two-year-long project by Sacred Heart Preparatory (SHP) librarians and students who assembled a visual timeline of the school's growth from thousands of photographs housed in the historic SHS Main Building archive room.

On August 1, 1898, SHS opened its doors to its first 23 students. Since then, the school has expanded to a vibrant, co-educational day school for 1,185 students, situated on 63 acres.

Sacred Heart's Main Building—the first structure built on campus—is considered an architectural jewel of the San Francisco Peninsula; it survived both the 1906 earthquake and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, although both caused damage.

Designed by Irish-immigrant architect Charles Devlin, it echoes the Romanesque features of nearby St. Patrick's Seminary, which also withstood both earthquakes, as well as many of the area's churches, convents, hospitals, and schools also built by Devlin.

Over 300 Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (RSCJ) have served on the school's grounds since 1898. The school's Catholic identity, mission, and goals mirror the historic priorities of the RSCJ, founded by Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, who also established the first Sacred Heart schools in post-revolutionary France. Today, the RSCJ has grown its ministry to include over 150 schools in 44 countries worldwide. SHS—the 13th Sacred Heart school to be built in North America—continues an equally-long tradition of ensuring access to education, emphasizing personal faith, preparing students for lives of meaning and purpose, and active service to its community.

"For 125 years, what has remained constant throughout our growth has been the school's dedication to service," said Sister Nancy Morris, the former SHS director of schools from 1971 to 1989, who still lives on campus adjacent to the RSCJ retirement center, Oakwood.

To mark its 125th anniversary, the school's iconic Main Building underwent a timely restoration project of its two historic parlors.

"We invite the community to celebrate the longevity of Sacred Heart as we recognize the achievements of our students, educators, RSCJ, alumni, and parents," said SHS Director of Schools Richard Dioli. "We are paving the way for the next 125 years, preparing students to meet tomorrow's challenges with compassionate hearts."


Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton ( was founded in 1898 and is located on a 63-acre campus in Atherton, California. It is an accredited preschool—12th grade school, with a total enrollment of 1,185 students, and is a member of the International Network of Schools of the Sacred Heart.

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SOURCE Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton

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