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History of St. Vincent de Paul School

St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School is a co-educational elementary school located in Long Beach, Mississippi established from the consolidation of St. Thomas the Apostle School in Long Beach, Mississippi and St. Paul School in Pass Christian, Mississippi. St. Vincent de Paul emerged from a long history dating back to January of 1870 when the Sisters of Mercy arrived in Pass Christian and established the Sisters of Mercy School for Girls. In 1882 the Sisters began serving both boys and girls and the school name was changed to St. Joseph Academy in 1898. In 1962 a new school building was dedicated and the Pass Christian school name was changed to St. Paul School. In 1922 the Daughters of Charity of St. Thomas the Apostle Church under the direction of the Pastor, Father Joseph Hager, C.M., opened the doors of St. Thomas School, the first Catholic school building in Long Beach. One of the first teachers was Sister Mathilde Comstock, D.C. St. Thomas was blessed with service from the Daughters of Charity until they withdrew for the school in 1986. Both the Daughters of Charity and Sisters of Mercy, well-known as teaching communities throughout the world, laid the foundation for a strong Catholic identity in the foundational teachings of the schools. This rich tradition continued until August 29, 2005 when the winds and waters of Hurricane Katrina destroyed both churches and school buildings. The Knights of Columbus, the Navy Sea Bees, teachers, parents, parishioners and volunteers from all over the country came together and reopened the school in Long Beach in nineteen days in a building purchased for St. Thomas School by the Knights of Columbus, St. Vincent de Paul Council. St. Thomas School and St. Paul School opened in the shared facility after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina as St. Thomas/St. Paul School for the remainder of the 2005-2006 school year. Bishop Thomas Rodi, Bishop of Biloxi declared the consolidation of the two schools in February of 2006. After careful consideration, the name St. Vincent de Paul was chosen in honor of the Knights of Columbus that helped to re-establish the school following Katrina. St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School became the official school name July 1, 2006.