History of St. Joseph Heights: New wing

Posted on: August 8, 2018 12:00 pm
Tags: Did you know, Archives,

May 10, 1956 was groundbreaking for the new wing at St. Joseph Heights. Prior to Mass, Bishop Mulloy removed three shovelfuls of dirt outside the building during the groundbreaking ceremony. Then he returned to chapel, that was filled to overflowing. In his sermon the Bishop stated, “You have gathered brick and mortar and, more important, some of the money required for the project. The work is God’s. In His strength may you go forward so that more witnesses for Christ may be trained here at St. Joseph Heights for the years to come.” The new wing was called Mary Hall. 

During the days of construction, a faithful scribe recorded daily updates of construction progress. The longest and most interesting entry was dated September 24. Some of the workmen, concentrating on the flood water sewage in the pasture, were experiencing a strange difficulty. When they began digging energetically with diesel shovel and derrick, a few of our friendly cows “ganged up” around the workmen. The workmen gently called, “Shoo. Shoo.” Finally in desperation, the operator of the diesel engine sounded the horn, which brought the whole herd to the scene! At this time two Sisters, who were praying their rosary on the bridge, offered to get one of the convent's maintenance men. Mr. Foltz came and guided one of the cows on to a “Kuhweg” (cow path) and the whole herd obediently followed after their leader, leaving the workmen in peace.

On August 16 Bishop Mulloy presided at the Laying of the Cornerstone inscribed with the year 1956. Finally, the Dedication of the New Wing occurred on March 9, 1957. 

The first meal in the new wing refectory (dining room) was October 25, 1957. The large bright room with acoustic ceiling felt like a dream come true. After the meal the Sisters sang “Holy God” and prayed the “Magnificat” with great reverence and thanksgiving to God for all His goodness.                           

Throughout the years, up to the present, the Sisters have enjoyed meals in this large dining room. On special occasions all the Sisters of the province can be accommodated in this room and an adjoining small dining area. 


The above photo (circa 2005) shows some of the Sisters enjoying a meal in the dining room of the new wing, Mary Hall. Beginning on the left side and continuing around the table are Sisters Mary Francis Dirr, Dorothy Marie Blaker, Mary Rosetta Conrad, and Mary Magdelyn Strittholt. This photo can be found on page 75 of the paperback book, Covington’s Sisters of Notre Dame. Contact Sr. M. Joan Terese, SND in the Provincial Archives (859-392-8120) for more information about purchasing an autographed copy of this book authored by Michael Hargis.

Suggested links

90 Years: St. Joseph Heights

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Phil Accardi
Date: on August 8, 2018

I really enjoy Sister Joan‘s archival essays: history served up with humor and humanity. Thank you!

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