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Phoenix - St. Theresa's School

Once again, Father George Feeney requested the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill to conduct Catechism classes for his new parish, beginning in 1956. In April of 1955, Father Feeney wrote to Mother Claudia at Seton Hill, “St. Theresa’s should really be a wonderful parish…Naturally it won’t really be a successful parish until we have Mother Seton Sisters established.”

In 1957, when his parochial school opened, Srs. Macaria Nestor, Mary Michael Burns, and Marie Margaret Wolf, along with a lay teacher, Mrs. Ganz, comprised the staff for the first year. The school began with 250 students in 1st through 4th grade. Additional grades were added in later years.

1957.  Sisters Marie Margaret Wolf and Mary Michael Burns welcome three little girls at the front entrance of St. Teresa School.  This photo was taken by the Arizona Republic and appeared in the paper on Sept. 2, 1957.

1957, Srs. Marie Margaret Wolf and Mary Michael Burns welcome three little girls at the front entrance of St. Theresa School. This photo was taken by the Arizona Republic and appeared in the paper September 2, 1957.

Unfortunately, in June of 1961, Father Feeney, who was visiting San Francisco for a church celebration, was killed on a golf course when he was struck by a golf cart that hit a sprinkler on the links. Father Feeney, a true advocate for several parishes in Arizona, never saw the first class graduate from St. Theresa’s. His loss was immensely felt throughout the diocese. A statue of The Little Flower was put on the school patio as a memorial to Father Feeney.

Sr. Macaria left St. Theresa’s as principal in 1963, but she kept the school in fine form. “She was the school’s guiding light from its start in 1957. Her character is indelibly impressed in the hearts of all the children who have known and loved her,” Father Radtke wrote.

The Roses, St. Theresa's Parish Newspaper, May 1963

The Roses, St. Theresa Parish Newspaper, May 1963.

The Sisters of Charity enjoyed many wonderful memories at St. Theresa's parish and school. Noted in the Annals on December 21, 1965: “This evening the Christmas story in tableau and song was presented by the school for all the parishioners. The hall was jammed to overflowing and many could not find even standing room. They later waited outside watching through the open windows and doors. The singing was superbly rendered by the seventh graders under the direction of Sister Marie Joseph Jennings. Children from the first, the seventh, and the eighth grades took part in the tableaux which was beautifully arranged by Sister John Evangelist Oper. A real donkey carried Mary to Bethlehem. The donkey, together with a lovable live baby portraying the Christ Child, stole the show. The infant only yawned and the donkey merely wriggled his long ears but they captured the hearts of the audience.”

Wide photo taken by Betsy Anderson giving a back view of the entire St. Teresa School and playground.  The famous Camel Back Mountain is in the background.

Photograph, taken by Betsy Anderson, of the back view of St. Theresa School and playground. The Camel Back Mountain can be seen in the background.

1962-63.  The Sisters missioned to St. Teresa, Phoenix, pose before the patio wall in their beautiful white habits.  (First row) Srs. Mary Ambrose Delaney (Kathleen), Andrew Mary Horvath, Loretta Ann Bohn, Mary Norbert Long.  (Second row) Srs. Vincent de Paul Baker, Macaria Nestor, John Michael Killian, John Evangelist Oper, Christine Marie McElhinny

1962-63, Srs. missioned to St. Theresa, Phoenix. First row: Srs. Mary Ambrose Delaney (Kathleen), Andrew Mary Horvath, Loretta Ann Bohn, Mary Norbert Long; Second row: Srs. Vincent de Paul Baker, Macaria Nestor, John Michael Killian, John Evangelist Oper, and Christine Marie McElhinny.

1962.  Sisters visit Capistrano on Easter Tuesday.  Shown are: Srs. Marian Grace Brandt, Carita Shields, Robert Marie Best (Patricia), Ann Virginia Verwiel

1962, Srs. visit Capistrano on Easter Tuesday. Shown are: Srs. Marian Grace Brandt, Carita Shields, Robert Marie Best (Patricia), and Ann Virginia Verwiel.

Fifty-eight Sisters of Charity were missioned to St. Theresa School in Phoenix. See image below for a full list. 

Sr. Macaria returned to St. Theresa's in the late 1980s. The Sisters of Charity departed from St. Theresa’s in 1992. Sister Marie Veronica Gogolin was the last principal.

St. Theresa's Faculty List

1957-1992, List of Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill missioned to Sr. Theresa's. Please click on the image to see the full (PDF) list.