The Academy the the divine Cross has actually a history that dates earlier to the days just after the polite War. The sisters of the holy Cross originally pertained to the Washington area to serve as nurses, but their business as educators is no much less auspicious. The Academy the the holy Cross is amongst the very first of the schools started by the Sisters.

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The Academy color etc its heritage indigenous the tree of Blessed Basile Anthoine Marie Moreau, CSC, founder that the Congregation the the sisters of the holy Cross. As part of the divine Cross household that stretches around the world, the Academy participates in many activities that hold together all branches on the divine Cross tree.

The early Years



The Academy the the divine Cross traces its establishing to the parish that Saint Matthew the Apostle in Washington, DC, wherein the pastor, Rev. Charles Ignatius White invite the sisters of the divine Cross to open a school for the girls of the parish. Mother Angela (Gillespie) sent out Sister M. Sebastian (Gregory) and also Sister M. Nativity (Moss). ~ one year, the instant need for a exclusive school to be apparent. In 1869, three extr sisters were sent from the Mother home in southern Bend, Indiana to organize the program. Developed to encourage the education of young females in the ideals express by Blessed Basil Moreau, the sister of the holy Cross taught children and also young females at facilities shared v St. Matthew’s parish school. Despite the rapid expansion of the Academy, absence of funds kept the sister from opened their very own facility. A residence in ~ 1440 M Street, N.W., was rented in 1876 for the faculty and also to residence the Academy, wherein they continued to be for three years.

Massachusetts path Campus



In 1877 sisters M. LaSalette (Smith) ended up being the school’s superior and began a find to uncover a an ext suitable place for the Academy. Through the aid of father White, the sisters purchased a lot nearby to thomas Circle at 1312 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. For $11,000. Dad White died prior to the foundation of the new institution to be laid, however his words, “Put up a building worthy the the Church and your community,” to be literally fulfilled. The institution expense $40,000 and also was described as a “pretentious red brick building with handsome stone trimmings.” The structure was completed, and The Academy the the holy Cross to be formally hired in 1879.

By the time Sister M. Angelica (Holton) became superior in 1884, holy Cross was known as a preeminent college for young women in Washington. The school organized presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Howard Taft, and also Sister Angelica, graduating seniors and teachers to be guests in ~ the White House. In addition the Academy welcomed countless of the most identified scholars the the nation. As head the the Academy because that 29 years, sister Angelica do monumental changes to improve divine Cross. At the near of the nineteenth century, the building was renovated to enable for residents students. As the variety of graduates indigenous the Academy started to grow, the Alumnae combination was established in 1899. In 1906 brand-new electric bright was mounted and, because that the very first time, hot and also cold water were run as much as the third floor that the Academy because that the boarders. Together the variety of young women who boarded in ~ the Academy grew, the sisters were forced to usage folding cots in classrooms come accommodate the residents. This resulted in the leasing that a nearby property as an annex in 1907.

Despite this addition, sisters Angelica realized the the Academy was rapidly outgrowing its current location. Noticing a big unused estate west of absent Creek Park on Dunbarton Heights, sister Angelica purchased the 22 acre of land in 1904 v the support of Washington’s Bishop thomas J. Shahan. The remote pastoral ar in upper Northwest DC had actually no water, sewage service, gas, or electricity and also was supplied as a summer retreat because that the boarders and sisters.



Sister Angelica got approval to construct the brand-new campus native the Mother home just prior to Christmas in 1908 with the proviso the she might expect no jae won assistance. Plans were drawn and in may 1909, floor was broken for the brand-new institution.

The Academy’s new Tudor Gothic brick structure was finished a year later and, in 1910, the students and sisters eagerly relocated to what became called the Upton Street campus. After practically three decades of service to the Academy, sister Angelica retired in 1912, leaving the Academy with a shining vision for the future and a profound debt.

