Saint Francis Academy is a private Catholic Elementary School under the auspices of the Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (formerly St. Francis Orphanage).
There came a time in the 1950’s when both Catholic Charities and the State Board if Childern’s Guardians began to place orphans in foster homes, as more conductive to child’s development, than placing children in institutions. As a result, the number of children in the orphanage decreased. Since the property deeded by Miss Sarah Kerrigan was no longer to be used for the purpose for which it was given, the Sisters visited the Bishop of Newark to determine the future use of the property. After discussion with the Bishop, it was decided to open a private elementary school for the children in the area. In September 1959, Saint Francis Academy opened its first Kindergarten. Each year an additional grade was added. The first graduation was held in June, 1968.
The Mother’s Guild established a building fund to finance the alterations neededto convert the building into a school, and to provide continuing maintenance and repairs both to school and to the convent.
Some of our pupils were children of parents who supported the orphanage throughout the years. Even today we meet parents who recall the visits of the Sisters. The spiritual influence and impact our Sisters have had on these families is immeasureable.
Our corporate witness here as a community has been sustained by the sacrifices and dedication of our Sisters, and the generosity of the poor working people of various ethnic backgrounds, some of whom still send their small donations.
With the influx of the Cubans during the early 60’s and the recents immigrants from Latin America, there is an increasing need to minister in this area. These people are unique in their appreciation and love for the Sisters and the School. They seem to have captured the true Franciscan spirit and have worked closely with the Sisters throughout the years.
Today, Saint Francis Academy is composed of a multi-ethnic families; working, praying, and struggling together to carry on the mission of the Church.
Since its founding, the school has progressed, aided by the unswerving loyalty and dedication of past Mother’s Guilds.