The St. Francis Church opened as a breakoff of St. Peter Church located on Superior Ave. at E. 18th St. The mission of the new church was the serve the German immigrants who were living in the east end of Cleveland. Many of these families migrated to Cleveland from Germany seeking religious freedom after being denied the right to educate their children in connection with the church. This freedom was achieved after the opening of the St. Francis Catholic School in 1887.
Originally, the school and church were both located in the small-frame house off Superior Ave. at 71st street. The school was given to the care of The Sisters of Notre Dame, who were known as outstanding educators back in their German homeland, before they too immigrated to the United States seeking religious freedom.
The Educational principles of the Sisters of Notre Dame permeated the mission of St. Francis School since its founding. To this day, St. Francis School holds sacred these principles:
- The centrality of a good and provident God
- The human dignity of each person as an image of God
- The Notre Dame educator as Gospel witness
- And an integrated education for transformation.
St. Francis School has stood the test of time and remained a vibrant educational facility on the near east side of Cleveland. Though the demographics have changed over the years, the school has remains a beacon of hope in the neighborhood, reaching out to parents seeking a faith filled, quality education for their children. The Sisters of Notre Dame remain active in the school and are working with dedicated administrators, staff and teachers to meet the ever-changing needs of our city children.
First worship service for St. Francis Church held on Sunday, September 11th
St. Francis School opens on Monday, September 12th to an enrollment of 120 children
1888 – 1893
Additions added to school to accommodate the growing number of children being enrolled
School transitions from a country school to a suburban parish school
A new 14-classroom school built to house students
Several years later, a commercial high school was added and remained open until the mid-1960’s
A fire destroys the entire church, along with the third floor of the school. While being rebuilt, students attend class in the empty St. George School building nearby
Several years later, a chapel is put in the basement of the school and serves as a worship space for the parish.
A gym is added to the school
A new roof is added and all windows in the facility are replaced
Security system installed throughout the facility
Through the generosity of donors, the school is updated and came a state-of-the-art wireless environment creating a 21st century learning environment
The use of online technology for learning becomes standard practice throughout the school
Church parish closes due to declining number of parishioners, but school is kept open by diocese to continue serving the children living in the surrounding neighborhood.
Restoration to building’s exterior and new signage added
Playground built on site where the St. Francis Church once stood.