St. Monica Catholic High School traces its origin to the turn of the century when the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, at the request of Bishop Montgomery, first opened a small elementary school in 1899. In 1901, to meet the need for more facilities and a potential high school, the sisters erected the “Academy of the Holy Names” which stood at the corner of Third and Arizona Streets. The Academy housed both an elementary school and a high school until 1930 when the elementary school became the “St. Monica Parish Elementary School” and was transferred to its present site on Seventh Street.
After five years it became apparent that even more facilities would be needed for the Academy’s high school. The Sisters, at the request of the pastor Monsignor Nicholas Conneally, sold the Academy building in the fall of 1935 and consented to staff a parish high school. St. Monica Catholic High School opened at its present location in September of 1937. Accommodating both boys and girls, the school’s faculty consisted of five sisters and two priests with the first graduating class numbering twenty: seventeen girls and three boys.
The school grew rapidly at the new location and both additional facilities and faculty were needed. The Brothers of Mary came in to teach the boys from 1946 to 1948, at which time the Brothers of St. Patrick took over this job, arriving from Ireland and establishing their first house in the United States. The sisters retained instruction of the girls.
Facilities were expanded in May of 1956 when, under the direction of Msgr. Raymond O’Flagherty, ground was broken for the new building on Lincoln Boulevard in order to house the Boys’ Department. The Girls’ Department would remain in today’s West Wing.
In the fall of 1968, for the first time since 1946, classroom instruction became "co-ed". In 1970 the two faculties, student bodies and administrations merged under the leadership of Sister Michaeline Mary, SNJM. In June of 1977 the Brothers of St. Patrick decided they could no longer help staff the school and departed.
Today, more than 100 years after the Sisters of the Holy Names’ arrival, their educational ministry continues at St. Monica Catholic High School. Fulfilling the needs of Catholic students of Santa Monica and the west side of Los Angeles, St. Monica stands as a monument to the struggles and vision of the many religious, priests, and lay persons who are dedicated to the Christian instruction of youth.