Mount Sacred Heart School, which first opened 90 years ago and has been a foundation of the Castle Hills community, will close on June 30, 2020. The announcement was made by Sister Cornelia Maria Knezek, SSCJ, provincial superior of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, at a public meeting December 19.
The demographics of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus have forced them to recognize their lack of personnel capable of assuming the responsibility for the school and the leadership it requires to continue to its dynamism in the years to come, she said.
For more than two years the Sisters sought a religious congregation to which they could transition the ownership and responsibility for Mount Sacred Heart School, however, unfortunately, no successor was found.
“We believe in a God who journeys with us and promises to sustain us in all the crossroads of life,” Sister Knezek said at the gathering. “Let us complete the 2019-2020 school year with gratitude for what has been, with enthusiasm for what is, and for hope in what it is to come!”
Mount Sacred Heart School opened in 1929 as a rural school for the neighborhood children. With the collaboration of innumerable parents, friends, and benefactors, Mount Sacred Heart School evolved into a boarding school for boys and one for girls, eventually becoming co-ed in the building often referred to as the Boys’ School.
Some 40 years ago, Mount Sacred Heart Montessori School came into existence so that today it enrolls children from ages two-and-a-half years through eighth grade. Thousands of girls and boys have called Mount Sacred Heart School home for all of, or at least part of, their elementary education.
The Mount Sacred Heart School community rallied admirably this fall in an effort to forge a partnership with the Archdiocese of San Antonio that would ensure the continuance of the legacy at Mount Sacred Heart School, while establishing Mother Cabrini Center at Mount Sacred Heart that would increase the presence of international religious in Catholic schools.
Although very significant inroads were made in communication, fundraising, and alumni involvement, this endeavor, unfortunately, did not obtain the funds needed to make this plan a reality by deadline.
In a December 20 letter to parents, Principal Sharon Longoria reminded them that the school still has the spring semester to continue its celebration of 90 years. “We have all spring to educate, comfort one another, heal, and to grow. The faculty and staff remain dedicated to providing quality education for the children,” she wrote. “Our programs will go on as usual – from Catholic Schools Week to Casino Night to the Pan American program – but I have a feeling what remains will be even better than in years’ past.”
The announcement for the June closure was made at the end of 2019 in order to have adequate time for teachers to find other employment for next fall and for parents to have the opportunity to enroll their students in other Catholic schools for the next academic year.
Mount Sacred Heart School and the archdiocesan Department of Catholic Schools will assist its present students to transition into other Catholic schools. A Catholic School Fair will be held at Mount Sacred Heart in the very near future, and the Department of Catholic Schools will work with teachers and staff affected by the school’s closure.
“The Sisters are most grateful to the parents, students, friends, faculty, staff and supporters, past and present who have partnered with them in this ministry so dear to the Sisters,” stated a press release from the school.
That sentiment was echoed by Marti West, superintendent of Catholic Schools. “I would like to sincerely thank all who supported the school throughout the years. It would not have been possible for the school to have made it nine decades without you. Your support will remain a testament to Mount Sacred Heart, which created countless students who were well-prepared spiritually and academically to make a difference in society. Its history will be treasured.”
She concluded, “I believe that more than ever, we need our schools to flourish, to form and nurture our youth in the Catholic faith.”
Pull quote: “Let us complete the 2019-2020 school year with gratitude for what has been, with enthusiasm for what is, and for hope in what it is to come!” — Sister Cornelia Maria Knezek, SSCJ, provincial superior of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus