Beginnings of the Parish
Holy Redeemer was formed in 1886 when 45 families of the Webster Groves area petitioned Archbishop P.R. Kenrick to organize a new parish in their locality. Approval was given and a lot purchased for the proposed church and rectory on the southwest corner of Lockwood and Selma Avenues. Reverend Cornelius O’Leary, a controversial and outspoken social reformer who had been pastor in DeSoto, MO was appointed the first pastor. In 1897 a new stone church, located at the corner of Lockwood and Joy Avenues, was completed and dedicated.
Beginnings of the School
In September 1898, Loretto Academy opened a school for young ladies and for girls in elementary grades. A parish school for boys, taught by the Sisters of Loretto opened in the old church. Enrollment, 25 pupils. In the autumn of 1901 a new school room was erected at the rear of the former church. By 1904 the enrollment was 40 pupils with two rooms operating. In 1907 there were eight grades and the enrollment had climbed to 66 pupils. In 1909 the sisters of Loretto withdrew and the Dominican Sisters of Sparkhill, NY took over and brought the school from its humble beginnings to its present position.
A New School Building
In 1909 a contract for building the new school was awarded to the Wright-Gallagher Construction Company, to cost about $40,000. On September 6, 1910 the new school opened with Archbishop Glennon, the Mayor of Webster Groves assisting at the opening. At the October Parish Mission the statue of Our Holy Redeemer was erected on the front of the school, purchased with money raised from raffles, plays and bazaars put on by the students. Only four classrooms were needed, so the Sister occupied the unused rooms on one side of the first floor. By 1916 enrollment was up to 150 pupils.