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placeholder New priests for the Oakland Diocese

Hayward parishes celebrate Corpus Christi with procession

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Sessions set on how to become a permanent deacon

Conventual Franciscans offer summer course in Christian doctrine

St. Mary’s College opens center to explore religious pluralism in culture and policy

Sister Janet Rolando, BVM

Special section

Catholic education in Oakland a 140-year tradition

De La Salle pioneers merit-based pay program

Morehouse cum laude grad remembers FACE

Hayward principal retires after serving in Catholic schools for 26 years

A tribute to the Class of 2008

Cultural exchange marks Indian students’ visit to St. Mary School

‘Miss Mildred’ named as Christian Brothers affiliate

Alameda student newspaper goes online daily at St. Philip Neri

St. Leo School students turn cardboard boxes into usable art

Johns Hopkins honors two Assumption School students

Kodály Center for Music Education seeks 24 high school singers for honor choir

Vintage Christian Brothers’ wine on sale for Lasallian Education Fund

placeholder June 9, 2008   •   VOL. 46, NO. 11   •   Oakland, CA

A group of Holy Names Sisters row on Lake Merritt in the 1950s. In the background is the original site of Holy Names College and Academy (high school). The Sisters sold the lakeside property in 1956 and moved the college to Mountain Boulevard.

Holy Names High students, assisted by some younger girls, conduct the annual May crowning of the Blessed Mother in this 1949 photo. The Marian statue remains in a place of honor on campus, though the May crowning no long takes place.

Catholic education
in Oakland a
140-year tradition

Two sister schools, Oakland’s Holy Names High School and Holy Names University, which once shared the same campus at Lake Merritt are this year sharing a major milestone — 140 years of education in the East Bay.

Both schools trace their beginnings to six Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary who left their convent in Canada and made the long journey by ships and trains to Oakland. The women, Sisters Celestine, Marceline, Seraphine, Salome, Cyrille, and Anthony, made the journey at the invitation of Father Michael King, pastor at St. Mary Parish in Oakland, to establish a school for girls and to train future teachers.

Some Holy Names Sisters and students gather on the porch of the 1868 convent on the shores of Lake Merritt. See the next page for more historic photos.

The Sisters arrived on the ship “Golden Age” in San Francisco on May 10, 1868, a date that both campus communities have celebrated as Founder’s Day every year since. The Sisters of Mercy met the French Canadian Sisters at the dock and hosted them at their convent at St. Mary’s Hospital. Father King escorted the Sisters to their new home in Oakland via a ferry ride across the bay the following day.

The Holy Names Sisters moved into their convent at the lake, described as a “wilderness” and known as a habitat for quail and rabbits. Soon the Sisters opened a boarding school, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, with programs for high school and college students. The site was adjacent to property that is now the site of Oakland’s new Cathedral of Christ the Light.

When the high school population exceeded the space available at the lake campus, Holy Names High School moved to its present site on Harbord Drive in the Oakland hills in 1931. Holy Names Sister Mary Herbert Rafael described the dedication of the new campus in 1931 as a “huge” event.

The opening of what was then known as Holy Names Central High School represented the consolidation of several smaller parochial high schools at the new site. Students from these schools and numerous dignitaries gathered at the new campus. Parts of the new school were still under construction, recalled Sister Rafael, a member of Holy Names’ Class of 1934, in a recent interview with The Voice. “The driveway to the front of the school was just a dirt driveway, very incomplete,” she said.

Students and their dates pose for a photographer at a dance in 1949.

Before the dedication, the heavens literally opened. “Lo and behold, it poured rain,” she said. The area soon became slick with mud, and planks were put down to help people walk to the front of the building for the ceremony. “Everyone was lined up in perfect lines on either side of the front of the building,” getting wetter by the minute when all of a sudden a limo drove up the driveway and out came Archbishop Edward Hanna of San Francisco.

The prelate was whisked out of the limousine, up the stairs to the cornerstone, which he blessed, while the Schola Cantorum sang hymns. Then he was rushed back to his limo and “all of a sudden he was gone,” Sister Rafael said. “I don’t think that anybody who was there will ever forget that day!”

The high school chorus and orchestra perform in the auditorium in 1949. When the Holy Names Sisters arrived in Oakland from Quebec, they had a piano with them and music became an important component of their educational programs.

Despite a damp start, the high school went on to provide an academically challenging college preparatory education that continues to this day. Sister Paul Gerard, an alumna of both the high school and college, said the campus, which also served as a boarding school for a time, also became known for its fine arts and music programs.

Meanwhile the College of the Holy Names, which later became Holy Names College and more recently Holy Names University, continued to operate at the campus at Lake Merritt where students like Sister Paul Gerard received a solid education. She recalled that the college attracted women, including boarders for a while, from around the Bay Area.

Science education for girls and young women has been a strong emphasis of the Holy Names Sisters. Here a group of Holy Names College students do experiments in the science lab during the 1950s.

The college moved to its current site on Mountain Boulevard after the Sisters sold the Lake Merritt property to the Kaiser Company in 1956. The first classes at the new campus took place on Feb. 7, 1957.

Alumni from both the high school and college have gone on to successful careers and have made numerous contributions to their communities. Among the notable graduates from Holy Names High School are: Debbie de Coudreaux, ’69, international chanteuse and current star of Teatro ZinZanni in San Francisco; Deborah Edgerly, ’70, Oakland City Manager; Debra Pryor, ’79, chief of the Berkeley Fire Department; Judith Anne Lamberti, M.D., ’69, Kaiser Medical Center, Oakland Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; and Teresa Martinucci Hurlbut, ’71, principal of Carondelet High School in Concord.

Well-known graduates of Holy Names University include Justice Carol Corrigan, ’70, the newest member of the California State Supreme Court; and Mary Ann Thode, ’74, president of the Kaiser Foun-dation Health Plan, Northern California Region.

LEFT: Posing for photos on the steps of the high school began soon after the school opened on Harbord Drive in 1931. MIDDLE: These students, probably dressed for a trip to San Francisco to attend the opera, stand at the high school’s entrance in 1949. RIGHT: In 1979, members of the high school’s culture club sit on the school steps. The club focused on developing understanding of various cultures by studying their customs, traditions, and foods.
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