Divine Redeemer Catholic School: Our Story
On November 6, 1947, a plot of land near the eastern border of Colorado Springs was purchased by the Archdiocese of Denver. The Archdiocese intended this land to be a “Catholic Campus” containing a new church, school, and convent. The name “Divine Redeemer” was chosen. In July of 1950 Fr. Duane Theobald was appointed as the first Pastor of Divine Redeemer. Ground was broken on the church on October 1st, 1950. While the church was being built, Fr. Theobald held Mass at St. Francis Hospital and, later, the Officer’s Club at Ent Air Force Base.
Work began on the school and a church expansion in 1955. The school opened for the first time on September 7th, 1956. It was formally dedicated by Archbishop Urban Vehr on October 17th, 1956. The order of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati agreed to staff Divine Redeemer for its initial years, and Sr. Francis Assissium was the first principal. During its first year, Divine Redeemer served students in grades 1-6. Seventh and eighth grades were added in the next two school years. Divine Redeemer’s first eighth-grade class graduated in 1959 with a total size of 32 students.
The school initially was connected to the church building. The current gym, Kindergarten, and PreK classrooms were part of the church, and the school had eight classrooms (all on the east-west hallway). In 1959, Divine Redeemer completed a major expansion of the school, adding eight more classrooms on the north-south hallway as well as the current upstairs office. The convent was completed in February of 1957 and housed all of the Sisters of Charity in Colorado Springs. Sr. Maria Teresa Darcy served as Principal of Divine Redeemer from 1958-1964.
The School Expands
The reputation of Divine Redeemer as a great school quickly spread. The school soon overflowed with students, adding second sections in most grades. As the population of both school and church expanded, Fr. Theobald began plans to build a much larger church facility. Although Fr. Theobald left in 1967, his dream of a new church was accomplished in 1970 with the completion of the current church building. The old church was converted into a gymnasium and two additional classrooms. By 1973, the Sisters of Charity had left the school. In that same year, two sisters of Loretto joined the staff. For the next three decades, a number of religious sisters from various orders would be on the school staff.
Recent Years and Today
On the school's 25th birthday, the school celebrated with a Mass and parade around the neighborhood. In 1985, the school came under the jurisdiction of the newly-formed Diocese of Colorado Springs. During the 1990’s, the population of the school surged once again, and the reputation of Divine Redeemer as a strong school continued to thrive. The school also enacted a series of improvements to the school building. These improvements included carpeting the hallways and some classrooms, renovating the computer lab and library areas, updating the electrical and fire safety systems, and adding a swamp cooler system.
In 2016, the school celebrated 60 years and the Year of Mercy with a pilgrimage (on foot) to the Cathedral to walk through the Holy Doors. Parents, teachers, students, parishioners and alumni have joined together to pray in celebration of this milestone and for the future of Catholic education at Divine Redeemer.
Our current Pastor, Fr. Jason Keas, joined the Divine Redeemer community in July of 2019. In the Spring of 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we closed the doors of the school for the first time in its history. Our exceptional program continued as one of distance and e-learning.
Today, a genuine sense of optimism pervades throughout the school. We have had many accomplishments and challenges in our 60+ year history, but we know that our school continues to set the standard for Catholic education. We know that the success of Catholic education is guided by the Holy Spirit and our school’s success is because of the hard work, prayers, and dreams of our predecessors, and we remember and celebrate those who built and shaped our school.