History of Saint Lucy School for Children with Visual Impairments

Saint Lucy School was founded within Saint Francis deSales Parish in 1955.  At that time, there was a high population of blind children due to the overuse of oxygen in hospitals to save the lives of premature babies, and because of the rubella epidemic.  As these children reached school age, their parents sought a program which would provide instruction in the faith as well as the special education their children needed.  Finding none available, they approached Cardinal O’Hara, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, and requested that a school be established for the education of children with visual impairments.

After much preparation, Saint Lucy School became a reality through the cooperation of Bishop McShea, pastor of St. Francis deSales, the generosity of his parishioners, and the educational guidance of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In addition, the Diocesan Director of Special Education, later Bishop Graham of Philadelphia, assumed responsibility for the direction of the school, and the Office of the Catholic Charities Appeal funded the project.

The principal and teachers at Saint Francis deSales accepted and welcomed the children with visual impairments into their classrooms. This enabled the Saint Lucy children to participate in certain instructional periods with their sighted peers. This early and successful attempt to mainstream students, that is, to have the children spend part of the day in general education classrooms, not only provided socialization for the Saint Lucy children, but also has become a model for programs attempting to serve the population with visual impairments. And so, with these factors combined with God’s constant blessings, the school opened, expanded and is still flourishing. Holy Innocent A.C.E.S is the third location for Saint Lucy School.