St. Joseph’s Academy, 1868-1952
In 1868, the Sisters of Mercy purchased a brick-and-stucco, Regency-style house with Greek revival touches in downtown Columbus. The sisters made the house suitable for use as a convent and day school, and opened St. Joseph’s Academy. As the school grew, they added a wing, doubling the size of the school. Until the turn of the century, the Sisters operated St. Joseph’s Academy as a boarding school for young ladies as well as a day school.
Holy Family School, 1952-1961
St. Anne School, 1961-2008
The school continued until 1952, when an expanding Catholic population led to the establishment of a new Catholic parish, St. Anne, and the construction of a new parochial school.
The new school was equipped with nine classrooms, accommodating more than 400 students. St. Anne Parish and school was the vision of Msgr. Herman J. Deimel, then pastor of Holy Family Parish. Until St. Anne Church was built in 1961, the school operated under the name Holy Family School, and was operated by Holy Family Parish. Msgr. Deimel served as pastor of St. Anne Church from 1961 until 1966.
In 1999, St. Anne School dedicated a new expansion of facilities. This allowed the school to offer a second class per grade – Kindergarten through 8th grade. The expansion included a fully equipped Science lab, art studio, media center, renovated kitchen and faculty dining facilities, plus a new building for administrative offices and middle school classrooms. In the early-2000s, St. Anne School was situated on 23 acres of land with St. Anne Parish and Pacelli High School. In August 2005, the school launched a Pre-Kindergarten program for 4 year olds in existing facilities.
Pacelli High School, 1958-2008
On September 2, 1958, Holy Family High School was established in Columbus, Georgia, to fill the void in local Catholic education facilities. The Most Rev. Thomas J. McDonough, then Bishop of the Diocese of Savannah, and Msgr. Deimel decided to honor the late Holy Father, Pope Pius XII, Eugenio Pacelli. Consequently, the name of the school was changed and Pacelli was born. When established in 1958, Pacelli High School was owned and operated by the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, under the direct supervision of the Bishop and Superintendent of Schools. On July 1, 1997, St. Anne Parish assumed ownership and governance of Pacelli High School.
St. Anne-Pacelli Catholic School, 2008-present
In late-Summer 2008, plans were finalized to combine St. Anne School with Pacelli High School to create one school named St. Anne-Pacelli Catholic School. The decision to combine the schools came from the recommendation of various committees and St. Anne Parish. This plan would combine the administration and faculty, to benefit the school both academically and financially. Later that year, the Viking mascot of Pacelli High School would serve as the mascot for the new school. Pacelli’s red and white were combined with St. Anne’s navy blue to serve as the new school colors. In August 2015, St. Anne-Pacelli Catholic Preschool opened. The new preschool expands Catholic education in Columbus, and the surrounding area, by starting with early childhood, ages 1 to 3.
St. Anne-Pacelli Catholic School serves as Columbus’ only Catholic school. The school is operated by St. Anne Catholic Church, under the supervision of the Diocese of Savannah.