Academy Of The Sacred Heart Celebrates 200 Years

Governor John Bel Edwards and Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel ring in the celebration on October 5, 2021

Posted: Sep 20, 2021 11:23 AM

GRAND COTEAU, La. -  The Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau will officially begin its year-long bicentennial celebration on October 5, 2021, marking 200 years of all-girls Catholic education in Acadiana. For the headlining event on October 5, Governor John Bel Edwards, Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel, Rev. Msgr. Keith Derouen, parents, alumnae, faculty, staff and current students will gather at St. Landry Catholic Church in Opelousas for a celebratory mass followed by a picnic lunch reception in the beautiful front gardens of the Academy in Grand Coteau.

On October 5, 1821, the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau opened with five students and two Religious of the Sacred Heart, members of the Society of the Sacred Heart founded by St. Madeleine Sophie Barat 21 years earlier. Over the next 200 years, the Academy endured and persevered through many hardships — the Civil War, pandemics, World Wars I & II, the Great Depression and the current pandemic with COVID-19. Throughout it all, the Academy has flourished and been a place of faith, formation and education for girls, from one-year-old through 12th grade. Deeply rooted in Catholic tradition, the Academy focuses on five unifying Goals: Faith, Academics, Service, Community, and Character. A “Sacred Heart Girl” can be easily identified by her tenacity, intellect and servant leadership.

As the oldest school in America west of the Mississippi River, the Academy of the Sacred Heart’s history is vast and its legacy is woven through its alumnae and current students. Our history is comprised of many stories — from the Miracle of St. John Berchmans that occurred on campus, to the building of the physical structure by the enslaved individuals who lived and worked on campus prior to the Civil War, to Union General Nathaniel Banks who saved the school from ruin during the Civil War, to the boarding school on campus that has been home to girls from all over the world, including Hollywood actress, Salma Hayek. As we embark on our 200th year and celebrate being the oldest and only all-girls school in Acadiana, we look forward to sharing our history with the community and welcoming everyone to experience the serene beauty of our 255 acre campus that resides on holy grounds just 25 minutes from Lafayette in Grand Coteau, Louisiana. For more information visit https://sshcoteau.org/.

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