History Lesson: St. Xavier Academy


Did you know that JWU's Xavier Academic Center, located on the Downcity Campus, was originally the home of St. Xavier Academy, a boarding school and day school for girls that was opened in 1851 by the Sisters of Mercy? By 1984, the property and grounds were available for purchase and JWU, in need of more academic space and student housing to accommodate its growth, made the purchase.

Now, the university's colleges of Business and Hospitality Management are housed there, along with classrooms, faculty offices, active-learning spaces where we train students for their chosen professions such as our AdLab and Bistro 61, the Xavier residence hall, and the BRIDGE.

The Sisters of Mercy of the Americas is the largest single congregation of women religious in the US. On June 10, the Northeast Community of the Sisters of Mercy returned to JWU’s campus for a celebration of their 175th anniversary.

In Schneider Auditorium, originally added to the site in 1929, Providence Campus President Marie Bernardo-Sousa welcomed the celebrants, some of whom graduated from the Academy in the 1940s. She noted that the location holds a special place in both the university's heart and that of the Sisters of Mercy.

Photo left: Father Raymond B. Malm, retired senior priest for the Diocese of Providence, applauds as RI Secretary of State, Nellie Gorbea presents Sister Maureen Mitchell, RSM, President Northeast Community, with a proclamation.

Photo right: Seated is Mario Hilario, anchor, NBC 10, who emceed the event. President Bernardo-Sousa welcomes Sisters of Mercy.

Photo Credit: Laura Kilgus, Rhode Island Catholic