Old News – School Closing

Academy of the Sacred Heart was founded in Rochester in 1855. It was a Catholic girl’s school (K – 12). They announced in 1968 that they would close at the end of the 1969 school year. That property on Prince Street is now apartments and the old chapel is available to rent for weddings.

The 1969 yearbook is online. That final graduating class only had 20 girls.

The Catholic Courier Journal

Friday, Feb. 16, 1968

End of Great Tradition: Academy to Close in ’69
by Monica Reeves

(The Academy of the Sacred Heart in Rochester announced this week that it will close its doors and discontinue operation in June 1969. This is due to mounting cost of education, the inadequacy of present buildings, the tremendous outlay needed to build and maintain a school of the future, and the fine Catholic high school where openings are available. The news came as a blow to students, alumnae and the Rochester community as a whole. In an attempt to discover what makes Sacred Heart education so unique, Monica Reeves talked to faculty and students Tuesday afternoon.)

“What’s so special about Sacred Heart Academy anyway?” seemed a fairly innocent and standard question to me but as the 10 upturned faces seated on the rug in a circle peered up at me with a gleam in their collective eye, I realized that I was to soon become the victim of a conspiracy to win me over to their side. I’ve never been a happier victim.

The 113 year old Academy of the Sacred Heart has come a long way from the days when plain and ornamental writing, history — sacred, profane and natural, and plain and fancy needlework were among the instructional offerings of the school. But the underlying principle which guides Sacred Heart education is the same.

If the 10 fresh and shining 16 year old faces which greeted this reporters are any indication, such a philosophy is turning out articulate, poised and very much alive young ladies.

The girls had a special reason for their enthusiasm for they had just returned from putting in their weekly hour and a half stint of volunteer work–an integral part of education at the school and a prime example of the philosophy of education which guides it.

Educating Christian women for the world may involve something different today than it did when Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat founded the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1800, but that ideal still governs the education offered by the order’s 35 schools and colleges across the United States.

Classroom theory becomes realistic practice when 89 students at Sacred Heart go to such places as the Louis St. Center or the County Home from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays. There is nothing ivory tower about seeing newspaper headlines become real life shivering and hungry bodies or aged limbs that even an active. alert mind can’t control.

As one student said. “You can only learn so much from the newspaper. Now we know.” Another girl added. “Before you left it to someone else. Now you go down and do it.”

Because the school is so small and the girls work so closely with the lay and religious faculty, there’s a real family spirit at Sacred Heart that few schools can lay claim to. As each girl attempts to understand what she is, she does so while learning to know those about her as individuals. Mrs. John Dugger, Assistant coordinator of studies at Sacred Heart Academy calls this “congeniality — which nurtures the individual and teaches her to respect the individuality of others.”.


  1. Thanks Dick. I looked up the location on Googlemaps. What a beautiful apartment setting, but it’s sad about the closing of the school.

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