During the 1930’s on the urging of Cardinal Dougherty and the General Council desiring to see the Assumption develop in the United States, several foundations were contemplated, including one on Long Island, New York in 1937. But it was not until September 5, 1942 that the dream would be realized when 4 Assumption sisters stepped off a train in the dazzling sunshine of Miami, Florida.
The Academy of the Assumption opened the following school year. It was situated on a property given by Cardinal Dougherty that had been the former winter home of the American journalist, Arthur Brisbane. Since its grounds stretched from Brickell Avenue on SE 15th Road, all the way down to Biscayne Bay, the new school was appropriately named, “Bay Haven”.
Beginnings of Bay Haven
The opening of the school at Miami was not without difficulty as the zoning board had received several complaints of neighbors – residents of Brickell Avenue - who feared that a Catholic school would deteriorate the neighborhood. It must be remembered that Catholics were only 0.04% of the population of Florida at that time, but it should also be remembered that it was a petition signed by other neighbors – mostly non-Catholics - that finally saved the situation and permission was granted to open the school in October 1943.
The school, being the only Catholic boarding school in southern Florida, grew rapidly. Already in 1944 two new adjacent properties were added to accommodate the 70 boarding students, and plans were already underway to extend into the high school classes which would prepare girls for College entrance. Next came the Chapel in 1946, a beautiful Romanesque Gothic structure, restrained in its beauty, having simple and imposing lines, all of Indiana limestone. It stood in the front of the school, the first sight on approaching on Brickell Avenue, dominating over all the other buildings. In 1947 the school was crowded again and a new building was erected housing a big dining room and two floors of dormitories. All the buildings were then joined together by open-air breezeways. By 1948, the Academy of the Assumption campus was comprised of nine buildings. Presently only four buildings remain standing, including the Chapel.
“Bay Haven” like all Assumption schools was very cosmopolitan. The first Bay Haven Yearbook in 1949 recounts that “students come from all over the United States ; from Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Georgia, the Carolinas, New York, New Jersey, and even Florida! Not to mention other Pan-American representatives coming from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Venezuela and Panama who live happily with those from Spain and Hungary.”
A parent wrote, “If one considers Bay Haven from the material point of view, it strikes the visitor that it is quite the most ideally situated school that could be imagined. But a visit to Bay Haven, brings out more than the material advantages enjoyed by the children, it is a spirit of loving charity, of cordial welcome, of great happiness in doing God’s work, which is expressed in the smiling and happy faces of nuns and children. On entering one feels a great sense of Peace descend on one, and that is a rare and treasured experience in the troubled world of today.”
The Province of North America
During the 1950’s nationwide church membership in the United States grew at a faster rate than the population, from 57% of the US population in 1950 to 63.3% in 1960. Religion flourished in post-war America and so did religious life. This was in fact a worldwide phenomenon of the Universal Church and the Assumption was no exception.
In 1953, Mother Marie Denyse was elected General Superior. Over the next decade and a half she was to lead the Assumption Congregation into a period of growth and expansion throughout the world. The number of houses went from 40 in 1953 to 136 in 1970. In 1970, more than 1800 Assumption sisters were present in 32 countries in all five continents.
The congregation was re-structured into provinces and vice–provinces and in 1953 the United States became a Vice-Province under the direction of Mother Françoise Marguerite, who had been Superior of Ravenhill before that. As she was also Assistant General Superior and resided at the Mother House in Paris, the vice-province was governed from there until 1959 when the Province of North America was created under the leadership of Mother Elizabeth Mary as Provincial.
It was named so named because a foundation had been made in 1954 in Mexico City, and in 1959 another in Baie Comeau in Canada. During the 1960s six more houses would be opened in Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Mexico and Canada. Not only was the Assumption expanding its presence in many new countries, but the structure of Assumption communities and apostolates was being transformed in answer to the needs and realities of the times, as would be expressed by the General Superior:
“Almost all these new foundations are small communities that are well integrated into the local Church. I firmly believe in the apostolic raison d'être of our big institutions, provided they are truly evangelical; but I believe strongly that the future is for small communities with a more human dimension.”
(M. Marie Denyse 1970)
Mother Françoise Marguerite
Mother Françoise Marguerite was a tremendous force for good in the American Province. Superior of Ravenhill from 1942 to 1953, Vice-Provincial from 1953 to 1959 and Provincial of the North American Province from 1965 to 1970.
