History & Mission


The Bellarmine Mothers’ Guild was founded in 1929 to help build community between the faculty and parents and offer support in rebuilding the aged campus. Bringing mothers and families together was the original goal of the Guild as families lived in a wider geography than today. At the time of the Mothers’ Guild founding, San Jose was a farming community and students traveled from the Peninsula by train or lived on campus in what is now O’Donnell Hall.

Mothers' Guild board members hosted other ‘area’ families in their homes before school started each year for Mass and refreshments as a means to get to know each other.  It wasn’t long before phone trees were established to keep in touch (party lines greatly aided that effort!) and soon other activities were organized such as card parties, telephone bridge and rummage sales. 

The first Mothers’ Guild President was Mrs. George O’Connell and the Guild charged annual dues of $2, which could be paid in installment – a big contribution in those early days of the Great Depression. However, even in those trying times, the Mothers’ Guild worked hard to raise funds for campus improvement.  In 1953, the Mothers’ Guild joined with the Dads’ Club to co-sponsor the precursor to the Golden Bell Auction, which was originally a dinner dance.

That same year, a long-standing tradition of the Mothers’ Guild began – the annual Fashion Show for Tuition Assistance.  The first several fashion shows were held in homes on the Peninsula, and as they grew in success, the venue also grew – the Hyatt Cabana in Palo Alto, the Marriott in Santa Clara, the Fairmont San Jose Hotel to the Santa Clara Convention Center where the show is held today.  The original poolside Fashion Shows served afternoon tea to several dozen women and today over 2000 people are seated for at Luncheon and Dinner shows.  The endowment from the Fashion Show for Tuition Assistance has grown to over $3 million.

Although family life has changed since 1929 and more mothers are now employed outside the home, the Mothers’ Guild has never wavered in its mission:

  • To foster a spirit of Christian friendship among and within Bellarmine families in support of the activities of the Bellarmine community.
  • To promote the principles of Jesuit Education in the tradition of the Ignatian Philosophy in collaboration with the adminstration of Bellarmine College Preparatory.
  • To support projects that encompass the needs and goals of Bellarmine College Preparatory.
  • To act as role models through selfless volunteerism to foster the spirit of men and women for others.

Throughout the year, the Mothers' Guild sponsors or supports a variety of events, both on and off campus.  These events are listed on this website.

Moms of all backgrounds, faiths, skills and interests are welcome - we're sure to have an activity that appeals to you!