About SHA » History


Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart was founded in 1877 by the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity. Looking beyond the common practice of limiting a girl’s schooling to domestic skills, the Sisters sought to educate young women in the humanities, arts and sciences, while providing religious instruction and developing strong moral character in their students. From the beginning, the Sisters set a standard of excellence, continually making groundbreaking innovations to meet the educational needs of their students.

The Sisters began teaching high school classes to 15 students in their convent on Washington Street in downtown Buffalo. The State Education Department of New York officially recognized the high school for young women in 1889, and issued a permanent charter of education in 1895. In 1898, Sacred Heart Academy opened a new school building on Washington Street, but within 30 years it had outgrown these quarters. The Sisters of St. Francis purchased five acres of land in Eggertsville, New York and began construction of a new campus. On May 11, 1930, the new Sacred Heart Academy opened with 230 students and 14 faculty members.

Throughout its more than 140-year history, and amid profound societal changes, Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart has remained faithful to the values of St. Francis and St. Clare, providing a balanced college preparatory education with a commitment to service for generations of young women in Western New York.  In 2016, a history museum was installed on the first floor of the building.  Through photographs and oral histories, the museum documents both the physical and programmatic changes to Sacred Heart over the years.

For more information about the Sisters of Penance and Christian Charity, please visit http://www.stellaosf.org/