A local college with a holy start

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This campus has a strong religious connection.

Oliver Arafelis, Staff Writer

St. Mary’s College of California is a private Catholic college located in Moraga, just about 50 miles from Fairfield. It is one of the oldest schools in the west, founded in 1863.

The history of the school, however, starts long before its founding. Saint John Baptist de LaSalle was the seventeenth century founder of the Christian Brothers, “the world’s largest Roman Catholic order dedicated to teaching” (http://tiny.cc/StMarysTradition). They started to educate the children of the working class in early San Francisco, and helped in the founding of colleges, like St. Mary’s, which are privately run by the Catholic Church.

St. Mary’s is home to nearly 4,000 students, studying within 43 majors, like Art, Biology, Dance, Accounting and Computer Science.

Many students live on campus in dorms that are called residence halls. There are 22 of them at St. Mary’s. Like most colleges, COVID-19 protocols are in place, like daily health checks and a mask mandate. As of December, only about a half-dozen students had tested positive on the campus.

While the COVID-19 experience mirrors that of most other colleges in the United States, one thing does stand out at St. Mary’s. There is a chapel on the campus, which students can use for prayers or meditation, but they sometimes have weddings or vow renewals at the facility.

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