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Tucson - Salpointe High School

First Sisters of Charity on Salpointe H. S. faculty.  Srs. Mary Rebecca Kelsey, Eugene O=Donnell, Julia Teresa Dolan.  Sisters sitting on stones around the fish pond in the patio.

1950, First Sisters of Charity on Salpointe High School faculty. Srs. Mary Rebcca Kelsey, Eugene O'Donnell, Julia Teresa Dolan. Sisters sitting on stones around the fish pond at SS. Peter and Paul convent.

Salpointe, a central Catholic high school opened by the Diocese of Tucson in September of 1950, was named for Jean Baptiste Salpointe, Arizona’s first Bishop. Srs. Julia Teresa Dolan and Eugene O’Donnell were the first Sisters missioned to Salpointe. They were joined shortly thereafter by Sister Rebecca Kelsey and Sister Aloysia O'Keefe in 1952. The faculty of Salpointe High School would consist of several congregations of women religious, priests, and lay people. The Sisters recall a real sense of intercommunity among the staff and students.

In 1955, Father Bonaventure Gilmore, O. Carm. wrote to Mother Claudia Glenn, “Enrollments have exceeded all our expectations and it was necessary to turn students away until you gave us another Sister… A word of thanks too for the enthusiasm, the zeal, and fruitful work of your sisters here at Salpointe. They are most edifying.” Throughout the 1950s and 60s, eight Sisters of Charity were missioned to Salpointe every year to accommodate the growing school. Sisters served in the English, Commercial, Art, and Library departments.

Sr. Maria Magdalen (Marian), high school guidance director, chats with senior about college choice

Early 1960s, Sr. Maria Magdalen (Marian), high school guidance director, chats with a senior about college choice at Salpointe High School. 

For many years, the Sisters of Charity directed school plays and advised the school newspaper, The Crusader, and the yearbook, Horizons. The Sisters missioned to Salpointed recall “the magazine and chocolate drives with their themes and mascots, which engendered school spirit as well as funds…the many Queens and Kings, overnight retreats in the desert, picnics in Sabino Canyon, Forensics, dances, sock-hops, and sports.”

The Crusader, Salpointe High School, Tucson, Arizona

October 31, 1950, First issue of The Crusader, Salpointe High School newspaper, advised by the Sisters of Charity

Sister Leonard Marie Belfer, art teacher from 1957 until 1972, created one of the most advanced high school art departments in the United States.

In 1967, Mother Victoria Brown withdrew a number of Sisters from Salpointe due to staffing strains and lack of vocations from the school. However, several Sisters would continue their work at the high school.

Sister Diane Temple had the longest tenure at Salpointe High School teaching Chemistry for 16 years.

In 1994, a plaque was placed in the school chapel to honor the women religious who served at Salpointe over the years.

Salpointe High School Faculty List

Sisters of Charity missioned to Salpointe High School, Tucson, Arizona. Click the list to see more.