MOUNT SAINT JOSEPH
Mount Saint Joseph Motherhouse and Academy, the first Motherhouse for Sisters in western Kentucky, the oldest operating girls' academy in Daviess County, founded August 14, 1874, by Rev. Paul Joseph Volk under auspices of Bishop George McCloskey of Louisville. Mother Aloysius Willett of Union County elected first Superior of the autonomous Ursuline house in 1912.
Established in 1874
The Ursulines of Mount Saint Joseph trace their origin to Saint Angela Merici, who founded the first teaching order of women in the Church, the Company of Saint Ursula, in Brescia, Italy, in 1535. In 1858, Bishop Martin John Spalding invited the Ursulines from Straubing, Bavaria, to establish a foundation in Louisville, Kentucky.
At the request of Father Paul Joseph Volk, five Ursuline Sisters came from Louisville in 1874 to establish a school in western Daviess County at the site that is now Maple Mount, Kentucky. In 1912, the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph became an autonomous congregation.
Maple Mount, Kentucky is the home of the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph, women religious who live an apostolic life supported by prayer and contemplation. They proclaim Jesus to all people through the ministry of education and Christian formation.
Currently numbering over 180, the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph minister in the states of Kentucky, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Tennessee, Washington, D.C., and in Chile, South America.
Original building sketch
First building at Mt. St. Joseph
The first building at Mount Saint Joseph (left) was the first Motherhouse for Roman Catholic Sisters in Kentucky west of Louisville and the oldest girls' Academy in Daviess County. It was founded on August 14, 1874.
By 1912, 78 girls had graduated from the Academy and 89 Ursuline Sisters had lived and worked at Mount Saint Joseph.
In 1925, the Sisters continued their dedication to education and opened, on the same grounds, Mount Saint Joseph Junior College for Women. The location was transferred to Owensboro in 1950 where it became co-educational and changed its name to Brescia College (now known as Brescia University).
By the time of its centennial in 1974, over 1600 women had attended Mount Saint Joseph Academy, but demands for services were changing. Guided by the advice of Saint Angela Merici, the 16th century foundress of the Ursuline Sisters, "to make changes according to the times and needs," after 109 years of service, Mount Saint Joseph Academy closed in 1983.
The original building still stands today and is now being used for the Mount Saint Joseph Conference and Retreat Center, a center for spiritual, cultural and educational enrichment.
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