On May 10, 1868, six Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) disembarked after a long sea voyage from Montreal, Canada to the bustling port of San Francisco. They came in response to Father Michael King’s request for Sisters to staff the school he would build his sprawling Oakland parish and to establish a novitiate as soon as it was feasible. Within a few weeks, the Sisters were welcoming students to Sacred Heart Convent on the shores of Lake Merritt. Eventually this school developed into today’s Holy Names High School and Holy Names University.
In the ensuing 150 years, Sisters of the Holy Names staffed numerous schools in what eventually became the Diocese of Oakland. In addition to the Holy Names schools they founded, they served at Sacred Heart (1876), St. Francis de Sales (1886), St. Augustine (1918), Our Lady of Lourdes (1918), Marylrose (1931), Assumption, Hayward (1952), Holy Spirit, Fremont (1956), St. Theresa (1958); St. Bede, Hayward (1964), and schools and other ministries in the dioceses of San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose, Monterey and Los Angeles.
As the Sisters celebrate their 150th anniversary in California, they also give thanks to God for another milestone: 175 years ago, Marie Rose Durocher and several companions gathered in a small town near Montreal to form first religious congregation established in North America for the purpose of education. Today, Holy Names Sisters are found in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba, Canada; on both coasts of the United States; and in Peru and Lesotho.
All are cordially invited to share the SNJM celebration with a Mass and Reception on October 6, the feast day of Blessed Marie Rose, at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland. Learn more at www.snjmca150.org.