When OLA Catholic School opened in 1951, it was staffed by the Sisters of Mercy. The Sisters remained the guiding force for the school until 1988, when Sr. Judith Diane McGowan, principal for more than ten years, left to teach in Birmingham, Alabama.

OLA has a strong tradition of service to others, a legacy from the Sisters of Mercy.

Sisters of Mercy respond to a call to serve persons in need and to follow the example of Jesus Christ in his compassion for suffering people. In addition to the three vows (poverty, chastity and obedience) all Catholic sisters take, the Sisters of Mercy also take a fourth vow of service to persons who are poor, sick and uneducated.

The Mercy Cross, a visible representation of the Sisters of Mercy, is prevalent throughout the school.

The “cross within a cross” design depicts how Sisters of Mercy founder Catherine McAuley was inspired by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and her commitment to symbolically place herself on the cross in solidarity with those who suffer in our world. The joy and compassion of life as a Sister of Mercy is captured in the  outer free-flowing cross.