The Little Flower community had its beginning in 1906 with its establishment as a mission of Our Lady of Victory Church. The location chosen for the new mission was Glen Echo, Maryland, and the site of a popular Chautauqua community, which had been established there in the 1890s.
The mission consisted of a small white chapel building located on Vassar Circle and was one of the first in the world dedicated to St. Therese of Lisieux, the French Carmelite nun, who had died only nine years earlier. Therese had called herself "God’s Little Flower," and the mission was placed under her patronage using this name.
Despite the fact that there was no school at the chapel, the desire for Catholic education was strong among the founding families. By the 1940s some Little Flower children were attending St. Ann School at Tenley Circle, and after 1948, a number traveled by bus to St. Stephen, Martyr School in Washington.
In 1948 the mission had grown sufficiently to warrant its incorporation as a separate parish, and Monsignor Edward J. O’Brien was named its first pastor. Four years later the archdiocese purchased the present site on Massachusetts Avenue, and plans to build a school, temporary church, and convent were begun immediately.
Unfortunately the school building was not completed in time for the opening of school in September 1953. For the first few months, classes were conducted first in the old Glen Echo Fire House on what is now MacArthur Boulevard and some time later on the first floor of the convent.
In a December ceremony, the pastor led the students in procession to the new school building, which opened its doors to 260 children in grades one through six with plans to add grades seven and eight over the next two years. The Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary from Scranton, Pennsylvania, who have staffed the school since its inception, agreed to send four sisters to provide the nucleus of the original faculty and included Sister Maria James, the first principal, and Sisters Marcelia, St. Patrick and Josanna.
The original school plant grew with the burgeoning population of its first 10 years and four classrooms were added in 1958. By 1961, Little Flower School had an enrollment of just over 800 students but the establishment of schools at St. Bartholomew and Our Lady of Mercy parishes considerably reduced the school census by the end of the decade. With this the school once again settled into a principally neighborhood parish school with two tracks and an enrollment of about 500 students.
The last three decades of the century brought significant changes to the composition of the student body, the curriculum, and the school plant. Reflecting the changing demographics of the area, the school population declined significantly so that it returned to its original vision of one track. This change made possible extensive renovations within the school building, the construction of a gym, the addition of a school library, science lab, and rooms for small group instruction. Foreign languages and computer education were added to enhance the already extensive curriculum. With the addition of Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten classes the number of grades in the school expanded to 10. An after-care program was added to meet the changing needs of school families.
Little Flower School continues to be a vital part of the life of the parish and community. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on School Accreditation and School Improvement - AdvancED and is recognized nationally as a Blue Ribbon School. It has an enrollment of about 270 students, strong parent involvement, and a bright future for continued academic excellence in a caring community built on respect and responsibility.
Looking closely at the logo, it appears that the cross is the central or focal point. It dominates as it did in Therese’s life.
Her great love for God transformed her suffering giving it a redemptive quality that won eternal life for her.
This extraordinary love for God led her to promise to spend her eternity doing good on the earth.
St. Therese is always depicted with a cross and a bouquet of roses.
- The cross symbolizes the most profound act of love in human history.
- The rose speaks to her words of letting a shower of roses fall to the earth.
- The circle symbolizes God’s promise of eternal life and His unending love for us.
to be a vital part
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The school is
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nationally as a
Blue Ribbon School.