Houston was founded in 1836 when the Allen Brothers landed on the banks of the Buffalo Bayou about a mile northwest of where Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and School community is presently located. In 1911, with the onset of political unrest in Mexico, Houston saw a great influx of Mexican nationals seeking refuge. With a sudden wave of Mexican Catholics drawn to this community, it became necessary for the sacraments to be given in Spanish. In 1912, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate were asked to start the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, named after the Patron Saint of Mexico. This gave the new population a sense of stability and faith in the community that was lacking in their native land of Mexico. The first mass was celebrated by Father Robert Chatillon on August 18, 1912. On September 8, 1912, Our Lady of Guadalupe School opened its doors to 50 pupils. The Church and school shared a two-story building erected earlier that very same year with the Church on the top floor and the school on the bottom. It is the oldest Catholic grade school in Houston that is still in operation.
The Sisters of the Divine Providence (CDP) took the responsibility of teaching the students, making sacrifices as they commuted from the already established Immaculate Conception School. They offered a free education and took no pay in the early years and had a presence in the school for 87 years. Their inspiration of trust and humility in the Divine Providence has imprinted itself indelibly upon the history and spirit of the school. After their withdrawal from the school, Bishop Morkovsky asked the Dominican Sisters to administer the school for a temporary amount of time, which they did for 5 years. During that time, several Religious of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ) from Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart began teaching as volunteers and eventually full time as teachers. In 1983, the RSCJ took over the administration of the school and thus begun the ties that bind with the RSCJ community that still continue today.
In 1948, the present two-story fireproof building was completed under the supervision of Father Agapito Santos. During his pastorate, Father Santos oversaw the construction of the gymnasium in 1952, and the construction of the convent for the Sisters in 1954. In 1985, individual air-conditioning units were purchased for each of the classrooms. 33 years later in 1995, the gym was renovated to include a cafeteria wing that still serves the community while the habitat for the Sisters now is home to the Parish office. Following the renovation, a playground was installed immediately next to the school building.
Over the course of the last 20 years, the school acquired Eagle Field, an overgrown piece of land which parents and friends of the school cleared for the children. Following this, the Archdiocese allowed the school to take over the small house formerly used by Catholic Charities. This building is currently used for Art and Music classes. The grotto of Our Lady of Guadalupe was built in 2000, followed by the acquisition of the land currently used for the parking lots. Hurricane Ike in the Fall of 2008, proved devastating for the city of Houston. Although the building incurred water damage, the strength of this building held. Many of our families, however, lost jobs and homes. Four years ago, the covered area, allowing for movement between buildings during inclement weather, was completed. A new roof and tuck pointing and sealing of the 1948 school building is scheduled to be completed this summer.
Our Lady of Guadalupe School continues to educate the population it was intended, which is anyone who wishes an affordable Catholic education. Graduates continue to distinguish themselves in high school and college which encourages present students to strive for success. The dedicated faculty and staff continue to set high standards for academic achievements and continually incorporate the best in proven techniques and materials into the curriculum. Our Lady of Guadalupe School still upholds the same values and goals as the Sisters did in 1912, showing love and respect for each other continually looking for guidance upon the love and protection of our patroness. It celebrated its 100 years of service to students in the Houston area in September of 2012.
In 2013, the building known as La Casita was converted into an Early Childhood Center and renamed “La Escuelita.” This conversion allowed for the addition of a Pre-Kindergarten for 3 year olds.