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Excellence; Charting o u r Futur e

M ission Mount de Sales Academy forms young women in the spirit of Saint Francis de Sales and in fidelity to the Sacred Scripture and the Sacred Tradition of the Roman Catholic Church

You are Invited... Dear Friends of Mount de Sales Academy,

Since the Middle Ages the education of young women has been the province of nuns and sisters. Even in the early days of our republic, it was the convent schools in New Orleans, Washington, Emmitsburg, Savannah, and St. Louis that pioneered women’s education. Well before the Civil War, a new venture was begun here in Catonsville. Archbishop Samuel Eccleston personally chose the name, Mount de Sales, for the beautiful new Academy, which began with 12 nuns and 12 students in that summer of 1852. The rest, as they say, is history.

through a college preparatory education that nurtures the whole person. Anchored in faith, the community of Mount de Sales

You have been a part of that history. We ask you now to continue and, perhaps, deepen that commitment to Mount de Sales. The task appears formidable but the Mount de Sales Family has known challenge after challenge and the Lord has always seen us through. He has utilized the agency of devoted friends like yourselves. We have known a wonderful renaissance here at Mount de Sales in the last two decades. This has been due, in the main, to the providential arrival of the Dominican Sisters of the St. Cecilia Congregation. We are now planning a new convent for our Sisters. The cramped quarters of the ancient Gatehouse will no longer do. I know that with your ever generous hearts you will wish to aid us in this and the other allied projects of our Capital Campaign.

Academy is committed to academic excellence, lifelong learning, moral responsibility, service to others, and the dignity of the human person.

From time immemorial the Sisters at the Academy have repeated the Gospel Dictum, “To whom much has been given, much will be required.” With all the gentleness of St. Francis de Sales, we ask you to respond kindly to this appeal. May God guard and guide you,

Father Michael J. P. Roach Trustee President, Board of Trustees 1990 - 2010


ear Friends of Mount de Sales Academy,

Mount de Sales Academy is an exciting place to be these days! With over 500 students, we have our largest enrollment ever. The Holy Spirit is indeed moving on the Mount!

As we seek to offer a vibrant Catholic education to more girls, however, we face some real challenges. We are running out of space in our 1852 building, with every classroom now in use nearly every period of every school day. The daily wear and tear on our historic facility by a growing population of young women presents constant needs for ongoing capital improvements that tuition alone cannot cover. Erratic 19th century radiators and boiler and lack of air-conditioning throughout the building necessitate a new HVAC system. Because we take seriously the safety of our students, we are also acutely aware of the need for increased security measures. In order to assure the continued growth and success of Mount de Sales Academy, we need your help to contribute to its future. In 1985 the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia came to Mount de Sales, at that time a school with 201 students and a gaping debt. Twenty-five blessed years later, the Sisters remain committed to the mission of authentic Catholic education at Mount de Sales as they continue to serve the school both in administration and in teaching. With no remaining living space at the convent to accommodate more teaching sisters, the Board of Trustees has approved plans for a new convent that would allow room for more sisters to live fully our religious life of prayer and community, the fruits of which we share with our Mount de Sales family. We invite you to be a part of the miracle that is Mount de Sales Academy. Throughout its history, this school has always relied on the providence of God coupled with the ingenuity and energy of dedicated people who believe in its mission. As Mount de Sales makes a bid for the bright future of many more young women, we are launching a capital campaign in three phases, the first of which will raise $4 million for a new convent, improved security, and a new HVAC system. The future phases will add a new turf field and a fine arts building with an auditorium, thus assuring that our students have the advantage of up-to-date facilities to support the mission of educating the whole person in the heart of the Church.

Thank you for considering how you can be involved in the future of Mount de Sales Academy. We are grateful for your prayers and support and promise our own in return. Gratefully in Christ,

Sister Anne Catherine Burleigh, O.P. Principal, Mount de Sales Academy

Tradition of Excellence Mount de Sales Academy

was founded in 1852 for the education of young women by Visitation nuns from Georgetown. As the first Catholic Institution in Baltimore County to offer education to young women of all denominations, Mount de Sales Academy’s earliest students represented nearly all states, as well as several European and Latin American countries.

Today, Mount de Sales Academy is administered by the Dominican Sisters of the Saint Cecilia Congregation from Nashville, Tennessee, a community steeped in 150 years of educational experience.

