Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



ABSTRACT Holy Rosary Institute began as an industrial school for African American young women in Galveston, Texas, during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. In 1913 it moved to Lafayette, Louisiana, and in 1947 began admitting males as well as women. It closed in 1993. Through much of its history, this secondary school was staffed primarily by the Sisters of the Holy Family, the second oldest order of African American nuns in the United States, and the Divine Word Missionaries, one of the earliest groups of Catholic priests to accept African American candidates for the priesthood. In 1992, Gerard L. Frey, former bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette described its importance to the people of Louisiana. “Holy Rosary Institute in its many years as a vocational-technical school, as a normal school, and as a high school has served the entire area of southwest Louisiana by providing education which would not otherwise have been available to the black community.” Without the school’s influence, “the socio-economic condition of southwest Louisiana would have been vastly different. One shudders to imagine, what the conditions would have been had it not been for Holy Rosary and those valiant leaders who staffed it for all its years.” Once considered one of the outstanding secondary schools in the nation, Holy Rosary trained students who went on to become some of the country’s finest doctors, lawyers, educators, nurses, and many other highly rated professionals in various fields. In 1974, due to a decline in enrollment and astronomical costs the boarding department was closed ending an era that had begun more than fifty years before. With the closing of the boarding department Holy Rosary began a period of decline. The financial difficulties caused by decreasing revenues caused the elimination and restructure of many of the services provided by the school. The needs of the school prompted an all out effort on the part of the alumni and friends to “Keep Rosary Alive.” Continuing its philosophy of superior educational development, the eighties saw a slight rise in enrollment and a serious recommitment to the vision of its founder. However, after eighty years of service, finances and other socio-economic factors led to the closure of one of the finest college-preparatory schools in the South in 1993. This is its story.



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Committee Chair

Foster, Gaines M.



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