All Souls Catholic School celebrates the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the school in 1954.
The school was founded during the pastorate of Father Richard Lyons after a fund raising campaign netted the money to purchase the property adjacent to the church owned by the Chase family.
In September 1954, All Souls School opened in the remodeled former garage of the Chase family estate which was purchased by Father Richard Lyons with Sister M. Veronita as the first principal.
All Souls School in Sanford opened on Sept. 7, 1954. The school was staffed by Sisters of Christian Charity of Mendham, NY. They arrived in Sanford by train on August 23, 1954.
Four classrooms were constructed in the former garage of the Chase estate. Flooring of tile, pastel walls, glass jalousie windows and modern furnishings were featured in the classrooms. The former Randall Chase home on the lot was furnished as a convent. The playground area had a double basketball court.
The faculty included: Sister Veronita, superior; Sister Ventura, Sister Mary James and Sister Germaine. Mrs. James Stafford conducted a kindergarten under the supervision of the Sisters.
The first All Souls Catholic Church was constructed in 1887 and burned to the ground on January 25, 1932. The second church was dedicated on July 4, 1937, exactly 50 years after the cornerstone was laid for the first church by Father Felix Prosper Swembergh.
The 1954 school was not the first associated with All Souls Catholic Church. The first school was called “St. Anne’s” and was run by two Sisters of Mercy – first in a home (still standing) at 823 Park in Sanford and then in the structure on the far right in the photo below. This rare postcard, shows the rectory (built in early 1911 for the first resident pastor Father Patrick J. “PJ” Bresnahan), the first church (constructed in 1887) and the home for the Sisters of Mercy and their St. Anne’s School (completed by May 1912) as they stood prior to the fire of January 25, 1932.
The Sanford section of the Tampa Tribune, December 23, 1911, p. 11 states: “The Sisters of Mercy, who recently came to Sanford and are conducting a school will soon have a handsome home on South Oak Avenue. They will continue their school in the new building. The property on which the home is being erected is owned by the Catholic Church.”
The May 10, 1912, edition of the Tampa Tribune (page 3) states: “The convent and home for the Sisters of Mercy that has been built on the property of the Catholic Church, in the enclosure with the church, is so near completion that the sisters, who are conducting the school, have moved in, and the children are receiving instruction in the new building, which from the exterior, seems to be ample for use as a school and also a home.”
The children gave many “entertainments” during the year and many are reported in great detail in the Sanford Herald down to the song sung or poem recited and by whom (SEE Documents below). This blurb from the Tampa Tribune, December 26, 1912, p.9 is brief and to the point: “The Christmas exercises of the Sanford Catholic school taught by the Sisters of Mercy, were given Monday evening in their splendid new school building. A most excellent and appropriate program was well rendered, and was very much enjoyed by the large audience. The children acquitted themselves most creditably.”
The diploma shown here was presented to members of the second graduating class at All Souls Catholic School in June 1957. The graduates included Joy Brueggeman, Nancy Filegar, Francis Gurucharri, John Kennedy, Paula Markham, Charles Oravetz, Stephen Powell, Fred Teslo, William Wight. The text states: This Diploma is awarded to Frederick Paul Teslo for having completed in a satisfactory manner the prescribed course of study for the Ninth Grade of All Souls School, Sanford, Florida June 9, 1957. Sister M. Veronita, Principal; Rev. Richard Lyons, Pastor.
Students graduating from ninth grade at All Souls Catholic School in Sanford, Florida were featured in the June 4, 1959 edition of the Sanford Herald. The photograph shows the students standing in front of the 1937 Church with the Mass Schedule on the left and the pamphlet/magazine rack on the right.
CAPTION: STUDENTS GRADUATE – These are the ninth graders who graduated at All Souls Catholic School in Sanford last week.
Front row, left to right, Michael Hatch, Cecelia Russi, Joan Downs, Patricia Smith; Middle row, Jean Vanzura, Pricilla Mitchell, Deanna Farina, Dixie Lee Gregus, Linda Fitts, Thomas Fay; Back row, Michael Smith, Lloyd Edwards, Richard Jansen, Carlos Velez and Daniel Mathers. Photo by Cox
All Souls Catholic Church, May 31, 1959 Sunday Bulletin had the following announcement regarding the graduation:
Today we are proud to present this year’s class of Graduates from the Ninth Grade of All Souls School. They will receive their Certificates at the 11:30 a.m. Mass. The Class Colors are White and Blue. Here are the Graduates: Lloyd Ignatius Edwards, Thomas Edward Fay, Daniel Hutchinson Mathers, Jr., Michael Peter Hatch, Richard Joseph Jansen, Michael Brian Smith, Charles Modesto Velez, Joan Eleanora Downs, Deanna Colleen Farina, Mary Lina Fitts, Dixie Lee Gregus, Precilla Ann Mitchell, Cecelia Marguerite Russi, Patricia Ann Smith, Wilma Jean Vanzura.
The Graduation Mass will be a High Mass at 11:30 a.m. after which the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed for adoration until 4:00 p.m. Closing.
