Scottsdale - St. Daniel the Prophet
St. Daniel the Prophet was established as a parish in Scottsdale in 1961 under Bishop Green of Tucson. Named for Bishop Daniel Gerke, the parish opened its school in 1963 under the guidance of Father Paul Lawrence and the Sisters of Saint Dominic from Adrian, Michigan. The enrollment grew to over 330 students.
By 1974, the Sisters of Saint Dominic, due to a shortage of Sisters, were forced to withdraw from St. Daniel. By the mid-1980s, enrollment at the school had declined significantly, but St. Daniel’s School persisted due to the strong parish community spirit.
In 1988, the Sisters of Charity took over administration of the school under the leadership of Sister Mary Lucilla Wertz. Enrollment went from dismally low to over 200 in a matter of a few years. Under Sr. Mary Lucilla’s administration, academic scores began to rise, sport programs were initiated, and the Catholic spirit of the community became manifest in an educational setting. She helped inaugurate the OASIS Intergenerational Tutoring Program which paired a child with a trained tutor in the Language Experience Approach to develop language skills and foster multi-cultural and intergenerational experiences.
In 1995, the diocesan Golden Apple Award was presented to Sister Mary Lucilla as Outstanding Catholic School Principal of the Year.
Sr. Alice Ruane, one of the pioneer Sisters to Korea in 1960, also began work in St. Daniel’s parish in 1988 first as Pastoral Associate and later as Director of Catechetical Ministry. Sr. Alice was reunited with Father Desmond Maguire, former pastor in Buk-Kyo Dong, Mokpo, Korea, during her first few weeks in Scottsdale.
Sr. Alice and Sr. Son-Ja Lee, a Korean Sister of Charity who came to St. Daniel’s in 1994, ministered to the Korean-American Catholic community in Arizona. In 1989, there were over 80 Korean families in the Diocese of Tucson! For all of her work in the diocese of Tucson, Sr. Alice Ruane was awarded the 2000 Catechetical Leadership Award.
After many years of being cool under crisis, filling in as a substitute, running an after-school care program, and building a small school with a reputation of quality and faith in community, Sr. Mary Lucilla Wertz decided to retire from her role as principal at St. Daniel the Prophet School in 2000. She went on to teach English conversation at So Myon High School in Pu-chon, Korea.