Rosario on Santa Fe’s northside has been the only open cemetery for Catholics since World War II. In addition to the burials of local people, the Sisters of Loretto and the La Sallian Christian Brothers have a special place at the cemetery. The Loretto nuns arrived in Santa Fe in 1852 and the Christian Brothers followed seven years later in 1859. Both groups of educators can be found in a special plot located just north of Rosario Chapel.
These two religious orders came to Santa Fe at the behest of Archbishop Jean Baptiste to create a new educational system. After establishing the school in Santa Fe the Sisters of Loretto also founded academies in Albuquerque, El Paso and Denver in an era when most girls didn’t have the opportunity to get an education. The La Sallian Christian Brothers opened St. Michael’s College for boys and young men in Santa Fe in 1859. Their mission was to continue the work of its founder St. John-Baptist de Salle, who opened his first school in 1679 in Reims, France. The Christian brothers also founded a four year college in 1947 in Santa Fe, which was formally called St. Michael’s College and later changed to the College of Santa Fe, it closed in 2009. Today, St. Michael’s High School is one of hundreds of schools in 80 different countries that continues to provide the educational vision of its French founder. In 1969 St. Michael’ High School became a coed school when Loretto Academy closed.