PORTLAND (AP) — The Sisters of Mercy have mandated that Catherine McAuley High School must change its name when the Portland school ends its affiliation with the Catholic Church in July.

The Portland Press Herald reported (http://bit.ly/1SJEpXH ) Head of School Kathryn Barr said Tuesday that the administration respects the decision but the school community is disappointed.

The Sisters of Mercy founded McAuley in 1969 and named it after the Irish nun who started the religious order in the 1830s. The private school will begin the process of finding a new name in the coming weeks.

The separation from the church allows for the school’s board to no longer have to report to the Sisters of Mercy’s Northeastern Community in Cumberland, R.I.

Attempts to reach the Sisters of Mercy to comment weren’t returned.

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