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History & Tradition

A Call for Hearts Larger Than the World

The foundation of a Sion Education is rooted in the charism of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Sion — building communities characterized by a threefold commitment to the Church, the Jewish people, and to a world of peace, justice and love.

Sion’s Miraculous Beginning

The Congregation of Our Lady of Sion was founded by Father Theodore Ratisbonne in 1843. He and his brother, Alphonse, were born into a well-educated Jewish family in Strasbourg, France. Theodore came to Christianity through the study of Scripture and was ordained a priest in 1830. His mentor, Louise Humann, inspired him to read, love and center his life on the Word of God. At his request, she baptized him Catholic and will be forever remembered and revered in Sion as a woman of deep faith and rare intelligence, an excellent educator, well ahead of her time. Alphonse also embraced the faith and became a Catholic priest following a vision of Mary on January 20, 1842, at St. Andrea della Fratte Church in Rome. The profound influence of this vision led the Ratisbonnes to name the newly formed congregation after The Blessed Mother, Our Lady, “Notre Dame de Sion.” Both brothers saw a particular need in the world and the Church to witness God’s faithful love of the Jewish people. By 1856, the congregation was established in Jerusalem, and by the turn of the last century, several Sion schools and orphanages throughout the world had been created as communities that welcome all faith traditions.

Sisters of Sion Move to North America

In 1892 the congregation arrived in the United States with four Sisters and by 1904 the number of Sisters had grown to sixty. Bishop Thomas Lillis invited seven Sisters of Sion to Kansas City in 1912. Two taught in the Annunciation School, and others began a French Kindergarten and gave private sewing, music and French lessons. For decades to follow, the Sisters continued managing and growing the institution, building their first school in Kansas City’s historic Hyde Park district, serving boys and girls in the elementary grades and all girls in high school. Sion celebrated a second school opening in 1962, with our prestigious all-girls high school campus In south Kansas City.

In 1990, with faith, prayers, and a pioneering spirit, the ownership of the school was transferred from the Sisters of Sion to a lay Board of Trustees, which today provides governance for both schools under the guidance and leadership of the Head of Schools, and administration, faculty, and staff at each school. From these humble beginnings, today Notre Dame de Sion Schools of Kansas City continue to flourish while embracing and growing the vision, mission, and values of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Sion for the 21st century and beyond.

Sion Schools Around the World

Notre Dame de Sion Schools of Kansas City belong to a consortium of over of nineteen Sion schools worldwide, visioned by the Ratisbonne brothers and sustained by the charism of the Sisters of Sion. Each Sion school maintains a wonderful and active relationship with the Congregation of Sion, with its own Mission and Vision leading their communities. Every Sion school maintains their deep commitment to welcome individuals of all faiths and cultures, encouraging them to realize their unique gifts and talents in a nurturing atmosphere of love and respect.
10631 Wornall Road, Kansas City, MO 64114 | P: 816‑942‑3282 | Email