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History of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart

The Order of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart was formed in France in 1821. Founder Father André Coindre, impressed with the teachers of St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Augustine of Hippo, was a strong advocate for teaching the compassion of Jesus Christ. Their brotherhood, based around The Rule of St. Augustine, believed that all members of the community were equal and should share equal responsibility in the efficient running of their group. While the brothers are no longer active participants at Bishop Dunne, their community continues to run schools throughout the world. From Louisiana to Rhode Island, and from Columbia to the Philippines, their presence is still very strong in the Catholic education of young people everywhere.

In the late 50s, Bishop Thomas Gorman of the Diocese of Dallas-Fort Worth and the superintendent of Catholic schools, Reverend Edward Maher, urged the creation of a co-institutional high school in Dallas. In June of 1958, the provincial council of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart began to consider accepting a high school management. August of the same year brought a contract that committed the brothers to supply staff and teach and manage the boys’ division of a new school scheduled to open in the early 60s in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas.

The diocese furnished a site with 38 acres for the boys’ division, agreeing to build the high school with separate wings containing 12 classrooms for boys and 12 for girls and with common wings for science labs, a library, gym, auditorium, cafeteria, and chapel. They also agreed to create a brothers’ residence with bedrooms, a community room, library and a recreation room. The residence also included a brothers’ chapel and reception parlor.

The contract between the Diocese of Dallas and the Brothers of the Sacred Heart was signed on August 27, 1958, with the brothers and sisters assuming financial and staffing responsibility for the school.

Brother Martin was named principal of the boys’ division in May of 1961. The school was called Our Lady of Good Counsel and opened its doors in September of that year to a total of 586 students. There were 34 teachers that included 5 brothers, 14 sisters, 1 Cistercian priest, and 14 laymen and women. The boys had 122 freshmen and added a new class each year. The girls began with all four classes since the new school was a continuation of Our Lady of Good Counsel girls’ school started in 1903 by the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur.

In 1963, Bishop Gorman changed the name to Bishop Dunne High School. Bishop Dunne was from Ireland and had been the second bishop of Dallas in 1893, leading the Catholic community for 17 years. The Lions became the Falcons.

In 1969, Brother Adrian Gaudin was principal of the entire school, which had become coeducational and had 732 students. The five brothers that were at Bishop Dunne at the time were: Brothers Adrian Gaudin, Anthony DuRapau, Patrick McGinity, William McCue, and William Chester.

The provincial council decided in 1975 that the brothers could no longer provide staff for the school. The president of the Bishop Dunne school board wrote to the provincial, Brother Mark, to appeal the decision. He wrote,

“Dunne is not exclusively Catholic or Caucasian. We have an ethnic/religious mix unlike any other diocesan school in the city. Our position is unique and must be managed very carefully. The situation we enjoy under the present administration of the Brothers is more than an educational experience—it has become a way of life for the students. Each child is given the opportunity to live and learn in an atmosphere of dignity and peace. It is more than the professional competence displayed by the Brothers that has been impressive; it is the manner in which they have approached their responsibilities that has endeared the Order to the Dunne community. The patience, understanding, and unselfishness that have been the hallmark of the administration for the past many years are the things that will be missing if they leave, as well as the confidence of those who have great love for our school.” (Letter, November 10, 1975).