150th Overview

With tremendous pride and enthusiasm, the 2016-2017 school year we celebrated the founding of St. Bernard Academy by the Sisters of Mercy in September 1866. During the 2016-2017 school year, SBA honored the rich tradition of academic excellence, courage and compassion begun by six brave women 150 years ago.

During our sesquicentennial year, students, faculty, staff and alumni reflected and honored our unique history with on-campus celebrations, service projects and community events. These celebratory events inspired our community, strengthened relationships between graduates of the former SBA high school and our current elementary school, and showed our deep gratitude to the Sisters of Mercy for their continued efforts to bring academic excellence and faith to the Nashville community.

Since 1866, SBA has provided students with an excellent Catholic education built on a foundation of self-discipline, compassion and a sense of responsibility for social justice. 


The Barber Family  *  The Barrett Family  *  The Carpenter Family  *  The Del Pino Family  *  The Doherty Family  *  The Ellis Family  *  The Ewald Family  *  The Freeman Family  *  The Hamilton Family  *  The Kosinski Family  *  The Laden Family  *  The Lytle Family  *  The Mallal Family  *  The Mangialardi Family  *  The Martus Family  *  The Melson Family  *  The Niswender Family  *  The Panelo Family  *  The Parks Family  *  The Rayson Family  *  The Reusch Family  *  The Rush Family  *  The Slattery Family  *  The Warren Family  *  The Wilson Family

Historical Timeline

 Mother Catherine McAuley founds the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy in Dublin. 

1866: On October 31, six Sisters of Mercy arrived in Nashville, Tennessee from Providence, Rhode Island, at the invitation of Bishop Patrick Feehan. The foundation of six sisters was led by Mother Mary Clare McMahon; they lived in the Kirkland Building and opened Saint Bernard Academy the very next day.

1905The Sisters move the school to its current location in Hillsboro Village and teach the students in the brick convent building, which now belongs to The Village Chapel

1960St. Bernard opens a new building for the high school down the hill from the convent, with the elementary school remaining in the convent

1988: Sisters of Mercy decide to close the high school and sell the convent to move to a new Mercy convent facility on Pennington Bend, with high school students moving to Father Ryan after the 1988-89 school year. Parents of the elementary school form a not-for-profit foundation and purchase the high school building. 

1989: Elementary students move into the former high school space in fall of 1989 to begin a new school year; many of the Sisters continue to teach at the elementary school.

1990: St. Bernard Academy is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

2004: Construction begins to add 10,000 square feet to the school, including the Mother McAuley Chapel, expansion of the dining hall and creation of an art classroom.

2015: Another renovation begins with a $4.2 million, 18,000-square-foot addition that adds seven classrooms, a multipurpose room, a new front of school, new administrative offices, an all-weather playground and more.

2016St. Bernard Academy begins a new school year celebrating its 150th anniversary!

$500 Sponsors

Southland Constructors
St. Matthew School

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