Historic Markers Across Florida

C. Cecilia Morse June 3, 1838-June 13, 1926

Marker ID:  
Location: in Oaklawn Cemetery near the corner of N. Morgan St south of E. Laurel St., Tampa, FL
County: Hillsborough
Coordinates: N 27° 57.318    W 082° 27.470
  27.9553    -82.45783333
Style: Mounted **
Waymark: WMQ897


Foundress of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School in San Antonio, Florida

In 1883, as a young widow with 6 children, she moved to the Catholic colony of San Antonio, FL in Pasco County only to discover that there was no school. Telling the colony's founder "The minds of the children now here won't wait" she began teaching the first 14 students (including her own 6) in her kitchen in October of 1883. In April 1884, classes were moved into the church to accommodate more pupils and by that fall a schoolhouse adjacent to the church had been built. Mrs. Morse continued teaching at St. Anthony of Padua School until the Benedictine Sisters arrived in 1889. A few years later she moved her entire family to Tampa where she would live for the next 35 years. The true pioneer of Catholic parochial education in the Diocese of St. Petersburg rests here, along with five of her children, who themselves were among those first local Catholic parochial students.

Diocese of St. Petersburg