Blessings are often born from trials and tribulations. Such was the case when in 1935, Texas received the gift of St. John Bosco's educational philosophy through a small group of courageous Salesian Sisters fleeing violence and religious persecution in Mexico. These Sisters were determined to make a difference and live the dream of Saint John Bosco and Saint Mary Mazzarello, transmitting the joy of learning and loving one another according to St. John Bosco's Preventive System of Reason, Religion and Loving Kindness.
Sr. Margaret Moreno and Sr. Guadalupe Segura were the first two Salesian Sisters to come to Laredo in search of a suitable location for a community to continue St. John Bosco's dream in the grand state of Texas. Soon enough they found living quarters in downtown Laredo. They were joined by Sr. Mercedes Romo And Sr. Bonifacia Galindo to establish the new house in Laredo in February, 1935 at 1514 Hidalgo St. The street of Laredo soon became familiar with Salesian holiness. Little did the Sisters realize how much of an impact their presence and zeal for souls would be upon the growing, little border town of Laredo. Early on, everyone came to know, love and cherish the Salesian way of life.
The work of the Sisters, which officially began on March 9, 1935 soon outgrew the four small rooms in the house on Hidalgo St. One room served as a chapel containing an altar and four chairs. The second room was the kindergarten and the other room was used for classes of sewing, painting, and embroidery while fourth room served as the Sisters' quarters. "Not being about to continue in the house of Hidalgo St., we moved to 1717 Houston St." stated a simple, historical entry in the house chronicle on October 7, 1935.
The house on Houston St. became the first Mary Help of Christians School in Laredo. This house provided far more accommodations and much needed space for increased enrollment. Joyful adaption became the order of the day. The school on Houston St. began on October 1st with five girls from Zapata, and one from Laredo. Soon the Sisters would outgrow even the house on Houston St.
The Sisters eagerly took on more resident and day students and spread out to neighboring parishes teaching catechism and giving the children opportunities with the traditional, Salesian youth oratory of fun, games and catechism. Soon it was time to think of moving their work to a larger space. That's with Divine Providence brought the Sisters into contact with a great benefactor, Mr. Trautmann, who donated the property at the current location of Del Mar Blvd. There was now plenty of property for a campus that would meet the growing needs of those desiring a Salesian, Catholic education.
By 1963, the new school at the Del Mar Boulevard location was ready for occupancy. The Salesian Sisters and children thrived in the wide open space. Everyone was eager to do their part to assist the youth in becoming effective, productive, honest citizens of Laredo, putting them on the path to their true home, heaven.
It didn't take long for MHCS to become well known for excellent education and Salesian youth spirituality, standing out as the school of excellence in Laredo. Hardworking parents, dedicated teachers and benefactors fundraised tirelessly so that needed funds could add on a library, and early education center, a science laboratory, cafeteria, gymnasium, swimming pool and chapel. Fundraising continued, adding much needed classrooms to reach out to many more families seeking a Catholic education.
Mary Help of Christians School has received full accreditation from TEA and continues to maintain this status throughout the years. Today, enrollment is a 430. In addition to the immeasurable value of the process of accreditation, key faculty, staff and volunteer professionals are engaged in a planning process to establish long-range strategies and initiatives for MHCS, especially in the wake of scholarship opportunities coming to an end.
Humble seeds were sown on fertile ground, taking deep root. In spite of the challenges facing Catholic schools today, the strength of MHCS continues to be its ability to respond to the needs of the whole person, the Church in a time of transition, and the world with a global perspective for a peaceful and sustainable future. It is our desire to continue the dream of St. John Bosco by being a viable source of Catholic education for the youth of Laredo for many years to come; in the words of St. John Bosco, "good Christians and upright citizens, empowering them with a joyful vision and hope for a better world,"--
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