Reflecting On Our Past, Focused On Our Future
Morning Star Schools were founded in Florida by the Sisters of St. Joseph of St. Augustine in 1956 at the request of Archbishop Joseph P. Hurley. Archbishop Hurley wished to provide a Catholic education for students who were physically handicapped. When Morning Star School was first opened in the Riverside section of Jacksonville, the school operated as an agency of Catholic Charities and was staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph. In 1968, the student population outgrew its Riverside facilities and moved to its present location in Arlington. In the 1980’s as enrollment continued to increase, it was determined that the greater need was to provide an appropriate educational environment for children with specific learning differences. Today, Morning Star School continues to thrive and evolve. Our latest endeavor, and greatest need, was to offer a high school program for our students. As of 2017 the school now serves K – 12 grades. Click HERE for more information about our new High School and the “Building A Brighter Future” capital campaign.
Sisters of St. Joseph celebrate 150 years!
“We are thankful to have a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph working at our school. Sister Elise Kennedy is the smiling face behind the office desk and the voice you hear when you call our school. A teacher for 22 years and a principal at St. Pius School for 27 years, Sister Elise is now a member of the Morning Star family. Sister Elise attended St. Paul’s School (Riverside) and Bishop Kenny. She is proud of the fact that she volunteered at Morning Star as a high school student when it was located at St. Paul’s.
2016 marks 150 years of apostolic ministry for the Sisters of St. Joseph. These amazing women have served faithfully in the mission fields of Florida in many capacities, with education always in the main focus since arriving in the United States. Their Mission “that all may be one” (John 17:21) launched Morning Star Schools. The Sisters of St. Joseph trace their origins to LePuy, France, where the Jesuit priest, Jean-Pierre Medaille, founded the order in 1650. In 1866, eight sisters volunteered to travel to St. Augustine in answer to the call of Augustin Verot, then Bishop of Savannah, who had written to the sisters in his hometown of LePuy. Verot wanted the Sisters to come to Florida to teach the children of the recently freed slaves. “The Sisters of St. Joseph of St. Augustine came to the shores of Florida with the singular mission of educating and catechizing 10,000 African American children freed from slavery,” said Most Rev. Felipe Estevez, Bishop of St. Augustine. “Since that time their service has expanded to 66 unique missions throughout the state. They have served in 52 elementary schools, six high schools, one college, four hospitals, three homes for children, two nursing homes, two homes for developmentally disabled adults and a home for unwed mothers.
As we reflect on the past, live in the present, and look to the future, Morning Star School will continue to fulfill the legacy the Sisters of St. Joseph started so long ago.
“It has nothing to do with how intelligent you are. You can be extremely bright and still have dyslexia. You just have to understand how you learn and how you process information. When you know that, you can overcome a lot of the obstacles that come with dyslexia. When you figure out how you learn, you can accomplish whatever you want.”