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Our History


The Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburg Monastery, who founded the school, celebrate the presence of Jesus Christ and serve him in all God's people, the young and the old, the sick and the poor, the stranger and the guest. Their educational philosophy flows directly from the teachings of St. Benedict. These values of education are very much alive in Villa classrooms today and throughout Villa's curriculum.

Our story begins in 1859 when three Sisters, immigrants from Germany, came to Covington from Pennsylvania intending to found a community of Benedictine Sisters to help the German settlers in the lower Ohio Valley keep the faith and teach the children. Accordingly, they set up classrooms in the St. Joseph Parish in Covington and began taking resident and day students. In 1903, the Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburg purchased the large W. S. Collins estate from James Cleveland and established Villa Madonna Academy, a boarding and day school for girls. Villa Madonna, meaning “country seat of our Lady,” was dedicated to Our Lady of Good Counsel.

In 1921, the Benedictine Sisters opened Villa Madonna College as an addition to the elementary and high school programs. The college became a diocesan college in 1929 and was relocated to Covington. Villa Madonna College was renamed Thomas More College in 1968 and relocated to its present site in Crestview Hills, Kentucky.

As the years passed, the scholastic reputation of Villa Madonna Academy rose as the faculty and students were characterized for their interest in academic excellence. Affiliation with the Catholic University of America was accomplished as early as 1915. Since 1923, Villa Madonna Academy has held accreditation with the Kentucky State Department of Education as a Class A school. Membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools has been continuous since 1925. The Villa earned a Superior rating in 1964. Boys were admitted to the elementary school in the mid-1970s and in the 1980s, the high school introduced a new college-preparatory curriculum that welcomed both boys and girls.

1904-The Collins Home served as a school and residence for the teachers and pupils when it opened on September 8.

1907- The first classes in the Center Building were held.

1958- The new high school is complete.

2000- Capital campaign renovations complete, including a new Athletic Complex and Computer Labs.