We celebrate over 100 years at Saint Cecilia Cathedral Grade School and we are the longest running, continuously operating grade school in the Omaha Archdiocese. Our Dominican founders nourished the roots of our students from the very beginning. But more than simply teaching the skills of writing, reading, and arithmetic, teachers made certain that we were staked like young trees, to grow straight and strong in a moral way-—to mature into adults who could make the right choices. Green, wet wood will eventually burn. And if nurtured and tended long enough that wood may at some future time warm and light the way for others.
Some 30,000 people watched the dedication and laying of the cornerstone for Saint Cecilia Cathedral on October 6, 1907. The very next day Saint Cecilia Grade School opened for the first time!
Five determined Sinsinawa Dominicans nuns from Wisconsin made up the first faculty. The school occupied a two-story building near the Cathedral construction site. But there are only enough students and teachers for four classrooms. The teachers were: Sr. M. Dionysius Hurley, first and second grades; Sr. M. Donata Wohl, third and fourth grades; Sr. M. Olivia Moran, fifth and sixth grades; Sr. M. Cecilia Renn, seventh and eighth grades; and Sr. M. Celeste Hurley, music.
Even as the Cathedral rose, the sisters lay the foundation for what would become a century of excellence, equipping Saint Cecilia children with an education at once rooted in the Catholic faith and competitive in the wider world. This fits the Dominican motto: To contemplate, and give to others the fruit of your contemplation.
Saint Cecilia graduated its first grade school class in 1908. And so began our great story . . .
Please remember our Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters in your prayers. They were the founders of the schools on the Cathedral campus over onehundred years ago. Hundreds of Dominican sisters taught at our schools through the years. To this day our grade school teachers are guided by the Dominican Tradition of Education. Many alumni will remember Sr. Marie Patrice O’Donnell and Sr. Duchesne Maxwell, who retired at the “Mound” in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin only a few years ago. There are countless others, too many to name, who made a difference in the lives of our students at Saint Cecilia Cathedral Grade School and Cathedral High.
Please keep them in your prayers and perhaps send them a card. They reside at: Sinsinawa Dominicans, 585 County Road Z, Sinsinawa, WI 53824-9701.