The Nashville Dominicans’ arrival at Mount de Sales in August, 1985 was truly a miracle of God’s grace. At that time the Board of Trustees of Mount de Sales became aware of the Nashville Dominicans and sent a letter to the congregation, explaining the Academy’s need for sisters to administer the school. Regretfully, the Sisters at first declined. But God will have His way... One night the Congregation’s Mother General was awakened every hour on the hour by a persistent urge from “Someone” to go and see Mount de Sales. The following morning, she phoned her Councilors to say they would be traveling with her to Baltimore, Maryland, to visit a prospective school in the Catonsville area. Upon arriving, the Sisters were immediately taken by the amazing

physical and historical similarities between Mount de Sales Academy and the Saint Cecilia Motherhouse. The Dominican Sisters sensed that the Holy Spirit was nudging them to take part in handing on the faith in this cradle of Catholicism, the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Since the arrival of the Nashville Dominican Sisters in 1985, Mount de Sales Academy has experienced tremendous growth and now boasts a current student body of over 500 young women. The extensive renovations, building projects, and investments in our physical plant over the past 25 years continue to benefit the students of Mount de Sales Academy, providing them with countless academic and athletic opportunities. Like the Visitation Sisters before them, the Dominican Sisters believe that Catholic education is above all a work of love.

Mount de Sales Academy embodies the spirit of St. Francis de Sales and the rich heritage of Catholic education for young women. It is a place where old meets new, where the teachings of Christ take root in the hearts of future leaders, and where the spirit of St. Francis de Sales meets the Dominican charism of charity and truth. Mount de Sales is a place that alumnae and students can always call home.

Charting our De

ar Friends of Mount de Sales Academy,


The success of Mount de Sales Academy has been in large part an indicator that there is a great desire for Academic Excellence in the Catholic Tradition in this Premier See of the Catholic Church, the Archdiocese of Baltimore. This Catholic tradition has always had its basis in the liberal arts undergirded by the truths of the faith. Mount de Sales Academy has built a 158 year tradition of education on faith and reason. With this in mind, we are launching a $14.5 million Capital Campaign in three phases to ensure the continuance of the heritage of Mount de Sales Academy into the next millennium. For your convenience, the three phases are outlined on the adjoining page. The first of the three phase campaign will be to construct a new convent for the Dominican Sisters of the Saint Cecilia Congregation who administer Mount de Sales Academy. This project represents not only a commitment of the Sisters to continue their presence at Mount de Sales, but it is also a commitment of the Board of Trustees to the Congregation of Saint Cecilia. The Dominican Sisters look forward to continuing their presence at Mount de Sales for years to come. Every year young women from across the country, with an average age of 24, continue to enter our community. It is exciting in this day and time to need a convent for Sisters. The remaining part of Phase I will secure the property and replace the present boiler system with a new HVAC system for the school. In all of these endeavors we ask you, our constituents, to join us and be part of Anchored in Excellence; Charting our Future. It is to you we look to continue and maintain our wonderful heritage: a Home where peace of God prevails. Sincerely in Christ,

Sister Philip Joseph Davis, O.P. Director of Academy Advancement

P ha se


Phase I A. New Convent Estimated $2 million

($1.5 million construction and $500,000 maintenance endowment)

B. Security Fencing, Lighting, and Surveillance Cameras Estimated $1 million

Dominican Drive and Gazebo restoration 2009

The Infirmary 1892 restored as Alumnae Hall 2001

C. Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) System for 1852 Building Estimated $1 million

Pistorio Sports Complex 1998

Phase II Regulation Turf Athletic Field with built-in Hillside Stadium Seating Estimated $1.5 million

Phase III Performing Arts Building Estimated $9 million

Main Building 1852

Phase III Held Memorial Drive 1985 Gatehouse (Current Convent) c. 1852

Ph a

se II

The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation ”To contemplate and to give to others the fruits of their contemplation”—this is

one of the mottoes of the Dominican Order. For more than a quarter of a century, the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia have shared the fruits of their religious life with members of the Mount de Sales community. During these years, the school has grown nearly 165%. More than half of the school’s current alumnae have benefited from the Dominican Sisters’ commitment to Mount de Sales. With their love for truth, their fidelity to the Church and her teachings, and their witness to a life centered in Christ and his sacraments, the Sisters continue to call each student to friendship with Him who is “the answer to the question that is every human life.” The Nashville Dominicans currently boast a median age of 36, and every year additional young Sisters are available to staff the congregation’s schools around the country. A new convent will allow more Sisters to serve the Mount de Sales community in a setting where their work can be even more the fruit of the contemplative-active religious life to which they are committed. The four pillars of Dominican life are prayer, study, community, and apostolate or ministry. Their convent supports this framework of religious life that is ancient in its monastic roots and ever new in the 21st century. Since their arrival in 1985, the Dominican Sisters have lived in the Gatehouse, a structure that was originally built as a hunting lodge, but was later used for the Academy’s chauffeur, and then served as a residence for the school chaplain and caretaker. While the exterior is architecturally important and attractive, the living space was not designed for Dominican religious community life. After a new convent is built, the Academy will continue to use the Gatehouse. In keeping with their vow of poverty, the Sisters do not need nor desire extravagant surroundings, but it is our responsibility to provide a convent that supports their religious life and, therefore, blesses their work for our students.

