Sacred Heart Heritage

Why entrust your daughter to a Sacred Heart School?

The Society of the Sacred Heart has been educating girls and young women for more than 200 years, since Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat founded the order in 1800 “for the sake of one child.” At Duchesne, we draw upon the full force and range of our Sacred Heart heritage to help our girls form wise hearts and sharp minds.

Our curriculum, our culture, and our worldview connect with and promote the Sacred Heart Goals and Criteria. Our single-sex education ensures that our classes and community offer the support, challenges, and freedom that help girls forge dynamic lives.

Sacred Heart Goals and Criteria

As a member of the Network of Sacred Heart Schools, we are committed to educate students to:

A personal and active faith in God.


A deep respect for intellectual values.


A social awareness which impels to action.


The building of community as a Christian value.


Personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom.

So why do we measure everything against the Goals? Because they are the most recent formulation of Saint Madeleine Sophie's – our founder –philosophy of education. They express the heart and soul of what she meant to do in all her schools, which she understood more as homes that nurtured rather than institutions. Sophie Barat envisioned an education that was serious in studies, rich in relationships, and deeply rooted in faith and service – all in an atmosphere which took each student seriously and fostered her growth as an individual in community. In today’s language, we speak of five goals. They are meant to express five aspects of an integrated life: a lively faith, which continues to develop as we grow; lifelong learning and using that knowledge to serve others; an awareness of the needs of an increasingly globally connected world and a desire to serve it; a realization that we are made to live in community; and a commitment to continue to grow humanly, acknowledging our journey to learn from our strengths and weaknesses to grow into wholeness. The Goals are a life, not only for students, but for all of us in a Sacred Heart school. They’re a journey, and if internalized, they become a program for wholeness, just as Sophie intended. We are not meant to live for ourselves, but for God and for others.
Sharon Karam, RSCJ

Our History

In September 1960, Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart opened our doors to the first 52 girls on what had been the 15-acre Bering family estate. Purchased by the Religious of the Sacred Heart, the property included the "White House," a colonial home built in 1937, which housed the entire school. It also had a log cabin built completely with logs from the property, an oval swimming pool, and a second home— "the Cottage"— where the Religious lived. The property was heavily wooded and contained large areas of azaleas.

The next 50 years brought many adaptations and evolutions, always to provide our students with a singular institution that both retains its character and sets the standard in academics and facilities. The extension of Chimney Rock Road resulted in the loss of some of our original acreage but also introduced the opportunity to reevaluate our land and building usage. In the mid-1990s, A new White House was constructed along with a new Lower School building and the beautiful Burguières Chapel of the Sacred Heart. Today, the original number of 52 students has grown to more than 700, and the initial three grades of seven, eight, and nine have expanded to encompass our pre-kindergarten through grade 12 continuum.

While Duchesne still boasts of a tranquil campus and a sense of seclusion in the Memorial area, it is now a dynamic presence of 21st-century learning firmly rooted in our 200-year-old Sacred Heart values.