St. Therese Church and School were founded in 1927 A.D. by Bishop Francis W. Howard and was named St. Therese after St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, a Carmelite nun, from Lisieux France. St. Therese, also known as The Little Flower, distinguished herself by her burning love of God and her blind trust in Him. She died September 30, 1897 and was canonized a saint in 1925. St. Therese Church was designated as the Diocesan Shrine of The Little Flower.
St. Therese Church and School are located on Alexandria Pike in Southgate, Campbell County, Kentucky. Alexandria Pike was originally chartered in 1818 as the Newport and Cynthiana Turnpike Road Company and was the first turnpike in Campbell County Kentucky. A traveler from Newport, Kentucky using this route would go out Monmouth Street to the South, crossing over the tracks of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, and then going up the hill to the tollgate which is now the intersection of Carothers Road.
Continuing south on Alexandria Pike, a traveler would pass the greenhouses of A. S. Berry (later Schumann's) and possibly stop for refreshments at the Two Mile House renamed the Kentucky Highland House by Mr. George Wiedemann. The Kentucky Highland House would later become The Old Heidelberg. The City of Southgate was founded by 27 families in 1907. The Old Heidelberg consisted of a bowling alley, a hotel, and an outdoor area for parties which included a concrete-floored pavilion with a bandstand for dances (a.k.a "The Platform") and a building for special events (a.k.a "The Ark"). The bowling alley was converted into the church and the hotel was converted into a 3-room school and rectory. The church accommodated 350 parishioners and the school accommodated 74 students.
On an altar borrowed from the Sisters of the Good Shepherd Convent on Highland Avenue in Fort Thomas, the first Mass at the new church was celebrated by Monsignor Borgias Lehr on August 21, 1927. The school opened with 74 pupils in the fall of 1927 under the direction of the Sisters of St. Benedict. The new Parish was the sixty-ninth to be established in the Diocese of Covington.
In 1936 the school required larger quarters so two new classrooms were added. The growth of the parish now warranted an Assistant Priest so Bishop Howard appointed Monsignor John Schuler on September 26, 1937 as the first assistant priest of the parish. In 1944 Monsignor Lehr secured a new residence at Custis Avenue and Alexandria Pike (across the "Pike") to make room for the residence of the Benedictine Sisters who operated the school.
A new school and convent were built in 1952 and were dedicated by Bishop William T. Mulloy. The old school was razed and a new front was built for the church.
On February 5, 1957 Monsignor Lehr passed away after 30 years as Pastor of St. Therese.
In 1963, a new church and rectory were built. The new church accommodated 650 parishioners. After the new church was completed, additional classrooms were constructed in the church undercroft.
In 1992, another major construction project was completed. A new gym and multi-purpose facility were built.
In 1998, 5 classrooms, a computer lab, kitchen, and storage space were added.
Reverend Msgr. Borgias Lehr (1927-1957)
Reverend Paul Brinker (1957-1982)
Reverend Leroy Smith (1982- 1991)
Reverend Clarence J. Heitzman (1991-present)
1927-1960s-Sisters of St. Benedict
1968--Sisters of Notre Dame assumed operation of the school
Sr. Agnes Marie (1990-1996)
Sr. Mary Ellen Strunk (1996-2001)
Ms. Dorothy (Dot) O'Leary (2001-present)--first lay Principal