St. Mary’s Chinese Mission School celebrates 100th anniversary

By Mary Powers

St. Mary’s Chinese Mission School marked their 100th anniversary on March 5 with Mass celebrated by Archbishop Cordileone and a luncheon with alumni.

Founded at Old St. Mary’s Cathedral, the school was built in 1921 to provide educational access and opportunities to the Chinese community who, at the time, were facing segregation in the public school system. The Chinese Language School was also established to help preserve Chinese culture and traditions.

In his homily, Archbishop Cordileone thanked the Paulist Fathers and many religious sisters for their work at Old St. Mary’s, the Mission School, and the Chinese Language School. He also congratulated the school community on their anniversary and their work in serving the Chinese community in San Francisco.

“More than 100 years ago, [the Paulist Fathers] founded St. Mary’s School with assistance from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange – not just to impart knowledge, but to educate the whole person on Christian values and a lively sense of faith,” said Archbishop Cordileone.

The Archbishop also recognized two prominent visionaries: Dr. Chu Chew Shong for his work in founding the Chinese Language School, which helped young people preserve both their culture and faith tradition; and Mrs. Bertha Welch, whose generous monetary gift made possible a permanent home for St. Mary’s Chinese Mission. 

Following Mass, attendees enjoyed a reception in the hall with a performance by the Chinese Drill Team from the Chinese Mission School and a luncheon celebration at Harborview Restaurant with more than 200 alumni and supporters of St. Mary’s.

Photos by Dennis Callahan and Derek Gaskin, Archdiocese of San Francisco.