Mount St. Mary Academy was established in 1851 by the Sisters of Mercy as a beacon for Catholic settlement in Arkansas. The institution continues to preserve its Catholic faith and Mercy Values – providing young women with a comprehensive curriculum that includes cultivating wisdom, compassion and integrity to help navigate life. Under the leadership of President Pattie Davis, Mount St. Mary Academy celebrates 170 years of service and fortitude.
Pattie believes it’s the storied legacy and vision of Mount St. Mary Academy, instilled by the Sisters of Mercy, that have guided leadership among young women since its inception. “Our educational environment is focused on excellence in both faith and academic formation. It instills young ladies with confidence in their own voice as well as an equally strong desire to give back to their community.” This native Arkansan has been at the helm of the oldest state’s educational institution since 2019 and recognizes the intrinsic contributions Mount St. Mary Academy and its alumnae make in our community.
It is, perhaps, Pattie’s global perspective of Catholicism that brought her back to Arkansas after a tenure in San Antonio, Indiana, New Mexico and Malawi – where she completed her dissertation studying the impact of vocational training for women in Dzaleka refugee camp. She recalls, “With my own previous teaching experience at Mount St. Mary and two daughters who thrived there, I felt the school’s mission of empowering young women to reach their greatest individual potential, coupled with its teachings of Mercy Values, were a great fit with my own passion to equip all women to go into the world with confidence and a servant’s heart.”
The Mercy Values of wisdom, compassion and integrity remain relevant and central to the foundation of the Mount St. Mary Academy curriculum. “Mercy education provides such a unique experience; I appreciate the many teachers and Sisters of Mercy who have diligently prepared scores of students over the years to be fully equipped and confident to meet the inevitable challenges of the day.” Pattie reiterates the practical application of these values – social justice, nonviolence, equality, conservation – that are the building blocks for the future. “I consider Mount St. Mary belonging to all of us, whether you attended the Mount as a student or not. We are so deeply rooted in the history of the state of Arkansas – going through many historical, and sometimes challenging, moments together.” This collective narrative – 170 years strong – remains steadfast to the transformative power of faith + knowledge.