Honoring Our Heritage
Congregation of Divine Providence
Our Catholic identity is shaped by our founders, the Sisters of the Congregation of Divine Providence and their unique belief and trust in God's Providence. We continue to live out this spirit and are confident that we are guided by the loving power of God. This confidence shapes everything we do at the University and prepares our graduates to make a difference in the world.
The Sisters of Divine Providence were formed in 1762 in Lorraine, France, by Father John Martin Moye. Father Moye organized a small group of women to go out into the rural villages of France and provide education to those who had no access. These women were without resources, but relied on Providence to conduct their ministry. Father Moye called this his "Project."
The “project” thrived and eventually developed into the Congregation of Divine Providence (CDP). In 1866, two of the Sisters from Lorraine traveled to Texas to establish schools in the new diocese of Texas. With trust in Providence and few other resources, the Sisters began 24 Texas Catholic schools by 1886 and a branch of the CDP in Texas.
In 1895, the Sisters were given a gift of land at the west end of San Antonio adjacent to Lake Elmendorf. The only stipulation was that they had to commit to constructing $75,000 in buildings on the property within 10 years. The Sisters began construction on what is now the Main Building of Our Lady of the Lake University. The school was first an academy for girls. College courses were added in 1911 to train the Sisters as teachers in the schools the CDPs had established.
Eventually, lay women were admitted. In 1942, graduate courses were added and male students were admitted. The college became fully coeducational in 1969. In 1923, OLLU became the first San Antonio institution to receive regional accreditation. Since then it has been continuously accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
At Our Lady of the Lake University, you have an opportunity to develop close relationships by engaging with the Sisters of Divine Providence. As you become familiar with the charism of Providence and develop your knowledge of the Sisters of Divine Providence, you may wish to become more formally related to the Sisters by becoming an Associate of the Congregation of Divine Providence.
The Associates of the Sisters of Divine Providence of San Antonio are persons who have experienced a call to live the charism of the Congregation of Divine Providence –confidence in a provident God; who share the goals, values, and ideals of the Sisters of Divine Providence; and who have been formally accepted as Associates by the Congregation.
We have a network of OLLU/CDP Associates who would be able to share with you what their experiences have been since they have become a CDP Associate. The Office of Mission and Ministry provides informational sessions throughout the year.
Providence Leadership Program
The PLP program encourages students to develop their faith and assume leadership roles in ministry as a framework for living out their baptismal call flavored by the Providence charism.