St. Vincent's Academy was opened in June 1845 by the Sisters of Mercy as the Convent and Academy of Saint Vincent dePaul. Under the leadership of Mother Vincent Mahoney, the Sisters of Mercy from Charleston, South Carolina began the boarding school, an orphanage, a day school and a free school. The St. Vincent's Convent became an independent Motherhouse within two years. More than 20 schools, hospitals, and orphanages were founded throughout Georgia from the Motherhouse. A few early foundations that continue in service include: St. Mary's Home, Savannah (1875), and St. Joseph's Hospital (1880). The early curriculum included Penmanship, Astronomy, Composition of Fiction, Sacred and Profane History, Ancient Geography, Chronology, Mythology, and Embroidery.
Each year, St. Vincent's Academy honors an alumna with the Catherine McAuley Award. The award is given to a person who exemplifies the attributes of Catherine McCauley and, therefore, exemplifies the ideals of St. Vincent's Academy while a student and throughout her life.
Each October, St. Vincent's Academy presents St. Vincent's Annual Tour of Homes and Tea, a self-guided tour of the original 1845 Convent building and eight private homes in Savannah’s Historic District. Proceeds from the Tour and Tea benefit the preservation and restoration of the Convent.
SVA offers 9 sports including volleyball, softball, cross country, basketball, swimming, rifle, sailing, soccer, tennis, golf and track. St. Vincent’s is a member of the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) and currently competes in the AA classification. During the 2013-2014 school year, St. Vincent’s qualified for state competition in 9 different sports.
Part of the St. Vincent’s Academy philosophy includes encouraging our students to explore their interests beyond academics. Club events are scheduled two times per month throughout the school year. Many of these clubs participate in activities beyond meeting times during school hours.
The early history of St. Vincent’s is intertwined with that of Savannah and the South. During the Civil War, eight-year-old Maggie Davis, whose father Jefferson Davis was President of the Confederate States of America, became a student at St. Vincent’s. Her brother also came to the convent daily to recite his lessons.