A Day in the Life of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia at Mount de Sales Academy 5:00 a.m. Rising 5:30 a.m. Breakfast 6:00 a.m. Meditation 6:30 a.m. Lauds 7:15 a.m. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass 8:00 a.m. School Day Begins 5:00 p.m. Vespers and Rosary 5:30 p.m. Dinner 6:30 p.m. Community Recreation 7:30 p.m. Spiritual Reading 7:45 p.m. Night Prayers, Compline, and Salve Procession 8:00 p.m. Silence 10:00 p.m. Profound Silence

The Constitutions of the Dominican Sisters states: “The monastic framework of our daily life stimulates the growth of the interior life and directs our minds to the things of God. We live a way of life that calls for a contemplative spirit. We bring a message that has been shaped in the sanctuary, the choir, and the cloister.”

The daily life of the Dominican Sisters is filled with the prayer and work, silence and student laughter, and quiet acts of charity living in community. It is a balanced day devoted to furthering the kingdom of God personally and throughout the world. Over the past 25 years, six Mount de Sales Academy Alumnae have professed final vows as Dominican Sisters.

Visitation nuns bought land in Music Hall added, plumbing Catonsville (76 acres purchased installed, and back portico built in Mother Mary Cecilia Brooks’ name from William T. Somerville Gatehouse expanded to on August 20, 1850 for $5000) accommodate the chaplain

1850 1851


Ground breaking on January 29, 1851; named Mount de Sales by Archbishop Eccleston. Laying of the cornerstone for chapel and academy wing on May 27, 1851



Additional tract of 17 acres purchased Monastery wing added


1883 1884

Infirmary constructed


Edmondson Ave. entrance built


Stained glass windows installed in the chapel, from Chartres, France, a gift from the Bogne family

On September 6, 1852 classes begin for first graders - high schoolers

Mary Pinkney Hardy (Mrs. Arthur MacArthur, Jr.), mother of General Douglas MacArthur, graduates from MDSA

Facts and Figures

1895 1896 Alumnae Association established by Regina Keenan Knott

500+ 11 AP courses and 23 Honors courses offered Student to teacher ratio: 11:1 $10.6 Million in scholarships awarded to the Class of 2010 National Top 50 Catholic High School Honor Roll since 2004 16 athletes from the Class of 2010 playing at the collegiate level Enrollment has grown 165% in the past 25 years 36: median age of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation Student body from 73 feeder schools and 68 zip codes 20,000 hours of Christian community service annually by students Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation teach in 33 schools 158 years of Academic Excellence in the Catholic Tradition Enrollment for 2010 - 2011 school year:

Boarding school ends, 4th floor closed, and total enrollment: 55


100 anniversary of MDSA, 8 graduates in the Class of 1952, and Ionic Columns yearbook series begins th



Closing of the grade school; Mount de Sales becomes solely a high school


Visitation nuns sell 44.70 acres for what is now known as the neighborhood of Academy Heights

Mother Mary Bernard Schlitzer announces that MDSA will close at the end of the school year‌massive fundraising efforts ensue for renovations and necessary safety improvements and Fr. Robert W. Duerr named as principal

1962 Science laboratory installed



Visitation nuns retire; formation of the Board of Trustees who purchase the school for $300,000

Growth in Enrollment: Past 25 Years enrollment


500+ 462




297 201







Dates and facts listed on the time line compiled from An Academy of Every Virtue: A History of Mount de Sales Academy.

Arrival of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation of Nashville; Held Memorial Drive Constance and Samuel built Pistorio Sports Complex dedicated

1985 1986

Renovations made to connect the hallways of the academy and monastery wings


Restoration of the Infirmary, renamed Regina Keenan Knott Alumnae Hall


Completion of Dominican Drive and Gazebo renovation Campaign kick-off: Anchored in Excellence; Charting our Future

2009 2010

Mount de Sales Academy for Girls

Academic Excellence in the Catholic Tradition since 1852 700 Academy Road • Catonsville • Maryland • 21228 • For more information or to offer your support, contact Sister Philip Joseph, O.P., Director of Academy Advancement at or 410.744.8498 x131.

Anchored in Excellence Charting our Future  
Anchored in Excellence Charting our Future  

Phase I brochure for Mount de Sales Academy's Capital Campaign, Anchored in Excellence - Charting our Future