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Tucson Tradition:
One Hundred Six Years of Education

History of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary were founded in Olot, Spain on July 1, 1848 by Rev. Dr. Joaquín Masmitjá y de Puig. He was a parish priest who was inspired by his own personal devotion to Mary and saw the need for a Congregation dedicated to education, evangelization, and prayer for the conversion of souls. Evangelization through education is the main apostolate of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In 1917, the Sisters were on their way from Mexico to California where they had already established five schools. They were fleeing the persecution during the Mexican Revolution and the persecution aimed at the Catholic Church at the time. Their journey was interrupted by Bishop Granjon who invited the Sisters to stay in Tucson, Arizona to teach at Holy Cross School, more commonly known as Santa Cruz. 


Since then, the mission of the Sisters has been to serve the children of the community. One important component to serving the needs of this community has been the incorporation of teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) into the high school curriculum as needed.

History of Immaculate Heart School

Immaculate Heart School officially opened its doors to receive children in the Diocese in 1930 in downtown Tucson. Seventeen Sisters originally staffed this historic site. In 1961 the high school in northwest Tucson which is now the town of Oro Valley.


From 1961-1970 the secondary school was known as Immaculate Heart High School, but the name was changed to Suffolk Hills Catholic High School in 1971. The high school earned accreditation from North Central Association (NCA) of Colleges and Schools in 1988 as well as the Western Catholic Educational Association (WCEA). In 1990, the name was changed back to Immaculate Heart High School, a coeducational school.  


The elementary school joined the high school at its Magee site in 1987 and the middle school building was opened in 1994. In 2009, the Preschool was developed. All schools are now joined together as Immaculate Heart School, preschool through 12th grade and are currently accredited by WCEA. The school is also a member of NCEA (National Catholic Educational Association). 


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