Mother Françoise, who was Spanish, entered the Religious of the Assumption in the Mother House in Belgium in 1921. She was sent to Ravenhill in 1925 where she spent her early years of religious life teaching and as Principal. She was apostolic and far-seeing, directing the growth and much of the construction work at Ravenhill and opening the school and community to such educational and charitable undertakings as the Philadelphia Catholic Lay Forum and the Adoration Society. She started an Advisory Board at RHA and encouraged Rachel Scarpello, who later became Sr. Francis Joseph, making her the first laywoman to be a Class Mistress and later Principal.
As Superior of Ravenhill, Mother Françoise had the responsibility of forming the first American sisters who entered in the 1940’s and 50’s. She was described by her former novices as being very holy, prayerful, kind, compassionate, and poor in the way of St. Francis her namesake, she was very genuine and had a good sense of humor.
She was brilliant. She spoke Spanish, French and English, and knew Latin and Greek. She was very cultured, open, well-read, and up-to-date in all. She was very well-informed and insisted that the sisters were well-informed, as well. She invited a number of well-known speakers for the lecture series she began on a wide variety of topics of contemporary interest. In the 1960s as Provincial Superior, she encouraged sisters to become involved in the Ecumenical Movement and Ravenhill became a setting for Ecumenical services and conferences.
After spending several years in East Africa she returned to Mexico where she died in 1985.
Mother Elizabeth Mary
Mother Elizabeth Mary was a builder, a foundress. As co-foundress with Mother Anne Elizabeth, she helped found Bayhaven - Miami in 1942 and was first principal of the school and later superior. In 1959 when named Provincial of the North American province, she immediately rose to the occasion by founding the first house in Canada at Baie Comeau, Quebec, a Diocesan sponsored public high school. During “Operacion Pedro Pan” 14,000 unaccompanied Cuban children between the ages of five and eighteen were brought to the United States. To respond to the call of this crisis in Miami, she took in about 200 children during the Christmas Holidays of 1959-60, keeping many of the girls on as boarding students until their families could get settled. The school cafeteria also daily fed over 100 Cuban boys, and Cuban Jesuit novices. She welcomed a community of Carmelites from Cuba with open arms. They stayed in the school science lab and locker room for a year until they found appropriate quarters.
Vatican II and its aftermath called forth a missionary effort in the Church to which Mother Elizabeth in response, founded five additional houses: another in Canada, two parish communities in Florida, one in Wisconsin, a Diocesan high school community at Warminster near Philadelphia as well as several houses in Mexico, then part of the North American Province until 1965. Even the big schools of Ravenhill and Bayhaven that were transformed as dormitories were converted into classrooms and the children of middle class America became the majority of students.
Mother Elizabeth Mary was English and attended the Assumption School at Kensington, London where she converted to Catholicism at the age of 11. Remaining on to teach there after graduation, she entered the novitiate at Val Notre Dame in Belgium in 1924 and made her final vows in 1929. In 1931 she was sent to Ravenhill, Philadelphia, USA, where she was immediately loved and appreciated by students for her lively classes, beautiful singing voice, buoyancy of spirit and compassionate nature.
In conclusion, Sr. Therese Margaret gives us some memories and impressions about Mother Elizabeth:
“To me she was the jolliest of them all! So pleasant, so cheerful and so amusing! She loved to laugh and tell stories. She also could get really excited about the most surprising things to me: a new toothpaste, a new cleanser, some new item... she seemed completely optimistic, maybe hopeful is a better word. Also her love of cats! Her care for the old sisters in St. Kieran’s at Miami... Sisters Luz, Theophane, Roberta, Laura, Sofia, Anne Elizabeth, Frieda… Had a singing voice like a bell. Loved the Divine Office, loved the Terry Xmas Carols. Planned a huge Thanksgiving Dinner for me when I came back on a visit from Paris even though it wasn’t November... said she knew I would never have celebrated the day over there! Her mystery was the Incarnation... she really lived it... very warm and welcoming to all."
Mother Elizabeth died in 1989 in Merion, Pennsylvania.
The North American Noviciate
“Novitiate” refers to both the period of time as well as to the place where religious (sisters) are formed for religious life. For 25 years, from 1944 to 1969, this initial formation took place at Ravenhill, under the direction of the superiors, Mothers Françoise Marguerite and Mary Veronica until 1955 when Mother Marie Dorothy was named Mistress of Novices.
