Many people wonder why our parish is St. John the Baptist but our school is St. John Notre Dame. The story dates back fifty years. In 1859 Archbishop Alemany appointed Fr. Joseph Gallagher as the founding pastor of St. John the Baptist parish. Parish children learned their Catechism first from home then later from the Sisters of Mercy in Auburn. As the nuns did not drive, parishioners would transport the nuns to and from Auburn and Folsom since Catechism could only be taught by the religious. While grateful for the nuns’ instruction, the commute took its toll on the volunteer drivers of the parish.
In the early sixties, Fr. Albrecht was determined to build a school for the parish. His first task was to find a religious order to teach here. The two orders closest to Folsom were the Sisters of Mercy located in Auburn and the Sister of Notre Dame in Marysville. Wanting to ensure one of the orders would teach at the still being built school, parishioners put their best foot and dishes forward. Fr. Albrecht invited the orders separately down to a meal and the parishioners “wined and dined” the nuns with their best china, cooking in a building which used to sit behind the middle church. The Sisters of Mercy enjoyed the parish but its members were fully committed elsewhere. The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur however, appreciated the rural atmosphere and agreed to send two sisters to lead and teach at the yet to be completed school.