Sister Maria Benedicta Bauer opened St. Catharina’s Female Academy near the shore of Lake Michigan in January of 1865.  If not for her relentless determination and drive, St. Catherine’s High School would not exist today.

Journeying to the U.S. from her native Bavaria in 1858, Benedicta was part of a vast network of Bavarian monks and nuns that built schools, parishes and other institutions in an effort to establish the German Catholic Church in America while spreading God's message through Christian education.

In 1862, Benedicta, along with Sister Maria Thomasina Ginker, established the Congregation of Saint Catherine of Siena in Racine, WI.  That organization, now known as the Racine Dominicans, remains a proud sponsor of St. Catherine’s to this day.

A lover of music who served as a teacher and choir nun in Bavaria, Benedicta dreamed of opening an “English school” when she arrived in Racine.  It was a dream she realized against tremendous odds, continuously battling economic hardship.  The Sisters of the congregation were poor, and with the Civil War raging in America, money was scarce.  Nonetheless, Benedicta spearheaded several fundraising efforts to secure the funds needed to build her academy.  

In January of 1865, St. Catharina’s Female Academy opened with 15 boarders and 47 day school students.

Over time, that Academy would flourish into St. Catherine’s, a coeducational, college preparatory school (grades 6-12) dedicated to teaching the importance of service and developing the God-given talents of every student passing through its doors.  The institution promotes diversity and respect while teaching students in accordance with the four pillars of the Dominican Order: Community, Prayer, Service and Study.

St. Catherine’s strives to develop the God-given talents inherent in every student while preparing them with the skills, faith and knowledge needed to achieve life success, and the school prides itself on the immeasurable impact over 16,000 Angel alumni have had on countless communities across the world.




  • School becomes co-ed (1924)

  • With nearly 1000 students enrolled, school goes to double sessions (1945)

  • McGuire Gym added during first renovation to original building (1947)

  • Aquin Hall, the Original Mother House across the street, is razed (1972)

  • First computer center opens in newly renovated library (1985)

  • 1:1 Apple iPad Pilot Program launched (2010)

  • Middle School students enrolled for first time in school history (2010)

  • SC celebrates 150 years of Catholic, Dominican education (2014)

  • Guardian Angels Student Mentoring Program (2016)