Guyana, (formerly British Guiana) was making history in 1847 when the first Ursuline nuns arrived. The first railway on the South American continent was nearing completion in the colony. Thirteen years prior to this date, slavery had been abolished. The famous Stabroek Market was opened in 1842 and in 1844, Georgetown became a city and would be known as the capital.
Against this backdrop of on-going development, six Ursuline Religious and two postulants, (women who want to join the order), left the Ursuline Convent in Athlone, Ireland and came to British Guiana. Their families were alarmed when they heard of this dangerous undertaking and used every argument to dissuade them from going to a distant, tropical country.
The six Foundresses of the convent were Mothers Mary Bernard Perry, Mary de Sales Molony, Mary Magdalen Doyle, Mary Regis O'Brien, Superior, Mary Stanislaus Hearne and Mary Alphonsus O'Beirne. The two postulants would later be known as Sisters Mary St. Rose Tierney and Veronica Gavin. Five years later, Sister Mary Rose died at the age of twenty-five and Sister Veronica followed her six years later. These women often used the railway to Rosignol, crossing the Berbice River to New Amsterdam, where the second convent was established in 1897. Some important dates follow:
1867: On August 31, St.Rose's, a Secondary School for Girls, was opened with 4 students.
1851: St.Ann's Orphanage was established.
1869: A large three-storied school, with a dormitory for boarders, was constructed.
1925: Another three-storied structure was built to accommodate over 500 young ladies enrolled in St. Rose's. This structure abutted St.Rose?s School and contained a fine auditorium with graded floor and stage designed by Mother St. Catherine. It was the largest of its kind in Georgetown for many years. Funds were available through loans from Rome, England, and the generosity of the citizens of British Guiana.
1933: All children, regardless of religious persuasion, race, or language, were accepted at St.Rose's.
1935: The first steps to the establishment of a gymnasium began when hooks and ropes which were suspended from the ceiling, and vaulting boxes and horizontal ladders were obtained.
1941: Bicycle stands were provided for the increasing number of students who rode to school.
1941: Students and teachers were no longer required to wear stockings.
1953: The boarding school was closed and work began on a new structure to accommodate the increasing number of students requesting admission to the school.
1954: The Marian Wing was completed and officially opened on May 4.
1967: The Physics and Chemistry labs were constructed.
1969: Three additional classrooms were built above the labs.
1975: History was made when young men were accepted as students for the first time at St. Rose's.
1976: St. Rose's, and all other schools, became state controlled.
2005: Board of Governors appointed to manage St. Rose's High School.