Sacred Heart College Lower Hutt, was founded in 1912. It was the first secondary school to be opened in the Hutt Valley and was originally sited on High Street on the property now known as Margaret Street. In 1957 the College shifted to its present location in Laings Road. In May 1980 it became the first Catholic School to be integrated. At the time the role was 600 and since then there has been a steady increase in numbers with a present roll of over 800.
Sacred Heart offers an education with a special Catholic character, and seeks, through the general school programme and in its religious instruction and observances, to exercise the right to live and teach the values of Jesus Christ as expressed in the Catholic Church. These values permeate the total daily life of the school, and involve teachers, students and parents. The whole reason for the College’s existence is that it aims to guide young people in a life of the spirit. It is hoped that in the Catholic atmosphere of the College the individual girl will become the Christian woman she is capable of being, and the Virtue and Knowledge represented by the V.K. on the College monogram will become an integral part of each student’s life.
Sacred Heart College is a "Mission Sisters" school. The College is distinguished by the traditional spirit (charism) of its founding Order, The Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions, in French, Religeuses de Notre Dame des Missions (RNDM).
The RNDM order was founded by Euphrasie Barbier (Marie of the Sacred Heart of Jesus) in France in 1861. Her particular vision was the education of young women and girls in missionary countries. The first "Mission Sisters" arrived in New Zealand in Napier in 1865 and began founding religious houses and schools. In the years since have established eight secondary schools and worked in a large number of primary schools.
The Mission Sisters are missionaries with a heart for the world. Euphrasie, received the gift of profound insight into the Divine Mission of God Trinity. She was inspired by Mary, the first missionary to take the good news of our saviour Jesus to her sister Elizabeth.
Today, RNDM sisters continue to live our Euphrasie’s vision, working principally with women and youth on the margins of society. They work in over 20 countries.
The Mission Sisters charism is shared through its three principle foundation stones: contemplation, community and mission. At Sacred Heart this charism, this traditional spirit, is shown in:
- A fostering of the contemplative dimensions of life where pursuits of human culture is related to faith in Jesus Christ.
- A special care to build up among the staff and pupils, a true community based on Gospel values of freedom and love.
- An active concern to improve the lot of those oppressed by ignorance, poverty or injustice.
- An openness to learn from other cultures and a willingness to work towards mutual understanding in the search for truth.
Up until 2000 Principals of the college were Mission Sisters:
- 1912 Sister Mary Augustine
- 1914 Sister Mary Gerard
- 1915 Sister Mary Angela
- 1920 Sister Mary Margaret of Cortona
- 1923 Sister Mary Gerard
- 1932 Sister Mary Euphrasie
- 1963 Mary Bernard Lockhart
- 1971 Sister Mary Rose Holderness
- 1980 Sister Valerie Lawson
- 2000 Miss Lisl Prendergast
- 2015 Mrs Maria Potter
1912: Sacred Heart College opens in Margaret Street, Lower Hutt with 15 students in February 1913
1957: The College moves to the current site at Laings Road, Lower Hutt with 240 students
1971: The Sisters move from Margaret Street to their new convent at Laings Road, with its 33 small rooms on the top two floors, and convent chapel. Sr Mary Rose Holderness was Principal
1980: The College integrated
1982: Library opened
1987: 75th Jubilee Celebrations
1996: Gymnasium opened by Cardinal Tom Williams
2004: Fourviere refurbished and opened by Cardinal Tom Williams
2007: Atawhai opened by Cardinal John Dew (then Bishop) on Waitangi Day
2012: Centenary celebrations and 150 years of RNDM Sisters
2013: Notre Dames des Missions Performing Arts Centre
2017: Euphrasie House strengthened and Science classrooms refurbished
2017: Mission House (previously the convent) removed
2019: Carroll O'Donovan House refurbished and opened by Father Joy Raphel