History of St. Charles Catholic High School
St. Charles Borromeo school began in Destrehan, Louisiana, with a tradition that dates back to 1929 with the founding of the elementary school under Sister M. Margaret, C.I.C., and 1948 with the beginning of the high school under the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception with Sister M. Valerie, C.I.C., as principal. Later in 1960 the Sisters of the Most Holy Sacrament staffed the school, and Sister Mary Angel became principal. In 1970 the school came under the direction of its first of several lay principals, Thomas Duhe. Succeeding him were Vic Bonnaffee, Bill Koll, Earl Mannina, and Arthur Piatolly.
On October 6, 1977, Archbishop Philip M. Hannan of New Orleans announced that a new co-educational high school would be built in Laplace, Louisiana, but it would be known simply as St. Charles High School, under the patronage of St. Charles Borromeo. On November 16, 1977, the Dominican Sisters, Congregation of St. Mary of New Orleans, agreed to staff the school and Sister Sylvia Major, O.P., was named the first principal. The new school opened September 18, 1978, with an enrollment of 400 students. Sister Sylvia Bourgeois, O.P., became principal in 1981 and remained until 1983; C.J. Tastet became principal in 1983 and remained until 1989 at which time Andrew Cupit became principal.
In 1985 the name of St. Charles Catholic High School was approved by the Office of the Archdiocese.
Life Sketch of St. Charles Borromeo (1538-1584)
Feast Day - November 4th
At the age of twenty-two, while not yet a priest, St. Charles was made a Cardinal by his uncle, Pope Pius IV, and appointed administrator of the Archdiocese of Milan. The young man was acutely conscious of the needs of the Church at that time and played an important part in the final sessions of the reformation of the Council of Trent. In 1563, he was made priest and bishop, and Archbishop of Milan in the following year. He now modified his aristocratic way of living and set himself to apply the principles of the Council of Trent in the reformation of a large diocese that badly needed it. To help remedy the people’s religious ignorance, he established “Sunday Schools” and opened seminaries for the training of clergy. The dignity of public worship was insisted upon. St. Charles set an example of virtuous and selfless living, of caring for the needy and the sick, and of making Christ a reality to the people.
St. Charles’ uncompromising reforms were not carried on without opposition from highly placed lay people whose disorderly lives he used stringent measures to curb. Efforts were made to remove him from office, and an attempt was even made to assassinate him.
St. Charles is particularly noted for his interests in religious education of youth. He died in 1584 at the age of forty-six and was canonized in 1904.
The shield of St. Charles Catholic High School rests on a lozenge whose blue surface and gold border represent the school colors. The shield itself is divided into quarters by the gold Chi Rho, symbol of Christ, the reason for the existence of St. Charles Catholic High School and the center of all activity.
The clasped hands of the first quarter symbolize the students and faculty reaching out to know, to love, and to serve—a Christian ideal further emphasized by the upper half of the gold Chi Rho which rests in the second quarter. Dominating the third quarter, the black crozier with ermine patterned crook recalls the Cardinal-Archbishop of Milan, St. Charles Borromeo, patron of St. Charles Catholic High School. The Dominican shield, which occupies the fourth quarter, represents the Dominican Sisters of New Orleans, who staffed the school when the new school was opened in Laplace in 1978. The traditional black and white of the Dominican Order harmonizes with the white field and the black emblems of the school shield.
The gold reproduction of St. Louis Cathedral, episcopal church of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, surmounts the shield. It not only blends symbolically with the central chirho, but also renders tribute to Archbishop Philip M. Hannan, under whose inspired direction the new school in Laplace was begun. The banner unfurled below the shield proudly records the name of the school and the memorable year when the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception opened the first school in Destrehan in 1948.
May St. Charles Catholic High School ever cherish—become a living symbol of —the noble heritage and aspirations symbolized by its shield.