Founder of Sacred Heart Academy joins Dominican order

June 16th, 1863

On this day in 1863, Mother Mary Agnes Magevney, future foundress of the Dominican Congregation of the Sacred Heart in Houston, joined the Dominican Sisters of Saint Mary's in Ohio. She was born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1841, the child of Irish immigrants. The Magevney home was the center of Catholic worship for Memphis and the surrounding area, and every sacrament except confirmation and holy orders was celebrated there. Mary was attending St. Mary's Academy in Somerset, Ohio, when she joined the Dominican Sisters. In 1882 Nicholas Aloysius Gallagher, bishop of Galveston, made known to Mother Agnes the need for religious teachers in Texas, and in September she and nineteen Dominican nuns left Ohio to establish a convent and school in Galveston. Sacred Heart Academy opened in October 1882, and the fledgling school developed into a system that spread to southeast and central Texas, southern California, and Guatemala and continues to serve in those areas today. Mother Agnes died in 1891.

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Founder of Sacred Heart Academy joins Dominican order

June 16th, 1863

On this day in 1863, Mother Mary Agnes Magevney, future foundress of the Dominican Congregation of the Sacred Heart in Houston, joined the Dominican Sisters of Saint Mary's in Ohio. She was born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1841, the child of Irish immigrants. The Magevney home was the center of Catholic worship for Memphis and the surrounding area, and every sacrament except confirmation and holy orders was celebrated there. Mary was attending St. Mary's Academy in Somerset, Ohio, when she joined the Dominican Sisters. In 1882 Nicholas Aloysius Gallagher, bishop of Galveston, made known to Mother Agnes the need for religious teachers in Texas, and in September she and nineteen Dominican nuns left Ohio to establish a convent and school in Galveston. Sacred Heart Academy opened in October 1882, and the fledgling school developed into a system that spread to southeast and central Texas, southern California, and Guatemala and continues to serve in those areas today. Mother Agnes died in 1891.

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With more than 27,000 articles about Texas history, the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas is the largest online encyclopedia about all things Texas. Now you can celebrate the history of Texas every day by activating your free subscription to Texas Day by Day. Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles. It's one of the best ways to learn more about Texas history — in only 15 minutes a day!

Activate your free subscription to Texas Day by Day and you can:

  • Explore Texas history each day in bite-sized pieces conveniently delivered to your inbox each morning
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  • Discover new places to explore in the Lone Star State
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