History of Bishop Dunne

In 1961, Bishop Dunne Catholic School began under the name Our Lady of Good Counsel High School. The Sisters of St. Mary of Namur had established two girls’ high schools in Dallas; Our Lady of Good Counsel Academy in Oak Cliff in 1901 and St. Edward’s Academy in East Dallas in 1912. At the request of the Diocese of Dallas, the Sisters agreed to close the two high schools and invite students from them to be part of a new entity, a diocesan sponsored high school. The Sisters agreed to continue staffing the girls’ section of the institution, while the Brothers of the Sacred Heart were invited to staff the boys’ section of the school.

In 1963, the name of the school was officially changed to Bishop Dunne in honor of one of the first bishops of Dallas.

In 1969, the school became coeducational. At that time a Brother of the Sacred Heart was named principal, and a Sister of St. Mary of Namur was named assistant principal. The Sisters remained in administrative or teaching capacity at Bishop Dunne until 1992, residing in a convent on the grounds of the school. The Sisters of St. Mary of Namur continue to guide us in our mission and Catholic identity and support our students through generous sponsorships.

Bishop Dunne Catholic School was named for the second Bishop of the Diocese of Dallas, Bishop Edward Dunne, who was celebrated for building the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe and many other Catholic institutions at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century. The school began as Our Lady of Good Counsel in 1901, and, in 1961, St. Edward’s Catholic School and our Lady of Good Counsel were combined at the present site. The school was named Bishop Dunne High School in 1963 and Bishop Dunne Catholic School in 2000 with the inclusion of the Middle School.

More History of Bishop Dunne

History of the Sisters of St. Mary Namur

The Sisters of St. Mary of Namur began in the walled medieval Belgian city of Namur, complete with a commanding citadel at the confluence of the Sambres and the Meuse Rivers and a beautiful cathedral dominating the city square. Namur has been occupied since Roman times and has always been a city of military importance with waves of invasions including Phillip II of Spain, Louis XIV of France, and advancing German armies during World War II. St. Alban's Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint Aubin) was built between 1751 and 1767 on the site of a former Romanesque church, of which only the tower has survived. Near the cathedral stands St. Loup Church, built during the 17th century, where the eventual founder of the Sisters, Father Nicholas Joseph Minsart, was appointed pastor in 1813.

The congregation of St. Mary of Namur was founded after the French Revolution. In the years following the French Revolution, Father Minsart, a religious of the Order of St. Bernard, was deeply troubled by the plight of young girls in his parish. With no resources or education, deep poverty forced them into the most menial of tasks and even prostitution. In 1819, he asked two young women to open a sewing workshop so that skills and basic education could be offered. With these humble beginnings, Josephine Sana and Elizabeth Berger began the educational efforts of what eventually became the mission of the Sisters of St. Mary.

Even today, the sisters observe November 11 as the beginning of the Order, and partake of a simple supper of baked potatoes and apples, remembering their beginnings in a little house in Namur. Other young women soon came to join them, and, by 1834, the women were recognized as a religious congregation, approved by Bishop Barrett of Namur. On September 21, 1834, sixteen sisters received the habit. Among this group was Sister Claire of Jesus, who would be elected superior shortly before Father Minsart’s death in 1837. For the next thirty-six years, she led the community, devoting herself to forming the religious spirit of the sisters.

The sisters were excellent teachers, believing in providing spiritual development and educational opportunities to children, especially the poor. They established schools and academies in Belgium, and, in 1863, Mother Claire sent the first missionaries of the congregation to the United States of America. The Sisters came to Texas in 1873, continuing the venture into unknown places. Today the sisters are still educators and passionate supporters of non-violence, promoting the pursuit of peace and continuing their work in education, health care, prison ministries, immigration, and adult formation. The Sisters of St. Mary of Namur continue to guide us in our mission and Catholic identity and support our students through generous sponsorships. The sisters maintain missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Cameroon, Tanzania, Brazil and the Dominican Republic.

Sisters of St. Mary of Namur Who Have Taught at Bishop Dunne

Sister Mary Bosco AllenSister Bernard Apple Sister Judith BeardSister Joann Bifano Sister Mary Isabelle Bird
Sister Maria ClarkSister Marie Josephine CorderSister John Teresa CummingsSister Rita Claire DavisSister Mary Rachel Dunne
Sister Francis Joseph FarrellSister Antionette FetteSister Dorothy Ann FloriSister Justin FoxSister Emmanuel Hajek
Sister Mary Camille KaiserSister Dorothy McGrathSister Mary Stephen McLarrySister Mary Agnes MelanconSister Louis Menard
Sister Joseph RidgleySister Mary O'ReillySister Mary Loyola OsbornSister Claire OwensSister Ann Elizabeth Parr
Sister Marie Pierre Ste. MarieSister Mary David RoehlSister Bernadette Marie SchlabsSister Mary Frances SerafinoSister Louise Smith
Sister Elizabeth WilliamsSister Raphael StewartSister Mary VetterSister Mary Bernard VirgilSister Ruth Marie Webber
Sister Miriam NesmithSister Marie Therese WrightSister Mary Catherine Zacha

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).