The story of The Academy of Our Lady of Mercy is one of devotion to acts of mercy, resilience in the face of difficulties, thoughtful adaptations to changing times, and fidelity to the core values of an enduring mission.
In 1869, the first Sisters of Mercy in Louisville arrived from their community in St. Louis to run a struggling Federal Marine Hospital. In just a few years, these capable women had transformed this institution into one of the best in the federal system. At the same time, they began a teaching ministry, starting with just a few books and a handful of willing patients. By 1872, they had established St. Catherine Academy, and in 1885, they conferred the first high school diplomas under the name of The Academy of Our Lady of Mercy. The high school program continued to grow until a new facility was needed. With great faith and effort, the Sisters opened a new Academy building at 1176 East Broadway in 1901, where it was to remain for 106 years.
The Broadway building was to undergo many changes and additions in order to serve its students and meet their needs in changing times, and the Sisters were to make many sacrifices and courageous decisions in order to do so.The education of their students as women of faith, well-educated and ready to make their way in the world on their own terms, remained their constant concern. The convent was expanded to accommodate a growing Louisville community of Sisters while the school added more space and specialized facilities to serve a growing student population and their educational program needs. This was never easy, but the Sisters and their associates, trusting always in God's loving providence, always found a way, and the Sisters were noted for their kindness and compassion, especially to the poor.
When the number of Sisters in active ministry began to decline, the Sisters reached out graciously to their lay partners, generously sharing their Mercy spirit as well as their ministry so that the work would not only continue but flourish. This collaboration resulted in improvements to the educational program, additions to the facility, and national recognition as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in 2001. Growth in enrollment led to consideration of a new campus to ensure the ministry in the years to come. With great faith and courage, the Sisters approved the acquisition of land and the development of a new campus for the Academy, which opened on 24 acres at 5801 Fegenbush Lane in 2007. Proudly sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, the Academy today is recognized as a tribute to the enduring concerns and faith of the Sisters and a leader in quality Catholic education for the 21st century.