‘Nashville Dominicans’ to Lead St. John Paul II Catholic High School


Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia to Establish Presence in the Diocese of Phoenix

PHOENIX (March 22, 2016) — The Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, announced today that the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia will establish a community here in the Diocese of Phoenix and will lead St. John Paul II Catholic High School, which will serve the community in the far West Valley beginning in Fall 2018.

Sr. Mary Jordan Hoover, O.P., will be the first principal of St. John Paul II Catholic High School. She currently is principal of Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School in the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia. Additionally, Sr. Mary Brigid Burnham, O.P., currently the Religious Department Chair at Mount de Sales Academy in Baltimore, Maryland, and Sr. Mary Gertrude Blankenhagen, O.P., currently serving as principal of Overbrook School in Nashville, Tennessee, will establish the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia’s presence in the Diocese of Phoenix.

“I am grateful to God for the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia and their commitment to establishing a new presence here in the Diocese of Phoenix,” Bishop Olmsted said. “Their community has been committed to Catholic education and evangelizing children and their parents since their founding more than 155 years ago. We are blessed to have their contributions to the mission of the Church at St. John Paul II Catholic High School and the surrounding communities.”

The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, commonly referred to as the “Nashville Dominicans” due to their historical roots in the city dating back to 1860, are acclaimed for their expertise in Catholic education and for their academic and spiritual leadership.

In 1860, four Dominican Sisters from Ohio established a school in the Diocese of Nashville. In 1913, the Congregation of Saint Cecilia was formally affiliated with the Dominicans. Since then, the Nashville Dominicans have continued to expand, establishing schools and ministries throughout the United States, as well as in Australia, Scotland and the Netherlands. They presently serve in 43 schools, teaching more than 15,000 students.

“Our community is excited about being part of the life of the Church in the Diocese of Phoenix,” Sr. Mary Jordan said. “We look forward to meeting the people, especially the families who will one day be part of St. John Paul II Catholic High School.”

The community is invited to meet Sr. Mary Jordan at an upcoming event in celebration of St. John Paul II Catholic High School at 10 a.m., April 5. A short program featuring future high school students will include a blessing of the campus grounds by Bishop Olmsted and an unveiling of a sign marking the site of the new Catholic high school, 13720 W. Thomas Road, Avondale, AZ 85392, adjacent to St. Thomas Aquinas Parish.

“We are delighted and blessed to be welcoming the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia,” MaryBeth Mueller, superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Phoenix, said. “Students and families who are contemplating St. John Paul II Catholic High School can look forward to an environment that enriches the hearts and minds of our future leaders.”

More than 14,000 students currently attend one of the Diocese of Phoenix’s 28 Catholic elementary schools, six high schools and 28 preschools throughout the Diocese of Phoenix. Students receive a rigorous, faith-filled education that prepares them for the challenges of higher education, a competitive world and for being faithful witnesses of the Gospel of Christ. An estimated 99 percent of students graduate from high school; 97 percent go on to attend college.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix was established Dec. 2, 1969, by Pope Paul VI. Led by the Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, more than 1.1 million Catholics make this diverse, vibrant and faith-filled diocese their home.

Media Contact
Robert DeFrancesco
Director of Communications
(602) 354-2130