Our History

A History of Immaculate Conception School

The story of Immaculate Conception School begins in August of 1887 when Archbishop Gibbons appointed Reverend Matthew O’Keefe the pastor of what was then St. Francis (now Immaculate Conception) Church. Father O’Keefe had been stationed in Norfolk, Virginia before arriving in Towson. He was by no means a young man. Though in his sixtieth year he had the zeal, fervor and drive that we usually seek in men of lesser years. He was a visionary who labored to build a Church large enough to supply the needs of the fast-growing population of Towson. He quickly realized that a Catholic school was first in the order of importance. Undaunted by the fact that he had neither the building, the teachers, nor the funds; he announced that the school would be ready in September of the same year. He was successful in procuring two teaching Sisters from the School Sisters of Notre Dame. The Church basement was transformed into two classrooms and on September 19, 1887, and St. Francis school opened with an enrollment of 15 pupils. Interest in the school grew and by the end of the year 46 pupils were arriving daily.

When the Church and School changed their names from St. Francis to Immaculate Conception? The parish was established in 1886 under the patronage of St. Francis and so remained until the erection and dedication of the new Church, which received its new title from Father O’Keefe himself. Father O’Keefe had a great devotion to Our Blessed Mother. The Church is almost an exact copy of the Church in Norfolk, Va. of which he had been pastor. When that Church burned down in 1856, the only item to survive the blaze was a statue of the Blessed Mother. Father O’Keefe rebuilt the Church and named it St. Mary’s of the Immaculate Conception. When his new Church in Towson was dedicated, he named it and the school Immaculate Conception.

Father O’Keefe died in 1906. His successor, Father Sheridan was keenly interested in education and was deeply concerned about the parish school. Realizing the need for a new and larger grade school, he laid his plans accordingly. Fundraisers were organized and support was rallied. Father Sheridan built a new school. On November 5, 1922 the new school building was dedicated by Archbishop Curley. The school building was expanded to twice its size in 1929 and enjoyed a third modest expansion which took place in the late 1940’s. The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia assumed charge of the school in August of 1926 and have remained an integral part of the school to this day.

To know the Word of God, to live the Word of God, to preach the Word, to teach the Word, is the sum of all wisdom, the heart of all Christian service.

Charles E. Fuller