Monday, July 22 2024

“…All your counsels and your ideals too, they will guide us our whole life through…”

RSHM directed and staffed St. Francis de Sales School, Sherman Oaks, from 1949-2009 and St. Patrick School, North Hollywood, from 1952-1987. Creating an environment to facilitate and support the academic, spiritual, and social development of the students. The RSHM were a “steady and nurturing presence”. 

The curriculum was full, challenging and engaging. There was always something happening in the classroom or on the playground that brought squeals of laughter or cheers for accomplishments. The school year was filled with activities, special programs, celebrations of the sacraments, and annual festivals that fully involved the faculty, staff, children, and parents. 

For decades the sisters, dedicated to the education and faith formation of students, helped shape the lives of young people and their supported families. Immersed in the life of both faith communities, the RSHM have been blessed with enduring relationships. 

In East Los Angeles, Fr. O’Dowd desired an elementary school.  His plea for sisters was heard and the new St. Alphonsus School, staffed by RSHM, opened in 1945 to 800 children.  At its peak, early ‘50s, there were 1,100 students, the largest elementary school in the Archdiocese.

The curriculum and activities reflected the RSHM commitment to the education of the whole person. The students participated and competed in a variety of activities both local and Archdiocesan, sports, dance, music, and forensics with parents, faculty, and staff engaged wholeheartedly in each event.The RSHM served in educational, social, and pastoral ministries at St. Alphonsus until 1995. The sisters, thoroughly invested in the life of the school and faith community, enjoy treasured and long-standing relationships with students, parents, and parishioners. 

St Alphonsus Dedication Mass Booklet 1951 – excerpts

In 1923, to address the spiritual needs of East Los Angeles’ expanding population, Bishop Cantwell sought assistance from the Benedictine Fathers of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. They acquired property on Ford Blvd. and relocated St. Mary’s Hall to establish a Mission Chapel. Bishop Cantwell elevated the Mission to a Parish the same year, appointing Father Justin as Pastor. In 1923, St. Joan of Arc Church was inaugurated under his leadership. Over the following years, the parish experienced transitions under various pastors. In 1935, Father Patrick J. O’Dowd took charge and built a new Chapel dedicated to St. Alphonsus. Eventually, the parish relocated to a site on Hastings St. and Atlantic Blvd. due to property condemnation and expansion plans. A new school was inaugurated in 1945, attracting more families to the area. Despite financial challenges, the parish succeeded in clearing its debt by 1949. Plans for a new Church commenced in 1950, leading to the dedication of the magnificent St. Alphonsus Church in 1951 by Archbishop McIntyre. This marked a significant milestone in the parish’s history under the patronage of St. Alphonsus.

St. Patrick’s Parish School