Blanchet High School was dedicated on November 6, 1955. The high school was built as part of
Archbishop Thomas A. Connolly’s desire to provide adequate Catholic institutions for the growing
post-World War II population. "Co-instructional", the two-million dollar school enrolled male
and female students, separating them only for classes. The school was located on a nine-acre
tract in North Seattle and was designed to accommodate 1400 students. The faculty originally
consisted of two priests, women religious from six different religious institutes and several
lay men and women.
Bishop Blanchet High School currently has an enrollment of 1034 students, including a freshman
class of 277 and 85 faculty members, with a 12:1 faculty-student ratio.
In 1880, the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary came to Seattle in answer to Father
F. X. Prefontaine's request for aid in Catholic education. The Sisters established Holy Names
Academy, the first school for girls in Seattle. The growth of Seattle's downtown area forced
the school to move twice, first in 1884, and again in 1908. The school presently stands on
Capitol Hill (as pictured above) and still operates today, with an enrollment of 615 female
John F. Kennedy Memorial High School opened in 1967 with a freshman-only class of 250 students.
The school was built to educate as many as 1600 students. John F. Kennedy High School's first
faculty consisted of priests, Sisters of Providence, and lay persons. The school cost
approximately $3.1 million.
John F. Kennedy High School currently has an enrollment of 900 students with a student-teacher
ratio of 21:1.
Our Lady Queen of Martyrs School was a kindergarten established in 1920 by the Sisters of
Maryknoll, or the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, an order that focused on
missionary activities among Asian populations. By 1928, the multicultural parish was
comprised of Japanese and Filipino Catholics, and by 1930 included both a church and a school.
Amidst hostility and harassment with the coming of World War II in America, the school would
become an important net of support for the Japanese community. Unfortunately, the school closed
in 1942, and the parish changed when people of Japanese ancestry were ordered to evacuate to
restricted military zones on the West Coast, and relocate inland to internment camps.
In the 1880s while on a trip to Rome, the Reverend Peter Francis Hylebos, pastor of St. Leo's
Parish in Tacoma, met Sr. Katherine Drexel (later St. Katherine Drexel, canonized in 2000 by
Pope John Paul II), who shared his devotion to native peoples. With her encouragement, Fr.
Hylebos secured land for the establishment of an industrial school for the Indians. The Sisters
of St. Francis were enlisted to teach, along with a lay schoolteacher. Father Charles De Decker
was made superintendent. The school was originally supported partially by government subsidies
in addition to generous contributions by Mother Drexel and Father De Decker himself. The school
began as a single large structure, but expanded to become a small campus with several
outbuildings. Half of each day was used for school and the other half for chores and vocational
training. Met with only measured success, the school faced declining funds and inadequate
facilities. Despite improvements to the facilities between 1930 and 1935, the school was closed
permanently in 1937.
In 1957 the College of Sister Formation was established at Seattle University in response to a
growing need for certification and higher levels of education for women religious. In 1961 a
separate campus was created at Providence Heights in Issaquah by the Sisters of Providence.
The College of Sister Formation program at Providence Heights offered liberal arts degrees to
women religious as an institutional branch of Seattle University. The College had its own
faculty and facilities, but the degrees were granted by Seattle University.
The Sister Formation program illustrated the mid-century trend of women religious pursuing
higher education in increased numbers and growth in the professionalization of teaching, health
care, and social work undertaken by religious institutes.
In 1931, Bishop Edward J. O’Dea achieved his long-standing goal of establishing a seminary in
the Diocese of Seattle. St. Edward Minor Seminary was situated on a large property on Lake
Washington. Priests of the Society of St. Sulpice staffed the seminary, fulfilling their
charism as teachers of diocesan seminarians. Major seminary classes were added in 1935. The
first class of 12 men was ordained in June 1939. In 1958, with the opening of St. Thomas the
Apostle Seminary, St. Edward’s resumed its status as a minor seminary exclusively. St. Edward’s
closed in 1976 and was sold to the State of Washington in 1977. It is now St. Edward’s State
In an article for The Catholic Northwest Progress, the Rev. Vincent M. Conway, S.J. wrote the
following about St. Martin's College in Lacey: "Indirectly, St. Martin's began 60 years ago
when German-speaking Catholics of Tacoma asked the Bishop for a Benedictine pastor. In response
to the Bishop's invitation and after a preliminary investigation by Abbot Bernard Locnikar of St.
John's Abbey, Father William Eversman, O.S.B., was sent to Tacoma as pastor of Holy Rosary. On
August 14, 1892, Father WolfgangSteinkogler, O.B.S., [sic], was appointed as his assistant and
instructed by Abbot Bernard to locate a spot in Washington suitable for the erection of a
Monastery and College.
In 1895, 570 acres were purchased, and construction was started on what was later to become the
Monastery, College, and High School of St. Martin of Tours at Lacey. In September, 1895, classes
began for one boy, Angus McDonald of Shelton.
In 1904 St. Martin's was raised to the dignity of a canonically independent Priory, and in 1914 it
was further advanced to the status of an Abbey.
From 1895 to 1923 St. Martin's grew steadily. Each year there were additional students and faculty
members and more buildings were erected. Today St. Martin's has well over 450 students in its
college and more than 150 students in the high school. Under its five presidents the college has
constantly improved. Today the president is the Rev. Abbot Raphael Heider, O.S.B.
St. Thomas the Apostle Seminary was established in 1958 by Archbishop Thomas A. Connolly, in
response to the growing number of students entering St. Edward's Seminary. It was located a
quarter mile east of St. Edward’s, on the 350-acre Lake Washington campus. Designed by architect
John Maloney, St. Thomas’ served as the major seminary for the Pacific Northwest. In 1977, St.
Thomas' Seminary was closed due to a decline in enrollment. The St. Edward campus is now St.
Edward’s State Park, and the St. Thomas facility is now owned by Bastyr University.