Ground was broken for a badly needed addition to the school in July 1959. An article in the Sanford Herald marked the event.
GROUND IS BROKEN FOR A SCHOOL ADDITION IN SANFORD. Parishioners of All Souls Church, Sanford, join Father Richard J. Lyons and Sisters of Christian Charity at the ground-breaking for a school addition. Above, Sister Veronita prepares to turn a spade full of earth.
All Souls to Add Four Classrooms At Sanford School SANFORD — Members of All Souls parish here have attended the groundbreaking for their parish school addition, Father Richard J. Lyons said this week.
The building, expected to be completed in September, will have four classrooms, principal’s office, a clinic, a kitchen and a separate auditorium. Designed with the future in mind, the school will eventually be a two-story building, he said. He blessed the ground and turned the first shovelful of sand, after which he invited the men present to participate in the groundbreaking, as a feature of the Father’s Day ceremony.
Sisters of Christian Charity of Mendham, New Jersey, who staff All Souls School, also took part in the groundbreaking.
A photograph of All Soul’s Pastor Father William T. Keane and the Sisters of Christian Charity were featured in the June 13, 1969 edition of The Florida Catholic to announce that only two of the sisters would return to teach the following school year.
CAPTION: Two nuns will return next year Father William T. Keane, pastor of All Souls Church, Sanford, said goodbye this week to the Sisters of Christian Charity who teach at All Souls School. Next September, only two of their number will return to teach in Sanford. Leaving are, from left, rear, Sisters Elsa, Ignatia and Josephita, and, foreground, Sister Lucy, who was principal and superior last year and had taught in the Sanford school eight years.
All Souls Catholic School basketball team claimed First Place in the Orlando Diocesan Championship Basketball Tournament in 1974. The March 15, 1974 edition of The Florida Catholic featured a photograph of the team, the coach, school principal and Pastor William Ennis. This amazing photo captures the entire student body, staff and Father Richard Voor and his dog O’Henry in the school courtyard where they gather for prayer to begin each day. The 1937 Church (now referred to as the Historic Chapel) is in the background.
“First place winner in the Diocesan Championship Basketball Tournament held recently at Bishop Moore High School, Orlando, is the eighth grade team from All Souls Parish in Sanford. Pictured with the trophies won in this year’s competition are: front row: Coach Ken Solstman, Joe Perez, John Sierputowski, Mike Fall, Mark Yelsley, and Chris Gillmor; second row: Sister Charlene, SCC, principal, Ken Bogeajis, David Craig, Greg LaTour, Greg Smith, David Wiggins, and Father William Ennis, pastor, All Souls Parish.”
This amazing photo captures the entire student body, staff and Father Richard Voor and his dog O’Henry in the school courtyard where they gather for prayer to begin each day. The 1937 Church (now referred to as the Historic Chapel) is in the background.
READ ABOUT ALL SOULS CATHOLIC PARISH
READ ABOUT ALL SOULS CATHOLIC CEMETERY
READ ALL SOULS SUNDAY BULLETINS 1953-1968Back to top
Excerpts from The Sanford Herald newspaper from 1908 through 1913 (at this time). Includes Father Fox's last Mass, arrival of first resident pastor - Father Patrick J. "PJ" Bresnahan, arrival of the Sisters of Mercy and their St. Anne's School, school entertainments, school picnics at San Lando Springs, the construction of the rectory, and more.
Articles published in The Sanford Herald provide precious details about the first parochial school affiliated with All Souls Catholic Church and Parish in Sanford. Operated by the Sisters of Mercy nuns, St. Anne's Parochial School opened its doors to students on September 25, 1911, in a home at 823 Park Avenue at the corner of Park and 9th in Sanford, Florida.
The Sanford Herald, published on September 29, 1911 (p. 12, Col. 2), states that the school opened on September 25, 1911 and that a new school building would be constructed on the church property (a full block bordered by 8th, Oak, 9th, Myrtle).
New School Opens.
The Sisters of Mercy started their school at Park Ave. and Ninth street last Monday [September 25, 1911]. For the present they accept pupils for the kindergarten and grammar school only, owing to lack of accommodations for high school pupils. A new school building is to be put up on the Catholic Church property in the very near future, and then they will be in a position to receive those seeking opportunity for higher [sic] studies. The pupils now in attendance tax the building they occupy. A number of music pupils as well as some for painting have been enrolled.
The new school mentioned in The Sanford Herald article above, constructed north of the church was completed in May 1912 as reported in the May 10, 1912, Tampa Tribune which states: "The convent and home for the Sisters of Mercy ... is so near completion that the sisters ... have moved in, and the children are receiving instruction in the new building ..."
Published in The Florida Catholic on July 3, 1959, this photo captured the groundbreaking for additional school classrooms at All Souls Catholic parish in Sanford in 1959.
Shown in the photo is Father Richard Lyons, who spearheaded the establishment of All Souls Catholic School in 1954.
