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History

Mrs. Anne Lucas Hunt became concerned for the religious welfare of the area and she had a frame church built at the cost of $1,000 and donated it with approximately ten acres of land to the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). The frame church was officially opened in February of 1855 and the first baptism was performed on January 31, 1855. On completion of the stone church in 1856, a school was started in the original frame church which had been constructed in 1855.  It was operated by the Sisters of Mercy, who had a novitiate where Glen Echo Country Club is now located.In 1884, the Sisters of Mercy moved their novitiate and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd began to teach at St. Ann.

In 1898, the Sisters of Loretto assumed care of the school.  From that time until 1914, the sisters traveled each day by streetcar from Florissant to teach. In 1914, the parsonage was remodeled and the nuns were finally given permission to live next to the school.  This convent was replaced in 1928 by the building which is currently used for the pre-school.

St. Ann Catholic School Historical Photo Montage

By 1904, the old church building could no longer to accommodate the school. A new five-room frame school building was completed and occupied on January 6, 1905. The old building was used for many years as a home for the janitor, but in the late 1940’s, was renovated and used as a kindergarten for several years.  After 20 years, the last class graduated from the frame school.  It was comprised of five young ladies, one of whom was Marie Reis (later married to Charles Gagnepain), who is thought to be the oldest living graduate of St. Ann’s School.The current school building was opened in 1926, and consisted of the nine classrooms on the first and second floors, with an auditorium and parish hall.  However, by 1931 more room was needed and two additional classrooms were added at the rear of the building.  Also by this time it was apparent that the old stone church was no longer large enough to accommodate all of the parishioners for Sunday, and so the school auditorium was converted into a church.  Over the next few years, the school church was entirely renovated with a new altar and statues brought from the old church, a choir loft, confessional boxes, and sacristies.  By the mid 1930’s, all masses were celebrated there, with extra Sunday masses and occasional funerals held in the old stone church.

In 1971, the School Board was established to create and promote better understanding and support of Catholic education, by establishing and maintaining administrative and operational policies that ensure the highest standards of both secular and Catholic education are maintained.

In the fall of 1971, another major change affected the school.  The Sisters of Loretto left St. Ann after 72 years of service to the school community.  A lay principal, Mr. Thomas McKenna, was named. Over succeeding years, eight other educators have led the school, including the current principal, Ms. Mary Jo Reichenbach.

Through the years, there have been many different groups which have worked with the school.  In the 1940’s, women of the parish worked in the school cafeteria.   Later, Msgr. Sprenke established the Women’s Club, which invited all women of the parish to participate.  One of their objectives was working with the school. In the early 1970’s, a Home and School Group was formed, which for the first time included the fathers.  And finally in 1986, St. Ann Catholic Parent Organization (SACPO) was founded.  Now known as St. Ann Parent Organization (SAPO) consists of all parents of children from St. Ann Catholic School.  The organization works to support the academic and religious benefits of the children.

In 1997, the St. Ann Early Childhood Center (Preschool) was established in the old convent building located directly west of St. Ann Catholic School. The fall of 1997 was the grand opening of the preschool, which serves children ages 2 to 5 years of age.  Parishioners, alumni and friends of St. Ann donated time, money and thousands of man-hours of “sweat equity” to convert the convent into a beautiful preschool where parish and neighborhood children learn and play and prepare for kindergarten. The goal of SAECC is to create a loving atmosphere where children are excited about learning.