Historical Corner: How Did OLP Buildings Get Their Names?

How Did OLP Buildings Get Their Names?
By Dr. Melinda Blade, Director of Mission Integration and Historian

The buildings on OLP’s campus are named for different aspects of the CSJ and Catholic Church history. Below is information pertaining to each building and the origins of the buildings’ names.


This building is named after the Sisters’ initial location in the United States: Carondelet, Missouri. Their current Mother House in the U.S. is located in nearby St. Louis.
Carondelet was named for Francisco Luis Hector, the Baron of Carondelet, and an administrator for the Spanish Empire and sovereign in the 18th century. Carondelet was an officer in the King’s army in 1762, and raised through the ranks to become the Governor of El Salvador (1789-1791), the Governor of Louisiana (1791-1797) and the President of the Real Audiencia de Quito (1799-1807).

Holy Family Event Center

This name was requested by major donor Mr. Bob Baker. The Holy Family is depicted throughout history in various pieces of art as being the ideal model for families. Our building has a statute outside the north end that was cast in bronze. The Feast Day of the Holy Family is the first Sunday after Christmas.

St. Aquinas

Our front building is named for the Patron Saint of students, St. Thomas Aquinas. St. Thomas was an Italian Dominican priest in the 13th century. He is best known for his theological opus, Summa Theologiae, also known as the Summa. He was canonized in 1323 and made a Doctor of the Church in 1567.

St. Catherine’s

There are many St. Catherine’s through Church history. The only one to be a Doctor the Church is St. Catherine of Siena, so named by Pope Paul VI in 1970. She was born in 1347 and is one of the two patron saints of Italy (the other one is St. Francis). St. Catherine was a Dominican tertiary and adhered to the philosophical scholasticism of the time. She is known for her mediation during the Avignon Papacy (also called the Babylonian Captivity), and was instrumental in returning the Seat of the Papacy to Rome.

Mother St. Catherine Beavers was the OLP principal from 1923 to 1929, during which time the building was erected. It was not unheard of for OLP buildings to be named after early OLP principals, as their names were reflective of saints’ names.

St. Cecelia’s

St. Cecelia is the patron saint of musicians, so it is fitting that the music center of OLP should be named after her. The building originally had small music rooms and pianos for individual lessons. Currently, it contains the Round Room on the second floor, dedicated to several music classes. St. Cecilia supposedly lived in Rome during the early 3rd century and was martyred for her faith. Many historians and church officials believe that she is fictional, but that her martyrdom is representative of that of the early Christian martyrs.

St. Joseph

This building was named for the Sisters and our patron Saint, the foster father of Jesus. He is the patron saint of workers and the sick, and watches over those dying so that they have a happy death. In 1870, Pope Pius IX named him as the Proctor of the Catholic Church. His Feast Day is celebrated on March 19 and on May 1 as the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. San Diego Bishop Francis Furey dedicated OLP’s building. After he blessed the building, he blessed the crosses and American flags that were placed in each room of the new building.

St. Margaret’s (Qualiato) (pictured above)

There are a number of Catholic saints named Margaret. St. Margaret of Antioch is revered as St. Marina in the Greek Orthodox Church. Her Feast Day is July 17 in the Greek Orthodox Church and July 20 in the Latin Church. St. Margaret of Cortona was member of the Third Order of the Franciscans and lived in the 13th century. She was known for her piety and was canonized in 1728. Her Feast Day is May 16. St. Margaret of Scotland was married to the Scottish King, Malcolm III. She was known for her acts of piety and her constancy in her prayer. Innocent IV canonized her in 1250.

OLP’s St. Margaret’s was built while Mother St. Catherine Beavers was the Principal. It is not certain for which St. Margaret our building was named. In 1996, the building was renovated and renamed Qualiato. This name is the maiden name of the major donor for the building, who named it in honor of her parents.

Did you know?
The courtyard outside the library used to be a junior use privilege; hence, it was called Junior Patio.

Read next month’s historical corner here.