Category: The Founding: 1849-1861

  • The Eloquent Indian & The Archbishop

    In August 1861, SI appointed its first prefect of discipline in the form of Fr. James Vanzina, SJ, “who received from Superiors the task of mastering the difficulties of the character of the American boy … while he, at the same time, sought to master those, even greater, of the English idiom.”49 That same month also […]

  • Snapshots of School Life: 1860-1861

    By 1860, the school consisted of several ramshackle classrooms that lacked “a oneness of plan” that made for “an unsatisfactory patchwork.”40 Maraschi was reluctant to build anything that would increase the school’s sizeable debt, and through prudent administration, he was able to cut that debt by $1,200 and purchase more scientific equipment including “a steam engine, […]

  • Years of Growth: 1856–1860

    SI started in debt and continued in debt until well into the 20th century. By the end of 1856, SI owed nearly $20,000, and was operating at a loss. The school’s net revenues were barely half of what was paid on the annual interest ($1,489) toward its debt.36 To pay off this interest, Maraschi simply […]

  • School is in Session

    The school re-opened the following fall, this time drawing 89 students for the 1856–57 term. These students, primarily the sons of Irish and Italian immigrants, went to a school whose purpose was distinct from that of public schools in the U.S. The purpose of Catholic, Jesuit education was not only to train students for a […]

  • Educating the Youth of the Bay Area Since 1855

    At the dedication of St. Ignatius Church, Archbishop Alemany preached and declared that he was “most happy to have the members of the Society of Jesus as his cooperators in the work of promoting the salvation of souls and in giving a good education to the youth of the diocese and especially in the city […]

  • Lot 127 Changes Hands

    St. Ignatius College was not the first Jesuit school attempted in San Francisco. Fr. Flavian Fontaine (a member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary who were staffing Mission Dolores) acquired land in 1853 and erected a brick building, which, he hoped, would educate both day students and boarders. After spending […]

  • Gold Rush Beginnings

    Imagine San Francisco before the Gold Rush: only a few low scrub oaks, only a few settlers’ homes, only a ship or two in the harbor. All that changed within months after the discovery of gold on January 24, 1848. No one, least of all the Catholic Church, was prepared for the rush of people […]