History of St. Joseph Heights: The sister who set a record

Posted on: September 15, 2018 2:00 pm
Tags: Did you know, Archives, Blog,

Sister Mary Albert Murphy celebrating her 50th Jubilee of Profession.

by Sister Joan Terese Niklas

Similar to wedding anniversaries, the Sisters of Notre Dame at St. Joseph Heights observe Jubilees of Profession.

Following the years of initial formation, sisters profess first vows. At that time they begin accumulating the years toward a Jubilee. The traditional titles of these celebrations have continued into the present day. They are:

  • Silver (25 years)
  • Golden (50 years)
  • Diamond (60 years)
  • Iron (65 years)
  • Grace (70 years)
  • Joy (75 years)

However, in 1995 Sister Mary Albert Murphy was the first Sister of Notre Dame in the worldwide congregation to reach 80 years of profession! The Covington administration contacted the SND Generalate in Rome to confirm a new title for such an accomplishment. Jubilee of Peace was the response.  

Sister M. Albert acquired a bachelor’s degree from Xavier University, Cincinnati in 1924; a master’s degree from Fordham University, New York City in 1925; and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree from Fordham University, New York City in 1939. Sister M. Albert served as a history professor at Villa Madonna/Thomas More College for 35 years (1939-1974).    

In 1980 when Sister M. Albert observed her sixty-fifth anniversary of religious profession, the history alumni of Thomas More College gave a large sum of money that was designated for two new statues in the Lourdes Hall Chapel at the Heights. The hand-carved wooden statues of the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph were ordered from Italy. At the base of each statue is a metal plaque with the inscription:

“Given by Thomas More College History Alumni

To Sister Mary Albert Murphy, S.N.D.

on her 65th Anniversary of her Profession.”

When Sister M. Albert retired from Thomas More College in 1974, a former student (class of 1969) wrote, ”I am sure that everyone joins me in a collective expression of gratitude to Sr. Albert for her decades-long devotion to her faith, her order, and her profession.”                                  


In the past each sister was accompanied by two “angels", or primary grade students from St. Agnes School, on the occasion of Jubilee. This photo shows Sister M. Albert as she celebrated her 50th Jubilee in 1965. Sister M. Philip, a colleague and friend of Sister M. Albert, commented, “Many historians teach history, some write history, few are great enough to BE history. Sister Mary Albert, SND is one of the few.” Finally, Sister M. Albert herself appropriately summarized her years: “My life in Notre Dame has been rich in spiritual, intellectual, and social gifts. I am very grateful.”

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