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San Domenico ‘will no longer be Catholic,’ sisters announce

November 16, 2017
Catholic San Francisco

The Dominican Sisters of San Rafael have determined that San Domenico School in San Anselmo “will no longer be a Catholic school, and will not be recognized by the Archdiocese of San Francisco as such.”

The sisters made the announcement Nov. 13, noting that during the past several months the community’s leadership team “has prayed, reflected, studied, and consulted on the best way forward for San Domenico School’s accreditation.”

Founded by the sisters in 1850, the school will no longer be accredited by the Western Catholic Educational Association but will remain an independent school with accreditation by the California Association of Independent Schools and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the sisters announced. The school will continue to be a member of the National Association of Independent Schools.

“San Domenico School has, and will continue to honor, its Catholic and Dominican heritage,” the sisters said. “The Dominican Sisters and San Domenico School are deeply committed to remaining in relationship with one another and to the mission of the school. The sisters also explained their decision to San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and remain deeply committed to their relationship with the archdiocese.

“While this decision was a difficult one for us to make, we feel confident it is the right one at this time for the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael and San Domenico School,” the sisters said.

An Aug. 24 story in the Marin Independent Journal reporting the concerns of some school parents over the school’s decision to reduce the Catholic statuary on campus sparked international media attention and debate over the school’s Catholic identity.

The decision to remove some statues before the start of this school year reflected the school’s strategic plan to become “more inclusive” to a largely non-Catholic student body.

The school includes “families of many faiths including Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, etc., as well as families who do not follow any particular faith but appreciate the value of discovering a sense of the sacred in its many manifestations.”

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