St. Lucy Parish School, Campbell

Notre Dame Sisters opened St. Lucy Parish School in 1953, but the sisters commuted from the Provincial House in Saratoga until just before Christmas, 1962, when they moved into the newly built convent. Somehow, in the midst of the move, they found time to write the traditional Christmas letter each community sent to all the other communities of Notre Dame on the west coast. Over 50 years later, their excitement is still catching. They wrote:

Dear Sister Superior and Sisters:

The newest community in the West hastens to send Christmas Season wishes and prayers for a glorious New Year to each one of you…. We arrived at our new convent, bag and baggage, on Saturday, December 22. Two of the devoted ladies of the parish were still here putting some finishing touches on the home that they had so beautifully cleaned and prepared for us. Everything was spick and span. Dads and mothers had worked scrubbing floors, putting down wax, polishing and shining the furniture. Even the beds were made for us.

They went on to tell how the ladies had made drapes for the windows, stocked the kitchen with utensils, provided canned goods, linens and even prepared dinner for their first night. Father John Lally, came to bring the Blessed Sacrament to the chapel and to bless the house. “Being a large man with the capability of moving rather rapidly and in long strides, we flew in a marathon-like procession through the house and into every nook and corner while Father generously sprinkled the holy water on us as well into the rooms.” That was all on the first day and Sisters of Notre Dame lived in that well-blessed convent for the next thirty years.

In 1974, the a new principal, Sr. Rosalie Pizzo, arrived knowing the excellent reputation of both the school and parish community. “Every Sister who had taught at St. Lucy’s talked about it in superlatives. It was a very stable population; we were teaching the children of the first students to come back in 1953. The parish was the hub of people’s social life and parents were right there to help anytime. It was a wonderful, receptive community.” She discovered unused classrooms and, with no hesitation, the men in the parish created a learning center in two of the rooms and a kindergarten classroom in the third. All of this was most successful because of the complete support of the school community.

As years went on, the number of lay faculty increased. Their integration into the school community was successful because, as Sr. Rosalie says, “Teaching was a ministry for them and it showed in the way they cared for the children.” It may be because she loved St. Lucy’s School so much that she returned later to serve as pastoral associate for 19 years.


Timeline

  • 1953 – School opened with students in grades one, two and three with Sister Mary Florence O’Rourke, principal. A new grade was added each year for the next five years. Until the convent was built, Sisters of Notre Dame traveled from Saratoga to teach.
  • December 12, 1962 – Sister Mary Joseph, first and second grade teacher, suffered a heart attack in her classroom after children had been sent home for the day and died on her way to the hospital. She was to be named Superior when the convent opened a few days later.
  • December 22, 1962 – The Sisters of Notre Dame moved into St. Lucy’s Convent. The new community included Sisters Mary Kenneth, Mary Irene, Michael Marie, Jeanne Marie and Marie Angele.
  • 1980’s – An extended Day Care program was started. It became a full day program in 1992. The former convent was remodeled to accommodate to accommodate it.
  • 1985 – The computer lab opened and gave students opportunity to participate in a computer education program.
  • 2007 – The library underwent an extensive remodel to become the Library/Media Center. A glass wall now joins a state-of-the-art computer lab containing more than forty 20-inch iMac computers with the remodeled library.

One thought on “St. Lucy Parish School, Campbell

  1. I’m hoping to locate a dear teacher of mine from gradeschool days. Do you happen to know an address where I may contact Sr. Michael Marie, SND? She was a teacher at St. Thomas Aquinas, in Sheffield Lake, Ohio, in the 1960’s.
    Any help would be appreciated,
    Louise Spanos
    louisespanos@gmail.com

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