“For Mexican Children in Particular”: The Marianist Educational Mission in San Antonio, 1852-1927


Brothers and priests of the Society of Mary have had a distinguished record of educating Mexican Americans, Mexican Nationals, and other Hispanics since arriving in San Antonio in 1852.  Today the Society of Mary's educational institutions in San Antonio, St. Mary’s University and Central Catholic High School, remain dedicated to these students.

This exhibit tells the first part of a story of the Society of Mary's mission to educate Mexican American students in San Antonio from the foundation of St. Mary's College in 1852 until the evolutionary emergence of St. Mary's University in 1927 and Central Catholic High School in 1932.

In these early years, the Marianist educational mission encountered difficult social and economic realities in San Antonio that complicated their ability to fully serve the Mexican American community. They began with a strong commitment to an integrated multicultural educational experience for their students, but eventually conformed to segregationist local realities.  This story speaks to the often uneasy relationship between commitment to mission and quotidian reality. 

“Bishop Odin had wanted a school to take care of the Mexican children in particular”– Brother Joseph William Schmitz, Historian


Curated and written by Dr. Gerald Poyo (O'Connor Chair for the Study of Hispanic Texas and the Southwest, StMU) and Christopher Repka (BA, 2018, StMU)