In 1800, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat founded the Society of the Sacred Heart, a religious order dedicated to teaching. One of her educational goals was to counteract the emphasis on reason alone promulgated by the French Revolution in the late 18th century. She wished to educate women to be not only skilled intellectually, but spiritually and morally as well. She believed that educated women could influence and transform society.
By the early part of the 19th century, there were Sacred Heart schools in Europe. The Society of the Sacred Heart was asked to bring its mission to North America. St. Philippine Duchesne came to the United States in 1818, establishing foundations first in St. Charles, Missouri, the first free school west of the Mississippi, and then throughout the Mississippi Valley.
In 1841, the Society began its work in New York City, and in 1848, the direct ancestor of our school at Greenwich was established in lower Manhattan. In 1855, the School had expanded so greatly that a new building was constructed at West 17th Street. Continual growth of the School and of the City necessitated a move in 1905 to a larger property, "Maplehurst," in the Bronx, located near where the George Washington Bridge is today.
In 1945, the School opened at Greenwich, on the former Friendship Estate in the northwest corner of Greenwich. Since then, the School has continued its long tradition of educating women to learn and to lead.