At that time the novitiate included the postulancy, a period lasting from 6-12 months, as well as the novitiate of one to two years. Young women wishing to become Religious of the Assumption were helped to deepen their knowledge and relationship with Christ, to “discover the seed of holiness which the Spirit brings to maturity in each one, and to discern whether they were called to answer God’s invitation to consecrated life at the Assumption”. During those twenty-five years, 71 young women passed through the North American Novitiate at Ravenhill making their first (temporary) vows at the end of the 2-3 year period. They were of several nationalities: American (41), Mexican (16), Nicaraguan (4), Filipino (3), Cuban (3), Canadian (2), and one from Haiti and from Spain respectively.
Over the years many of those sisters would become important elements in the construction of their provinces and of the Congregation, while many followed other ways of living out their Faith; but most remained with very happy and loving memories of that formative time spent in the Novitiate at Ravenhill.
Mother Dorothy of the Incarnation
Though born in Ireland, Mother Dorothy of the Incarnation was English. Educated at the Assumption-Kensington through high school and then Montessori training, she entered there in 1924 and went to the Mother House in Belgium for her novitiate, making her first vows in 1926. She then returned to England, to Sidmouth where she made her Final Vows in 1929. Coming to America in 1935, she spent her apostolic life as a Montessori and elementary school teacher at Philadelphia and Miami before being named Novice Mistress at Ravenhill in 1955. From 1965 to 1970 we find her at Baie Comeau, Canada as Superior and thereafter in our communities of Miami, Philadelphia, North Carolina, West Philadelphia and finally Bowman, PA where she died in 2000 at the age of 97.
Mother Dorothy was an excellent example of the “English School of Spirituality” - the spiritual tradition whose origins are found in Saints Augustine, Benedict and Anselm; whose golden ages were those of the fourteenth century mystics such as Walter Hilton and Julian of Norwich. This she imparted on her novices, guiding them in a way of holiness that was simple and yet demanding, as in the words of Father Bernard Basset s.j. author of “We Neurotics”, a book widely read in the 1960s: spirituality is “the key to the art of living as fully, creatively, and indeed joyfully, as mankind is capable”.
A spirituality insisting that prayer, worship, and life itself, are grounded upon solid dogmatic fact, “that in everyday religious experience head and heart are wedded”. We see this spiritual harmony in Anselm’s treatises and also in Julian of Norwich’s “Revelations of Divine Love”.
A spirituality characterized by a unique humanism and optimism which is the biblical virtue of Hope in the midst of the endless details of everyday life. It maintains cheerfulness despite setbacks because it knows that God loves his people and will bring them to victory in the end. A hope that says with Julian of Norwich, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”
And we think here of the words written by her community of Bowman in her obituary : “Spiritually Sr. Dorothy maintained her vitality to the end. She wanted to be, and she was, a presence of the Love of God, thanking her Lord and everyone around her. … We had the grace of being with her for the last two days before her death. Despite her weakness, she reached out to each of us with affection, assuring us: "All will be well!"
In conclusion, here are a few of the many good memories Mother Dorothy’s novices have retained:
- Walks around the garden in late winter to visit the sites of snow drops which really did come up out of the snow. And in the fall walks through the woods where M. Dorothy would name each species of tree and help us draw the leaves.
- At moments of discouragement, Mother Dorothy would give you a vitamin B12 shot to “pick you up” – it worked.
- The drawings of the Infant Jesus she made for each novice at Christmas.
- Readings from the book “Prayers from the Ark” by Carmen Bernos de Gasztold, a thought provoking but humorous series of poems spoken as prayers by various animals whose “personalities” put human nature into perspective and say a lot about us. The result of each animal’s unique conversation with God is a poignant, funny and uplifting appreciation for the intimate connection between the created and the Creator.
And let us finish with one of those poems which seems to embody Mother Dorothy, most specially at the end of her life:
The Prayer of the Lark
I am here! O my God.
I am here, I am here!
You draw me away from earth,
and I climb to You
in a passion of shrilling,
to the dot in heaven
where, for an instant, You crucify me.
When will You keep me forever?
Must You always let me fall
back to the furrow’s dip,
a poor bird of clay?
Oh, at least
let my exultant nothingness
soar to the glory of Your mercy,
in the same hope,
When Mother Elizabeth Mary assumed responsibility for the newly erected North American Province in 1959, the apostolic works consisted of three Academies : “Ravenhill” in Philadelphia, “Bayhaven” in Miami and “Aquilas” in Mexico City. It was time to extend Assumption education to more popular settings, to parochial, diocesan and even public educational institutions more inserted in the local communities of which they were an integral part.
