School History & Tradition
Saint Joseph Catholic School boasts storied past
St. Joseph Catholic School dates to 1870 when the Rev. Henry A. Picherit built a temporary school consisting of two classrooms.The original enrollment was 56 students. In the fall of 1870, five members of the Sisters of Mercy arrived from Vicksburg to staff the small school, which at the time was called St. Joseph Academy.
Sister Mary Vincent Browne was the school's first principal. The enrollment increased over the years and several rooms were added to the structure. A new school was built in 1914 under the direction of the Rev. Charles A. Oliver.
In 1932 the Sisters of Mercy turned the school property over to the Diocese of Natchez. There was a great need at that time for a new building, so plans were made for a brick structure. Bishop Richard Gerow dedicated the new school in 1933.
In the summer of 1965, the school was moved from its location on Amite Street to Boling Street. A central Junior High School was created in 1989 at a site on Holly Drive, near St. Richard Church and grammar school. This newly constructed facility housed the 7th and 8th grades.
From 1996-1998, the two campuses were temporarily located at the Holly Street location during the construction of a new campus. In the fall of 1998, the middle and high school moved to 65 acres of off Mississippi 463, about a mile west of Interstate 55 in Madison, Mississippi.
The Saint Joseph Catholic School campus, under the guidance and oversight of the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, consists of eight buildings: one for administration, three for classrooms, a self-contained cafeteria, a gymnasium, a performing arts complex and a field house.
The school campus has separate football and baseball stadiums. The school administration building is home to a library and a new campus chapel. The chapel was blessed during the spring 2016 semester,
Take a virtual tour of the St. Joe campus.
Our Catholic tradition has deep roots
The goal of St. Joseph Catholic School is to graduate students who aspire in excellence and who are motivated to leadership, service and civic responsibility; who are independent thinkers informed and enriched by a challenging curriculum; who are appreciators of the visual and performing arts and the spirit of competition; who are lifelong learners adaptable to new information and technologies; and who are individuals who strive to develop the spiritual, intellectual, civic, emotional, and physical dimensions of their lives.
As dedicated Catholic educators, we realize, as did the founding faculty, that our main mission is to “fit young people for the earth without unfitting them for Heaven.”
In the tradition of the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, who sought always to fulfill the will of the Lord, we sing the “Suscipe of Mother Catherine McAuley” at our school liturgies. In this prayer we ask to become more active participants in God’s providential plan.
In the tradition of Blessed Edmund Rice, founder of the Congregation of Christian Brothers, we are encouraged to “have patience. The good seed will grow in the children later on,” and that indeed, “Providence is our inheritance.”