History of St. Joseph Heights: The dedication

Posted on: April 27, 2018 2:00 pm
Tags: Blog, Did you know, Archives,

by Sister Mary Joan Terese Niklas, SND Archivist

Ground was broken on March 19, 1926 – the feast of St. Joseph. The cornerstone was laid on September 12, 1926. From 2:30 to 3:00 p.m. a procession of children and adults, headed by acolytes, clergy and Bishop Howard, traveled from the sisters’ residence in Covington to the new building site. Six thousand participants were in the procession! Bishop Howard performed the ceremony, so rich in beauty and significance.

Work on the building progressed to such an extent that the date of dedication was set for November 13, 1927. The convent annals describe the strenuous work prior to the dedication: “Every contractor did his utmost to complete his part of the work... Every day of the last week saw sisters hard at work, putting the building in readiness for the great occasion. On Friday and Saturday – everyone who had the least bit of energy – expended it on the task so dear to everyone’s heart.” 

The ceremony of dedication began promptly at 10:00 a.m., followed by solemn high Mass. Luncheon was served to visitors who wished to stay for the afternoon. From 1:00 p.m. until 5 :00 p.m. the building was open to the public for inspection. All agreed that it was a wonderful place, most practically arranged, and congratulated us on the possession of such a home.The program concluded with solemn Benediction. 

The novices moved into their new home on November 23. The professed sisters arrived on November 29. Initially, each sister had a single chair. She carried that chair to chapel, the dining room, the study hall, and at night---to the dormitory!

When the dedication took place the chapel was equipped with only a temporary altar, but the stained glass windows were installed. Less than three weeks before Christmas, the altars arrived. Two men worked on the marble bases for ten days from 7:30 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. On December 18 the chapel had no benches. That evening the benches were packed into large trucks at Columbus, Ohio where they had been crafted. At noon of December 24 the last bench was in place. Chapel was ready for first Mass on Christmas morning!


Jesus, the Good Shepherd. One of eleven large windows lining the side walls of the nave (central part) of the St. Joseph Heights Chapel. This window reflects a Scriptural theme. Some of the other windows depict a Devotional theme, e.g., Mary receiving Holy Communion from St. John.

At the bottom of each window the respective benefactor is identified. In addition to the eleven larger windows, four small windows of archangels are located above the sanctuary and two small windows of angels playing musical instruments are appropriately displayed on the choir. The windows were designed by the F. X. Zettler Company in Munich, Bavaria. In the archives we have an invoice dated October 17, 1927 and marked, “Paid in full.” It includes the charge of $5,650.00 for 17 windows and the payment of $1,500.00 for duty and forwarding expenses. The stained glass windows are the most visually stimulating feature of the convent chapel.

This photo can be viewed on page 45 of the book Covington’s Sisters of Notre Dame. This paperback book was authored by Michael Hargis and published by Arcadia. For information about purchasing the book, contact Sister M. Joan Terese Niklas, SND, at 859-392-8120

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Date: on May 8, 2018

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