Our History and School Profile
Armenian Sisters of the Immaculate Conception History
In 1843, the first Armenian Cardinal, Father Andon Peter IX Hassounian saw his community’s need for a monastic congregation of consecrated women who were dedicated to the education of the Armenian youth. Miss Serpouhi Hadji-Andonian was a devout Christian who had decided to retreat to a cloistered convent in Italy. Upon learning of Miss Hadji-Andonian’s decision, Father Hassounian urged her to remain in Istanbul. Humble and obedient, she complied. Thus, the Co-Foundress of the Congregation, Serpouhi Hadji-Andonian, in collaboration with the Founding Father, began the educative mission of the Order in 1843 with twelve students in Istanbul. The sisters’ congregation was canonically established in 1847.
During the 1915 Genocide, the Ottoman Turks killed fifteen of the Order’s nuns. Many of the Order's sisters, with hundreds of Armenian orphans, fled to Italy and found refuge in Pope Pius X and successor Pope Benedict XV's summer palace of Castel Gandolfo. The Mother House relocated its headquarters to Rome, Italy, in 1922, where it remains to this date.
Armenian Sisters’ Academy of Los Angeles History
The Armenian Sisters’ Academy, located in Montrose, California, was founded in 1985 by Sister Hripsime Chiftelian and Sister Aida Alajian, and is one of two schools in the United States that are operated by the order of the Armenian Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. The other school is located in Radnor, Pennsylvania (established in 1967).
The first school principal of the Los Angeles school was Sr. Hripsime Chiftelian, who remained in this position from 1985-1995. She was followed by Sr. Alphonsa Bedrossian, who served as principal from 1995-1999, Sr. Yevtoksia Keshishian from 1999-2003, and finally the current principal, Sr. Lucia Al-Haik, who has been principal since 2003.
Founded specifically for the teaching apostolate, and to help preserve and perpetuate their ethnic identity, the Armenian Sisters have never abandoned their original commitment. Thanks to the Sisters’ strong faith and vigor, the Armenian child in America learns the religion, language, history and cultural traditions of his/her forefathers and is being formed in the faith of his/her ancestors.
In addition to grades 1-8, the school offers a Day Care Program, Preschool (Nursery and Pre-Kindergarten), and Kindergarten. The school is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
A bilingual curriculum is offered to all students and in second grade, the students’ curriculum includes a third language, Spanish. All students are offered music, art and computer instruction as part of the school curriculum. Class sizes are small, enabling teachers to provide personalized attention to each and every student. The school provides a quaint, caring and familiar environment for the students and families.
The ASA Crusaders participate in the KAHAM Games’ Track & Field, Basketball, Chess, Table Tennis, and Soccer Tournaments. Our after-school extra-curricular activities include after-school track & field, basketball, soccer, and chess for all grades.
Parents’ involvement in on and off campus events is encouraged and may join the Parent Support Committee, Athletic Committee and/or participate in other volunteering opportunities.