The 1920s brought about exciting occasions for the women of the Academy. Enrollment was at a record high. The Academy activate its very own farm. The graduating class of 1921 and also 1926 were both got by the first Ladies at the White House. The Alumnae Association established a scholarship fund through the generous assistance by the growing number of graduates of the Academy. Complying with the fatality of the lover Sister M. Angelica, the Alumnae association inaugurated “Rose Day” in she memory through the perfect of the “Our Lady of the Roses” shrine that the Blessed Mother.

Although the Academy felt the effects of the good Depression v a palliation in enrollment, the school ongoing to flourish throughout the 1930s. As the Academy and also other colleges operated by the sisters continued to thrive, the need for higher education that the sisters and also the graduates of your schools became evident. In 1935 Dunbarton university of the holy Cross began operation in the Academy’s building and also moved right into their own brand-new building on the campus 3 years later.

As the United claims entered civilization War II, the Academy continued to administer an exemplary education and learning for young women. As many families came to Washington to work in the broadening departments of government, the variety of students in ~ the Academy once again increased. Room at Upton Street was additionally made obtainable to young women who came to Washington as war workers. While students in ~ the Academy ongoing their studies, they likewise assisted with the battle effort. College student purchased battle bonds and raised funds to acquisition three Jeeps and five ambulances. They join the Red Cross, volunteered at plenty of hospitals in the area, and compiled hand-made and collected supplies for kit that were mailed to soldiers, displaced Europeans, and orphaned refugees children, all in spite of their very own rationing.



Despite the hesitation of war, the sisters had a vision for their beloved school. In 1943 they purchased almost 150 acres of land in Kensington recognized as the Corby Estate. The property included the mansion, which initially served together the sisters’ residence and later was developed into the Strathmore Hall center for Arts. In 1956 the Academy moved to its existing 28-acre home. Qualities were included one year at a time while the students at Upton Street graduated. The school prospered in its brand-new location. Under the management of sister M. Cutting board Aquinas (O’Connor) a $200,000 “East Wing” enhancement was completed in 1966, adding art and music rooms and also a gymnasium. The new gym was placed to an excellent use, including a 115-game basketball to win streak native 1976 come 1982.

Through the 1970s the Academy’s scholastic program ongoing to continue to be ahead that educational trends with opportunities such together the senior Project internship. The 1980s came to be a disconcerting time for area Catholic schools and the Academy’s future came to be uncertain. The administration continued ~ above a solid path, however, with new initiatives proceeding to be introduced. In 1985 the Alumnae Association transferred the ours Lady the the Roses statue come the Kensington campus circle.

In 1998 the Academy got the U.S. Department of education and learning Blue Ribbon the Excellence, proving the the decision no to close was a way one. A year later, the Academy’s administration transferred duty for procedure to a board of Trustees, if the sister retained particular powers. V a new financial security established, the arts & sciences wing and Theatre was opened in 2003, practically doubling the school’s discovering space.

Recognizing the require for a Catholic high institution inclusion program for students v intellectual and also developmental disabilities, the Academy presented a modified program in 2000. ~ the regime was later on suspended because that evaluation and also restructuring, the Moreau options Program because that students through intellectual and also developmental disabilities to be reintroduced in 2014 with good success.

In 2010 the Academy came to be an worldwide Baccalaureate civilization School (suspended with the course of 2020). Worldwide recruitment efforts expanded in 2014, to incorporate students native China. In 2015 the center for an innovation and creativity opened to support the growing technology curriculum. Ridgway Field, an all-weather, synthetic-turf field was added, far better preparing athletes for much faster play at the university level through fewer injuries. New initiatives in 2017, together as task Lead the way and twin credit/dual enrollment with Marymount University, continue to show the Academy’s steady mindset.

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The Academy of the divine Cross dead a deep tradition of commitment to women’s education, nurtured by the dedication of numerous Sisters the the holy Cross and countless other educators. All whose lives have been touched by this great institution owe them a debt of gratitude.