Pioneers of Catholic education, Dominican Sisters of Houston continue ministry today
October 25, 2022
Recognized as pioneers in education, the Dominican Sisters of Houston provided leadership for the organization and accreditation of the diocesan school system. They founded St. Agnes Academy in 1906. (Photo courtesy of Dominican Sisters of Houston)
HOUSTON — In September 1882, with the approval of Bishop Nicholas Gallagher, third Catholic bishop of Galveston, 20 Dominican sisters arrived in Galveston from Ohio to open Catholic schools in Texas.
The sisters immediately opened Sacred Heart Academy in Galveston and continued over the next several decades to open and operate Catholic schools predominantly in the Galveston-Houston, Beaumont and Austin dioceses.
Recognized as pioneers in education, the sisters provided leadership for the organization and accreditation of the diocesan school system. They founded St. Agnes Academy in 1906, Newman Hall at the University of Texas in 1918, Sacred Heart Dominican College in 1945 and St. Pius X High School in 1956.
After Vatican II, the sisters expanded their ministries to address justice issues and to serve the poor in Guatemala.
Today, the sisters continue to sponsor St. Agnes Academy, St. Pius X High School and their mission school in Guatemala City, San Vicente de Paul Bethania. The sisters collaborate and advocate with others to alleviate the suffering caused by human trafficking, racial injustice, the death penalty and the unjust treatment of workers, immigrants and the environment.
To ensure the Dominican mission and charism well into the future, the congregation decided in 2020 to honor its long history in education and justice ministry by working with others to advance systemic and equitable change in education in underserved neighborhoods in the Houston area. To move this direction of mission forward, the congregation has engaged in a great deal of study and prayer and focused on the importance of access to quality early childhood education for all God’s children.
The sisters hope to collaborate in the future with local organizations that provide systemic solutions to allow young children, regardless of the zip code in which they live, the opportunity to be instilled with a love of learning and the social and emotional skills necessary to be kindergarten ready and successful in school.