Classes begin at Divine Savior High School at 100th St. & Capitol Dr.
When Divine Savior High School (DS) opened at 35th and Center Streets in 1926, our sisters had high hopes for its future. By 1935, Provincial leaders had purchased vacant land at 100th Street and Capitol Drive, a move Sister Margaret Bosch, SDS called “an excellent bit of foresight.”
Back then, a new high school was just part of what our sisters envisioned at 100th and Capitol. Their initial 70-acre plan also included a new motherhouse, a hospital and a nursing school. Once they decided a new hospital and nursing school were not in the best interest of the religious community, our sisters began to focus solely on building and moving into a new high school.
In the final issue of the 1950-51 school year, Divine Savior High School’s student newspaper, The Word, showed a rough sketch of the building and sparked excitement for the new plans. Beneath a sketch of the campus, a headline ran with the cry of “Westward Ho!” Likewise, student writers were thrilled that “…things are actually beginning to happen on 100th St. and Capitol Dr.”
The high school opened its doors in 1951, and the adjoining Divine Savior Community House was built in 1960.
Sr. Margaret began her career in 1951 as a young teacher in the brand new building. The move was 16 years in the making, and for Sr. Margaret, “It was a dream come true.” She taught at DS (later DSHA) for 23 years.
The move to 100th and Capitol was certainly a risk for our sisters. Their school was relatively young, and western Milwaukee was largely undeveloped. The success of Divine Savior High School (eventually Divine Savior Holy Angels) was far from certain, but our sisters relied on hard work, determination and, above all, their faith. For Sr. Margaret, “It was a new venture launched with God’s generous blessing.”
The first students at the new DS campus echoed Sr. Margaret’s excitement. “I think that the move to 100th St. meant newness, excitement and an opportunity for girls,” Sister Virginia Honish, SDS said. When buses became more accessible, teenage Virginia transferred to DS and graduated with the Class of 1955.
For the 1951-52 school year, its first at the new location, 187 young women enrolled in DS, with Sister Charline Shekleton serving as the first principal there.
Even with classes underway, there was still plenty of work to be done. The new building was not yet finished. Sr. Margaret Bosch and other dedicated sisters taught amid construction noise and debris. In her book Bending in Season, Sr. Charlene, who had returned to her baptismal name, Margaret, in the late 1960s writes, “Plaster dust permeating their long black habits, the noise of air hammers and riveters were little nuisances taken in stride.”
In an interview, Sr. Margaret Bosch spoke of the “creativity” of our sisters in those early years. The school went nearly eight years without an auditorium for sports and entertainment. But our resourceful sisters used a “make-shift gym,” as Sr. Margaret called it—an unfinished space in the basement of the new building—to put on musicals and theater productions.
For Sr. Virginia, the hard work of her teachers and fellow students is best remembered from her 1955 graduation ceremony. Sr. Virginia’s class was the first to attend all four years at the new building.
“I held back tears through most of the ceremony,” Sr. Virginia said. And though there was cause for celebration, she remembers also being “truly sad that this experience of love, friendship, excitement and opportunity was over.”
While she couldn’t have known it then, Sr. Virginia’s time at the high school wasn’t ‘over’ just yet. She returned to DSHA in 1991 and served as principal for 18 years.
She recalls being inspired by teachers like Sr. Margaret Bosch, who shaped students at all levels in her time as a teacher, counselor and vice-principal. Says Sr. Virginia, the teachers “believed in us, inspired us, and went the extra mile for all of us…I wanted to be like them for other students someday.”
Sr. Margaret credits the Salvatorian mission with the school’s success. “Our vision was to provide a well-rounded education for young women grounded in the SDS charism: to make Jesus, the Savior, better known and loved.”
Stay tuned for the launch of our Era 4 timeline, Building Collaboration, to read how DS becomes DSHA, and how nearly 70 years later, the mission lives on.
Our 125 Year Celebration
As we look back on our 125th anniversary of coming to the USA, we invite you to reminisce with us. We've launched all 5 time lines with historical milestones and stories that bring to life the experiences of our sisters who came before us.
Era 1: 1895-1920
Responding to Immigrant Needs
The missionary response of hearty immigrant women religious characterizes the first 25 years of Salvatorian Sisters’ presence in the United States ...
Era 2: 1920-1950
Expanding in an “American” Church
By 1920, life for a Salvatorian Sister in the USA was radically different than it had been 25 years earlier. World War I ....
Era 3: 1950-1970
Bob Dylan’s 1964 classic, The Times They Are A Changing, captures the high energy of this era. Change was afoot both outside and inside the Salvatorian convent walls...
Era 4: 1970-2000
Events of the mid-1960s renewed the collaborative energy that had always characterized Salvatorian life. Cloistered living ...
Era 5: 2000-2020
Searching for New Footing in a Changing World
When the new millennium arrived on January 1, 2000, Salvatorian Sisters were already five years into our second century on USA soil. Our ...