History and Tradition


1888 St. Vincent's Academy


Nicholas at his first communion
with Fr. Lombardi

Father Louis Lootens purchased the land for the Saint Vincent Academy in 1865. The Daughters of Charity were the first order of nuns to teach at the parish school. The Academy was erected in 1888. Two more orders of nuns would teach at the Academy: the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM).

The convent was built for the nuns. The convent had a reception room, chapel, kitchen, dining room, sewing rooms and infirmary on the first floor, with twelve bedrooms on the second floor.

Much of the parish life at St. Vincent de Paul Church revolved around the parish schools. A new grammar school was built to accommodate the growing student population in 1937. The academy was then used solely as the parish high school. The school was built facing the playground and ran almost the entire length of the block from Howard to Walnut Street. The girls' entrance was at Howard Street, and the boys' entrance was on Walnut Street.

During the 1960's, the number of women committing to the religious orders, including the BVM's declined. In 1986, the last of the sisters left the parish schools. A celebration was held in their honor, with the ninety-four years of service that the order had given to the parish.

St. Vincent de Paul Elementary School had a new addition in 2005. After sixty-four years, the kindergarten reopened at the school. The Academy was refurbished, bringing back the original interiors with exposed brick walls. The renovated Academy houses not only the kindergarten, but also a music room, art room, chapel, learning center and library.


Early students of St. Vincent's Academy, circa 1890s

St. Vincent's Victory Corps after having raised funds to contribute for the U.S. Army to purchase a Jeep during World War II
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