Minnesota School Finds Success in Catholic Identity, Classical Roots

Saint Agnes School hasn’t been exempt from challenges in its 125-year history, but the journey has made the Catholic school that much stronger.

This year’s Catholic Schools Week is especially joyous for Saint Agnes—the coed, K-12 school in St. Paul, Minn., marked the feast of its patron, St. Agnes, last Tuesday and welcomed home alumni to kick off its celebration of 125 years of excellence, with a renewed commitment to strong Catholic identity, according to the school’s new website.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has designated January 26th-February 1st as Catholic Schools Week with the theme, “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service,” according to the bishops’ website.

Saint Agnes’ history as a community of Faith began in 1888, when it was founded in a small Austro-Hungarian neighborhood by a congregation of religious sisters.  By the 1970s, the school had grown into a large, regional k-12 institution, and the faculty began to switch precipitously to nearly all laypeople.  Financial difficulties and low student enrollment in the late 1990s and 2000s forced the school leaders to consider possibly closing in the spring of 2007 if issues were not addressed.

“It was a real crossroad,” Saint Agnes Principal James Morehead told St. Paul Pioneer Press about the school’s desperate situation.  “There were a couple benefactors who stood up at the last minute and saved the school.”
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