Baie Comeau, a remote and isolated town in the eastern part of the province of Quebec, Canada was to be the first endeavor in this direction. The town of Baie Comeau, the northernmost ice free port on the St. Laurence River, was founded by Cyrus McCormick of the “Chicago Tribune” as a source of paper for his newspaper. Bishop Gerard Couturier, one of the many priests welcomed at Miami during the winters, had in mind to build a school for the English-speaking Catholics in his diocese and asked Mother Elisabeth for sisters to come to teach there, inviting them to a mission of “working hard with the Parish priest, the school staff and a small group of lay people in a local diocesan Church that (was) in many ways a real missionary Church.” And he continued : “This is why we need your wonderful missionary spirit to help us serve the English-speaking minority.”
Consequently, in the summer of 1960, four Sisters set out by car for Baie Comeau, P.Q.: Sisters Therese Margaret, Ann Teresa, Regina of Jesus and Mary Frieda. They were to connect with Sisters Marie Adelaide and Mary Juliana coming from the U.K. In the ten years of the community’s life there, other sisters, Sheila, Monica, Marie Dorothy, Christilla from France and others, came and went from the North American Province.
The Hauterive School Commission had built a school named McCormick Memorial High School for the English-speaking Catholics on a bluff overlooking the bay, and a convent next to it for the Sisters. The school was from 1st to 12th grade, boys and girls, English-speaking though many were bi-lingual.
A sister writes in 1963, “Our school year begins on September 8 .... the situation is very special : a public school, under the control of a School Board and a lay principal, with whom we are in perfect collaboration. But this set-up is very different from what we are used to in our Assumption Schools, and co-ed in all the classes. We have big, mustached, 18-year-old boys in the final year. It's not just any sister who could be sent here. Fortunately, the American Sisters are doing very well with their boys.”
And another, “Every morning the students sing “O Canada” and march in from the very cold outdoors to their classes. After school, they skate on flooded playgrounds or go snow-shoeing on the hills around. On fall or winter weekends the boys often go moose hunting with their fathers, living in small cabins far in the woods. The moose meat is carefully cut up, cured and frozen for family enjoyment throughout the year.”
And from a former student posting on Facebook, “Another shout out to our good sisters - this one from 1964-65 … the impression they left on us was indelible - even all these years later. They were quite the formidable group of women.”
Want to see more? Visit Facebook, especially the photos: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/School/McCormick-Memorial-High-School-426944060733833/
Saint Hugh's Community
The Assumption Saint Hugh’s community was established in 1962 in the parish of St. Hugh in Coconut Grove near Miami, Florida. But before that, from 1960, four Assumption Sisters were “commuting” every day from their convent and school (Bayhaven) on Brickell Avenue, to staff the Saint Augustine Parish Mission School which had been founded in 1956 by the Sisters of Saint Joseph as an integrated school serving the African-American community of West Grove, as that part of Coconut Grove was called in those days. Later, when the mission became St. Hugh Parish, St. Augustine School was renamed St. Hugh School and was the first Assumption Parochial school in the United States.
Assumption sisters continued to work in the school and parish of St. Hugh until 1972 when, being unable to further provide sufficient personnel, they were obliged to hand the school over to another religious congregation, the Adrian Dominican Sisters. After a transition period, Sr. Kathleen Donnelly OP replaced Sr. Mary Immaculate RA as principal of the parish sponsored school with an enrollment of 266 boys and girls in grades K-8. Sr. Kathleen Donnelly remained principal for 35 years until she retired in 2009. Today the school, under Mrs. Mary E. Fernandez, Principal and a staff of more than 35 students, flourishes with over 300 students and places among the top 20% of private schools in the State of Florida. Both the Parish and School of Saint Hugh celebrate their Diamond Jubilee this year.
See more at https://sthughmiami.org/school/
The Assumption was to venture into three more Parish apostolates in the 1960’s: Peña Pobre school for the children of workers of the Peña Pobre Paper Mill in Mexico City, and two Parochial Schools in the USA : St. Ambrose at Deerfield Beach, Florida in 1964 and Saint Mary of the Lake at Waunakee, Wisconsin in 1967.
The Deerfield community was an insertion in the new Parish of St. Ambrose, begun in 1962 with masses held in the auditorium of the local Junior High School until completion of the Church/School building in September 1964. This unusual “satellite” circular structure with the church in the center and the classrooms all around, the sliding doors of which were pulled open on Sundays to provide for the overflow, has been used for the St. Ambrose School until the present day.
Three Assumption Sisters opened the school in 1964 with 70 children in grades one through five. Each year another grade was added until 1967 when the 8th grade was opened and a second building with a covered walkway was built to accommodate the Pre-K and Kindergarten Montessori classes.
The first year the sisters lived in a house rented by the parish around the block and went back to Miami every weekend. In June 1965 there were 90 children in the school when it closed for the summer. In August a regular community of five sisters was installed in the new convent which had been built on S.E. 5th street across the parking lot from the Church/School.
Today, St. Ambrose Catholic School occupies the same space and more with 237 students in Pre-K to Grade 8, served by 25 teachers and staff. http://www.stambrosecs.org/
Waunakee, Wisconsin: St. Mary of the Lake
In August 1967, four Assumption sisters left Philadelphia for Wisconsin, “America’s dairy land.” Their destination – the Parish of Saint Mary of the Lake, located in the town of Westport on the north shore of Lake Mendota “out in the country about a mile beyond the city limits of Madison,” the capital of the state of Wisconsin. But in fact, as we read in the Archives : “the first thoughts of this foundation date back several years. An American priest, the Director of the Office for Consecrated Life of the Diocese of Madison, was spending his holidays in Europe. One day, he was walking in London near Kensington Square and upon seeing some nuns in purple, began thinking that he would like to see them in his diocese… He went to the Parish to get information, asked for their name, about their works, etc. ... Then, he made an appointment with the Provincial … immediately, great mutual sympathy … promises to help each other so that one day the project would become a reality. And the idea caught on. So here we are in September ‘67, taking over from the Benedictine Oblates, in a parish school in the suburbs of Madison.”
The Church of St Mary of the Lake, the first in the area, was established in 1866 and was a predominantly rural parish occupying the entire northern part of Lake Mendota. But beginning already in the 1880’s, St. John’s Parish in neighboring Waunakee was cut off from St. Mary of the Lake, followed by three other new parishes until into the 1960’s, leaving the Parish of St. Mary of the Lake occupying the rapidly developing center of the northern part of the Lake. In 1952 the church was destroyed by fire and a new church was built as well as a school which was opened by the Oblates (Sisters) of Saint Benedict in 1957.
Following the 2nd Vatican Council in the 1960s, the Sisters of Saint Benedict reoriented their apostolic ministry towards ecumenism and opened the “Center for Christian Unity” in Madison. In 1967 this decision led them to withdraw from two of their schools in the area including St. Mary of the Lake. At the time the school counted 289 pupils distributed through the eight grades and the rapidly growing suburban Parish was counting 600 families.
The welcome reserved for the sisters was unforgettable and their enchantment as they discovered their new home matched it as attested by letters found in the Archives : “The houses around are all very new and modern wedged in between cornfields, low hills and the occasional barn and silo and beautiful birch and elm and many wild flowers along the highway called “county trunk road”. In the morning we hear the cocks crowing and last night we took a walk and watched a herd of dairy cows coming over the hill in the setting sun. On our way we stopped to pick some wild-flowers which grew abundantly along the road. In the midst of picking, four little fishermen left the creek to help us. They were more agile in climbing under the barbed wire. We said good-by with promises that they would return with more flowers. The promises were not spoken in vain, the next morning – flowers in the bath-tub, flowers in the sink, flowers in the cupboards, flowers everywhere. … The school is beautifully equipped, file cabinets, TV, PA system, every possible teaching aid, a set of encyclopedias in each room for the older children of the 5th-8th grades and a small library for same. Imagine a classroom whose windows overlook rolling-meadows and grazing cows.”
The school grew under the care of the Assumption Sisters who added a Montessori department (Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten) in 1968. But already in 1971 the Assumption, like so many religious congregations in the United States, was facing the problem of overextension and lack of personnel and was obliged to announce their withdrawal for the end of the school year in June 1972.