The school was established in a refurbished garage on the former home site of the Chase family at the corner of Oak and Ninth in Sanford. The Chase home was converted into a convent for the Sisters of Christian Charity with their leader, Sister Veronita.
All Souls Catholic School postcard invitation to festivities surrounding the 60th Anniversary of the opening of the school in 1954.
A special dedication booklet was created for the Dedication of the new All Souls Catholic Church - many years in the planning! It features photos of the construction site from the beginning of the process to the completion of the new Church.
PLEASE NOTE: The history presented in the dedication album has several errors.
As an example, the history in the album states that Father Bresnahan because the first resident pastor at All Souls in April 1911, but Father Patrick J. "PJ" Bresnahan actually arrived at All Souls in October 1910 and said his first Mass on Sunday, October 23, 1910, as stated in the October 14, 1910 edition of the Sanford Herald (emphasis added).
County Happenings. "Will Have Resident Pastor"
Last Sunday [October 9, 1911] Father Fox officiated for the last time as pastor of the Catholic church in Sanford. This church he has served continuously for eighteen years, having received his appointment from Bishop Moore in 1892. That period of time witnessed the prosperity and the adversity of the old and the birth of a New Sanford and during it all the pastor stood by his flock. He now leaves regretfully when the New Sanford is in a vigorous and promising adolescence and when the prospects of his church are brighter than they ever were before. But these improved conditions and increased congregations make changes imperative. Hitherto Sanford was a mission, it will now have a resident pastor and be the centre of a surrounding missionary field. The church will be in its normal condition with pastor and Mass all Sundays and weekdays.
A rectory, to house the new pastor, will be of immediate necessity and there is hope that at no distant time there will be erected a convent and school to aid in the work of keeping New Sanford clean, cultured, and Christian.
The Rev. Patrick J. Bresnahan, until recently of Tallahassee, will succeed Father Fox. He is not unknown to the people of Sanford, having replaced the Pastor five years ago when the latter made a trip to Europe. Father Bresnahan is strong physically, and interested in base ball and other sports. He is, too, strong mentally and morally and will be a decided acquisition to the city in the works of citizenship and civic nature. Father Bresnahan will take possession of his charge, Sunday, 23rd inst. [October 23, 1910]
Another example deals with the date the rectory was completed and when the Sisters of Mercy arrived and started St. Anne's School. The date mentioned in the History in the Dedication is "before 1913" but the dates are much earlier based on newspaper articles in the Sanford Herald.
Sanford Herald, April 28, 1911, no page number, col. 1-2.
Parochial Residence of Father Bresnahan. The Catholic Church.
Among the many changes and improvements, that have been made in Sanford during the past six months, by no means the least was raising of the district to the dignity of a Catholic parish so great was the influx of Catholics to Sanford and neighborhood that a resident priest was found to be absolutely necessary so that the spiritual needs of these Catholics may be attended to accordingly towards the end of October 1910 the Rev. P. J. Bresnahan formerly diocesan missionary of this diocese of St. Augustine was sent hither by his bishop to organize a new parish a Catholic census showed almost 50 Catholic families in town, and a catechism class with an enrollment of about 40 children.
The church is constantly increasing its membership and is now probably the strongest church in the city. The material improvements made have attracted the attention of every citizen. For within four months after his arrival Father Bresnahan found himself in a beautiful parochial residence erected by his enthusiastic congregation at a cost of not less than $2500. A beautiful new altar and has been installed also an organ. And now there is talk of the sisters coming to establish a catholic school on the other side of the beautiful building block owned by the church in Sanford.
Still another example deals with the opening date of the school run by the Sisters of Mercy - St. Anne's School.
Sanford Herald, September 29, 1911, page 12, col. 2.
New School Opens.
The Sisters of Mercy started their school at Park Ave. and Ninth street last Monday [September 25, 1911]. For the present they accept pupils for the kindergarten and grammar school only, owing to lack of accommodations for high school pupils. A new school building is to be put up on the Catholic Church property in the very near future, and then they will be in a position to receive those seeking opportunity for higher [sic] studies. The pupils now in attendance tax the building they occupy. A number of music pupils as well as some for painting have been enrolled. NOTE: Peter Schaal in, "Sanford as I knew it 1912-1935," p. 4 states: "April 16, 1912 ... I was a student at St. Anne's school, 831 Park Avenue* (later the home of Mayor T. L. Dumas)... The school operated in that building from September 25, 1911 to late **1912..."
*The 1912 Sanborn map shows the address as 823 Park, the last house on the block. The 1920 R. L. Polk Sanford Directory, p. 58, shows Thomas L. Dumas resides at 823 Park. The 1915 Sanford City Directory indicates that James C. and Mollie A. Roberts resided at 823 Park in 1915. Based on these three resources, it seems likely that the school was first located in the house that currently sits at 823 Park.
** The May 10, 1912, Tampa Tribune states: "The convent and home for the Sisters of Mercy ... is so near completion that the sisters ... have moved in, and the children are receiving instruction in the new building ..."