Rua José Maria Lisboa, 1064 - where it all started

Rua José Maria Lisboa, 1064 – where it all started

When the first Oblates of Mary Immaculate arived in São Paulo on September 15, 1945, at the invitation of Cardinal Carlos Carmelo Motta, Archbishop of São Paulo, together with their mission to work with the Brazilian people, they agreed to provide religious assistance to the English-speaking community of the city. The model of a parish from which the missionaries came was the American one: a church, rectory and school with a convent for the sisters who would teach in the school. It took two years to organize the community in the house rented on Rua José Maria Lisboa.

With the end of World War II came a great influx of American companies with many catholic families seeking a parish school like they had at home. Joseph Schaller, president of Squibb was one with five children. On December 1947, he opened his home for Sister Irene, who tutored his children until the first classes were held in the house at Rua José Maria Lisboa.

The Chapel School opened formally on March 1, 1948 with the American Franciscan Sisters who had a school in Vila Zelina, Sisters Marcelline and Irene teaching the first group of 20 students spread over six grades. Each sister taught three grads according to the educational progam used in the Diocese of Brooklin in the United States. The school day was from 8:30AM to 2:30PM with lunch hour from 11:30 to 12:30. Children Brought their own lunches and the sisters lived at Chapel School.

In the meantime, the Oblate Fathers had acquired a home at Alameda Franca, 889 as their central house for the Brazilian Mission to where the school moved 0n July 18 1948. A drive was started to build a chapel-school-residence and this was completed in 1952. Because the school was a part of the Chapel complex it soon became known as Chapel School.


The Central house of the Oblate Fathers, to where the school moved in 1950.

The Franciscan sisters taught in the school until December 28th, 1954 when the Felician Sisters arrived to become an integral part of the school during more than thirty years. The first grammar school graduation took place in 1955. Then, in 1957 the high school was opened in the basement of the original house.

Father Sheehan and then Fr. Mc Gurrin were the principals of the school. ln 1957 Sister Felicia became principal of the high school and Sister Samuel of the grammar school. There were then 165 students in the grammar school and 17 in the high school. The first high school graduation took place on June 11 1961 in the Chapei at Alameda Franca, Father Sheehan gave the talk to the graduates and Joseph Sieh as the valedictorian. It is interesting to note that the graduates went on to the following colleges in the U.S.A.: Purdue, Michigan State, Georgetown, Columbia, Villa Nova, Miami, Notre Dame, Detroit and Manhattan. ln that same year the school began to become bilingual with the introduction of Portuguese at all levels. It is interesting to note that the original 20 students had increased to 320 in 1959.

Construction of the new school beginning in 1960

Construction of the new school beginning in 1960

On September 14 1959, a campaign was started to build a new Chapel School. Committees were formed by parents and the Oblates with Rev. Edmund Leising, OMI as the honorary chairman.

On the 40,000 square meter land donated by  Mr. Joachin J. Esteve the school was built.

The first students came to the new Chapel School building on August 15th  1960 with Sister Samuel as principal and Fr. Supple as director. By February 1962, all the students had been moved to the new school building.


Blessing of school statue of Our Lady

Blessing of school statue of Our Lady

Blessing of the new Schol BUilding by Fr. Leo Deschatalets from Rome

Blessing of the new School Building by Fr. Leo Deschatalets from Rome

Some important dates in the history of Chapel School

  • 1965 Chapel becomes a National Honor Society member
  • 1966 Chapel is accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • 1970 Chapel participates in the first American schools sports tournament in Brazil  
  • 1973 Chapel buys a computer to be used by Students. At the time  UNICAMP was the only other instituin with a computer like that  
  • 1979  Chapel becomes an International Beccalaureate school
  • 1983 Chapel is officially recognized by MEC as a Brazilian school
  • 1986 The Oblates return to Chapel School
  • 1989 The Oblates reassume the control of the school in the financial and administrative areas