Our History

Old Saint Hilary

Old St. Hilary was originally built as a mission church named for St. Hilaire, Bishop of Poitiers. In 1888, the Archdiocese of San Francisco established the church as a place of worship for local railroad workers. As the Saint Hilary community grew, so did the need for larger facilities. In 1954, parishioners built a new church at our current site on Hilary Drive.

Saint Hilary School Established in 1963

As the Saint Hilary community grew, so did the need for larger facilities. In 1954, parishioners built a new church on our current site. As the new Saint Hilary Church was completed, there was a strong need for a parish school. Father Forristal, pastor of Saint Hilary Church at the time, invited the Sisters of the Holy Faith to help establish the parish’s school. To answer the call, four Sisters of the Holy Faith came to Saint Hilary to start the school: Sister Mary Athanasius, Sister Johanna Corby (Mary Giovanni), Sister Maura Flynn (Mary Gerard Majella) and Sister Joanne Tierney (Mary Columban). As the first school principal, Sister Mary Athanasius split her time between teaching 3rd grade students and attending to school administrative duties. That first year, there were 93 students in four classes: Grades 1-4. The school grew each year, adding one new class until it was a full elementary school. The legacy rich in Catholic tradition and academic excellence passed on from the Sisters remains strong today.

The Sisters of Holy Faith

  • The Sisters of the Holy Faith were founded in Dublin, Ireland in 1867 by Margaret Aylward under the direction of Rev. John Gowan, C.M.
  • The order was established at a time of political and religious oppression and intense hardship following the Great Famine. Margaret Aylward sought to preserve the gift of faith, particularly in the destitute child, and to educate the poor in order to have fulfillment in life.
  • Saint Brigid’s Orphanage in Dublin, Ireland was founded by Margaret Aylward as she had a profound appreciation of family life, pioneering fosterage for Catholic orphans in a loving home atmosphere. The orphanage served as a long-term family care system, a novel concept at the time.
  • Outside of the orphanage, Margaret Aylward took an active role to seek out appropriate families in the countryside for the orphan children. She traveled the country looking for suitable homes and parents to care for children in need. This family-based foster care system continues today through the Saint Brigid’s Adoption Society.
  • Education as a Core Ministry - For many years, education was the core ministry of the Sisters of the Holy Faith. The ministry opened a number of schools in Dublin with their core principle being to educate the “whole child”. The Sisters also provided food and nourishment for the children to stay healthy and succeed in their studies.

Saint Hilary School Today

Today Saint Hilary School is a thriving school with approximately 255 students from a variety of religious and ethnic backgrounds attending Kindergarten through Grade 8. In 2004, a multi-million dollar facilities upgrade was completed, providing a gymnasium, a new Middle School, a fully equipped science lab, an upgraded library and technology center, and a dedicated art studio.

Our students learn in modern and caring educational environment reflecting a strong sense of community, spirituality, and academic excellence.