The cornerstone of St. Mary School was laid on June 30, 1889. The school opened that October as a secondary school and was staffed primarily by the Sisters of Charity from Cincinnati, Ohio. It was accredited in 1915 by the University of Michigan.
By 1950 the school needed more space for the primary grades and purchased an adjacent building. In 1956 more classrooms were added to the main school building and another building was purchased in 1959. Through most of these growth years, Monsignor Frank J. Hardy guided St. Mary's.
In 1968, St. Mary High School graduated her last class, as Lumen Christi High School opened that Fall. St. Mary continued to educate students through grade 8 until the opening of Jackson Catholic Middle School in 1971.
St. Mary has been blessed with many caring pastors throughout the years. During the 1980's and 1990's the enrollment fluctuated as parents were faced with more choices and the neighborhood changed. However, with the help of dedicated pastors, parents, teachers and parishioners; St. Mary, Star of the Sea continues to shine on as a "beacon of hope in the center of the city."