​​​​Our Lady of Talpa School History

In the state of Jalisco in Mexico, a village known as Talpa de Allende has been a center of Marian devotion since Our Lady appeared to the people there during the seventeenth century [read about the legend of Our Lady]. Between the years of 1926 and 1928, religious persecutions in Mexico closed the churches and drove the priests into exile. The Catholics followed them – forfeiting their homeland for the opportunity to practice their faith.

Hundreds of families crossed the border into California and settled in Los Angeles. Many parishes opened to provide for the spiritual needs of the Mexican people who chose to leave their country rather than give up their faith. One such parish was Our Lady of the Rosary of Talpa, named after the apparitions of Our Blessed Mother to the peasants of the village of Talpa de Allende. The first Mass was celebrated on Ash Wednesday, 1927; the first Baptism was recorded on October 27, 1928.

When the Mexican priests were able to return to their homeland in 1938, the Spanish Vincentians accepted the charge of Our Lady of the Rosary of Talpa Parish. From that time until his death in 1964, Father Jose Cervera​, C.M. served as the people’s zealous and devoted pastor. In spite of many hardships, Father Cervera’s strong faith in Our Lady led him to “dream big.” He replaced the small mission church on Mission Street with the present, beautiful church on Fourth Street. He procured a rectory for the priests. Then he began pressing for a school for the children.

On September 16, 1950, construction began. The land was leveled, and the foundation was laid. The result was a beautiful, three-leveled school, which was completed in September 1951.

On September 16, 1951, the dream of many years was realized: Our Lady of Talpa School was opened! The first day of school was celebrated with Holy Mass at 9:00 a.m. in Our Lady of Talpa Church, which a large congregation of children and parents attended. The enrollment on that first day was 256 children for kindergarten through fourth grade. Three Daughters of Charity came from the Western Province – which was then located in St. Louis, Missouri – to receive the first pupils of Our Lady of Talpa School. These three pioneers were Sister Rosalie, Sister Margaret Mary, and Sister Rosanna. Both the school and the convent were dedicated by His Excellency, Bishop Timothy Manning on May 24, 1955.

Since its beginning, Our Lady of Talpa School has been staffed by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. Talpa School has always served the Hispanic community of the area, which is composed of predominantly Mexican people who immigrated to the United States. The Spanish Vincentian Priests left Our Lady of Talpa Parish in June 2004, and the Mexican Vincentian Priests took over the parish at that time.

In July 2003, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul entered into a co-sponsorship contract for Our Lady of Talpa School. The Archdiocese takes care of the school’s capital expenses, and the Daughters of Charity Foundation funds most of the operational expenses. The contract was valid for five years and was renewed in July 2008. This co-sponsorship agreement makes it possible for Talpa School to offer a Catholic education to those families who otherwise could not afford it. The students of Our Lady of Talpa School also receive support from The Catholic Education Foundation, benefactors, alumni, and friends.

​Over the years, Our Lady of Talpa School has undergone many changes. In the summer of 2019, Our Lady of Talpa School underwent a 1.8 million dollar renovation through the generosity of the John and Dor​othy Shea Foundation. This renovation upgraded the campus’s infrastructure to be able to meet the needs of the school’s growing enrollment. These upgrades included a complete remodeling of the school’s four bathrooms, replacing the school’s inefficient windows, repairing the existing roof, installing bookshelves in each classroom, repaving the school’s unsafe parking lot, and providing the school with the latest projection system in each classroom. 

The centerpiece of the renovation was the tra​nsformation of the school’s unused auditorium into a gymnasium. Sports flooring was installed for both volleyball and basketball, basketball courts and volleyball courts were installed, energy efficient heating and cooling systems were installed, and an LED lighting system was installed. The stage was refinished and new drapes were installed in order for the room to be used as a music room. 

In addition to the multiple renovations of the school, the previous computer lab was transformed into a STEM lab to promote the LEGO Robotics program made accessible to all grade levels. The STEM lab included its own classroom set of Chromebooks that were programmed to link to the LEGO Software. The STEM lab was also provided with the WE.DO 2 developer's kits to build robots such as a rover which are streamlined with science lessons to allow students to discover how technology and science are used in the world. The LEGO robotics program has allowed our school to evolve as our world currently continues to evolve in the world of technology and science. The STEM lab has allowed students to learn engineering skills as they build robots and learn a new programming language as they create code blocks to give instructions to move the robots. 

In 2020, through an investment made by the C3 program of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Our Lady of Talpa became a 1 to 1 school, utilizing iPads in all areas of the curriculum. ​

Year after year, our faculty and staff devote themselves to educating the minds and hearts of our Talpa children. Currently, Our Lady of Talpa School has an enrollment of 300 students.

As Our Lady of Talpa School celebrates its 70th anniversary, we remember and have pride in the history of our school community. We look to the future with hope, confidence, and the knowledge that our Lord and His Blessed Mother, under the title of Our Lady of the Rosary of Talpa, will guide the lives of all members of this community in faith and love.​



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