In the early 1950’s Cardinal McIntyre responded to the need of his flock in the Los Angeles Archdiocese for church-sponsored schools by strongly encouraging parishes to begin elementary schools.
There was no room for a school building near the church at 20th Street and Pasadena Avenue. A tract of six lots at 25th Street and Pacific Avenue was purchased in February, 1956, for $85,000.00 by Father John O’Brien, the pastor.
The formal drive to financially cover the undertaking began in April of 1958, in the form of pledges. On September 15, 1958, the doors of Holy Innocents School opened and classes began for grades one through five. One grade was added each successive year, and by 1962, eight classes were in use. The first graduation from the eighth grade was held in June of 1963.
In August of 1958, the rectory at 425 East 20th Street was converted into a temporary convent for the Carmelite Sisters as they guided the new school through its birth pangs. Sister Arcelia, O.C.D., was principal, and Sister Consuelo, Sister Liguori, and Sister Bernadette served as teachers. A convent was built for the sisters in 1959.
Cardinal McIntyre authorized Father Edward Sexton to build a school hall in 1966. Completed in 1967, it continues to be an integral part of the parish and the school.
Father Michael Gleeson, pastor from 1989 to 1994, ordered the construction of a new Kindergarten building in 1990.
The Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles have staffed and administered the school since it opened in 1958.
“Before you speak to the children about God, speak to God about the children.”
-Mother Luisita, Foundress of the Carmelite Sisters