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School History

The story of St. Catharine Academy has its beginnings in 1845 when Archbishop John Hughes went to Ireland to seek Sisters of Mercy to serve the needs of his rapidly growing Diocese of New York. He was successful in obtaining volunteers from the religious group that had begun only 15 years earlier by Catherine McAuley, named Venerable by the Church. In 1846 a small group of Sisters arrived to continue the many forms of service by which she had become known in Ireland: visiting the sick in their homes, giving religious instruction, providing lodging for young immigrant women, and undertaking various forms of education. Some years later, in 1889, the Sisters of Mercy opened the school that was the forerunner of the St. Catharine Academy we know today.

The school opened at the request of Rev. Edward Slattery, who had asked for a small group of Sisters of Mercy to assist him in developing a newly established parish. At his suggestion, they used part of their residence to start a school. On November 22, 1889 the first academy opened and was dedicated to St. Catharine of Genoa. Ten years later, increased enrollment required a move to a larger building, which also was able to accommodate boarders. So began a pattern of growth and movement that was to become part of the SCA ongoing reality.

In 1953 St. Catharine Academy relocated from the West Side of Manhattan to Williamsbridge Road in the Bronx.

St. Catharine Academy is sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy through the Mercy Education System of the Americas. SCA holds membership in the National Catholic Education Association and is accredited by the North Central Association Commission of Accreditation and School Improvement.

Click the history of St. Catharine Academy written by Sr. Rhea Bean, RSM on the occasion of SCA’s 125th anniversary.