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Reproduced from the Centennial Edition of the Brainerd Daily Dispatch (1871-1971).
Reproduced exactly as published in 1971 - no updates, no corrections.

photo: education

  GROUNDBREAKING for a new St. Francis school in Brainerd was held and the 12-classroom building completed in 1952. Here, the late Msgr. Thomas F. Scott, pastor here for 27 years, turns the first shovel of ground.

Catholic Education in Brainerd Began in 1885

The first Catholic school in Brainerd was a six-room building, formerly used as a public school, operated by six Benedictine Sisters in 1885. St. Mary's school operated only two years.

Among the students who attended were: Elizabeth Minoque, John and Joseph Murphy, William McCarthy, James Summers, Felix and Agnes LaFonde, Arthur Millar, John McCleary, Mamie and Sadie Halpin, Annie and Elizabeth Martin, Lucy and Mamie Hamlin, Hattie Cullen, Elizabeth and John ONeil, Nellie Edwards, Elizabeth Pendergast and Elizabeth Early.

St. Francis school on the corner of Eighth and Juniper streets opened for the first time in the fall of 1909. The pastor at the time was the Rev. J. J. OMahoney, Sister Thecla was first principal and teaching were: Sisters Ursula, Berchmans, DiPazzi, Jerome Blase, Veronica and Edwina. About 200 children attended.

By the 1940's, it became apparent that a new school building was necessary to serve the increasing numbers of students. In 1952, a 12-classroom building was constructed.

Two years later, in 1954, a gymnasium, stage and parish hall were added, the latter named after Sister Ulric, who served as principal of the school for 18 years and was credited for much of the planning for the new school's construction.

Various organizations grew along with the school-- a P.T.A., Alumni association, Sodality, A band, a library, additional equipment were provided for students. Mothers assisted throughout the years, including furnishing of a Sisters' convent, built in 1922.

The last eighth grade to graduate from St. Francis school was in 1970. The following fall, the school opened to first through sixth graders only.

Principals serving through the school's 62 years have included: (first records kept, 1929) Sister Perpetua (1929-1935), Sister Florence (1935-1937), Sister UIric (1937 - 1954), Sister Ruth (1954-1961), Sister Mary James (1961-1966), Sister Janet (1966- 1970), Sister Joseph Marie (1971).

Reproduced from the Centennial Edition of the Brainerd Daily Dispatch (1871-1971).

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