At the same time the impact of development was encroaching upon the township of Westport to the east and west of the Madison metropolitan area : sewer and water facilities were extended, housing developments were mushrooming, the population increased, public schools were built and staffed. The Catholic Church followed suit and new parishes were created which took families away from St Mary of the Lake. The people of the parish struggled to keep the school open, organizing Bingo games to raise money for busing students to St Mary of the Lake for example. In addition, there was the difficulty of finding Catholic lay teachers when the public schools offered better recompenses and other difficulties which a parochial school had to confront at that time. The school was eventually closed in favor of the Saint John School at nearby Waunakee, an older school founded in 1874 and run by the Sisters of St. Agnes, when the Parishes of St Mary of the Lake and Saint John the Baptist were joined under a common Pastor.
For more information about Saint John the Baptist Catholic School visit http://stjbedu.org/index.html
The AMA Movement
In February 1960, Mother Marie Denyse, then Superior General, seeing that the Assumption Sisters were not enough to meet the demands of the Bishops of mission countries, had the idea of founding a movement of lay missionaries to help our Sisters to work for the advancement of the Kingdom of God in our mission centers. And so, the movement called A.M.A. (Auxiliary Missionaries of the Assumption) was born. Young women and men committed themselves to work and live with Assumption communities in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Europe, sharing their vision of the Christian transformation of society and working to make it happen. This lay missionary movement received an especially warm welcome in the Province of Quebec, Canada and from the community of Baie Comeau, Mother Marie Adelaide launched the movement in November 1961. The movement experienced a rapid development and by 1964 more than 40 A.M.A.s of Canadian origin had been recruited and sent to countries in Africa, Central America and Brazil after a two-month internship in training centers in Paris, Philadelphia or Miami.
By that time the conclusion was reached that the two months of internship and preparation should be done in Canada itself and it was deemed to be very useful to have a small residence in Quebec, easy to access for all, where lay missionaries, returning or departing, could meet with each other, could make contact with the Religious responsible for AMA and where the missionary formation courses could take place. The “Centre d’Animation Missionnaire AMA” which was opened in Quebec in September 1965 was to respond to that need and the “Secrétariat de l’Union des Missionnaires de l’Assomption” had a home for eleven years in the heart of Quebec City. Over a period of more than 15 years the Canadian AMA Missionary Center was to recruit, form and send more than 270 Canadian AMAs and 2 Canadian Religious of the Assumption on Mission.
In 1976 the AMA Office of what became known as the “Associate Missionaries of the Assumption” was moved to the United States, to the Bowman community and later to Worcester – South Main Street where it is now.
Today Assumption Mission Associates (AMA) continue working with the Assumption family of religious women and with other partners in many countries. AMA missions are available in the U.S. and worldwide. The work includes teaching, youth ministry, community development, ministry to migrants and advocacy.
Archbishop Wood High School in Warminster
In 1964 the Assumption received an invitation from the Archdiocese to staff one of the new parish schools they would be establishing over the next three years and to thus extend the work of Assumption education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. It was also hoped that in time sisters could be sent into the Diocesan High School to which the children of the parish school would be assigned. The proposition was accepted, and Mother Elizabeth replied yes for September 1966. In February 1965, the Superintendent of Catholic Education wrote clarifying the invitation but placing in first position for the Assumption to become part of the faculty at one of the Archdiocesan High Schools by taking responsibility for a department … the parish school would hopefully follow. In May the department of Modern Languages was assigned to the Assumption at Archbishop Wood High School in Warminster, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, about a 50-minute drive from Ravenhill. In September 1965, the first four Assumption sisters took up residence in a small house located on the other side of the football field and became part of the staff of Archbishop Wood High School – Girls. More than 6 Assumption sisters taught there in the Modern Language and Religious Education departments until the Congregation was obliged to withdraw in 1971.
To learn more please see https://www.archwood.org from which we conclude with these paragraphs.
“The school opened in September of 1964 as a twin facility to serve the youth of Central and Upper Bucks County along with areas of Eastern Montgomery County as single sex schools. Services were provided by dedicated religious and lay staff. Over the years, the religious serving the school have included Diocesan Priests, Fathers of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM), Vincentian Fathers (CM), Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales (OSFS), Sister Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM), Sisters of Saint Joseph (SSJ), Religious Sisters of Mercy (RSM), and the Religious of the Assumption (RA).
The twin schools earned a well-deserved reputation for Catholic formation and academic excellence, boasting numerous awards and honors over the years. The central lawn separating the two buildings was replaced with a beautiful auditorium uniting the physical plants in 1989, and the schools became one coeducation institution on July 1, 1990 with the official merger of the twin schools.”