The Sisters of the Divine Compassion Tradition

The congregation was founded in the late 19th century by Mary Caroline Dannat Starr and Msgr. Thomas Preston.

The congregation began as women gathered together to “do something" about the plight of the children of New York’s poor. The group provided shelter, training and religious education to girls left to fend for themselves or sent by their families into the street to beg. Most importantly, the women provided safety, love and hope. Over time Mary and Msgr. Preston recognized that the future of this work depended on the stability of the organization that provided it, and so, the Sisters of the Divine Compassion came into being. Mary Starr became Mother Mary Veronica. The first ministry of the little congregation was at the House of the Holy Family on Second Avenue in Manhattan.

In the 1920’s the Sisters of the Divine Compassion were invited to staff some seven parish schools and at the same time were establishing a residence and vocational training school, the House of the Holy Family, on the site of the Huntington mansion in the Bronx, and developing both a private high school, Our Lady of Good Counsel Academy, and a woman’s college, Good Counsel College, in White Plains.

Over the years, the congregation transformed the House of the Holy Family into a second high school for young women, Preston High School, and served as educators in over 25 parishes in Manhattan, the Bronx, Westchester and Putnam counties.

For more information on the Sisters of the Divine Compassion and their ministries, please see