Archives Feature Stories

July 30, 2018
SSND and the Great Chicago Fire, Part I On the night of Oct. 8, 1871, a fire was started in the O’Leary barn on Chicago’s west side. The fire quickly spread and by the morning of October 10, roughly one-third of the city lay in ruins. The fire destroyed almost 18,000 buildings, left 100,000 people homeless and caused the death...Read more
June 27, 2018
Trials and tribulations School Sisters of Notre Dame were required to write a biography before they took vows. The biographies provide an interesting glimpse into the early life of sisters. Sister Vintilla Walczak, SSND, immigrated from Poland as a young woman and her biography tell of the trials and tribulations of that trip. Helen Walczak (later Sister Vintilla) was born...Read more
May 30, 2018
Construction of an important structure In 1894, the sisters purchased a 21-acre site near the Mississippi River, which they named Sancta Maria in Ripa (St. Mary on the Bank). The property included a ten-room mansion, called the “White House.” The house served as the convent for the sisters while the motherhouse was under construction. Additional historical information can be found...Read more
May 2, 2018
Back in time: Excerpts from the chronicles of St. Mary of the Pines The School Sisters of Notre Dame were required to keep chronicles or records of major events at each location where they lived and worked. The chronicles are very interesting to read, because they are little snapshots of history. Below are excerpts from the chronicles of St. Mary...Read more
May 2, 2018
Notre Dame Academy in Waterdown, Ontario, opened in 1927. The academy served as both a boarding school and a day school, although grade-school children were not allowed to board after 1931 (this rule was lifted during World War II because many mothers had to take on war-time work to support their families). In the early years, the boarders were allowed...Read more
May 1, 2018
St. Mary’s Institute was an SSND school of higher learning for young women. It established by Mother Caroline Friess in 1851 and was located at the Notre Dame Motherhouse in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Each year, the school published a catalog that included information about the school (cost, course of studies, required text books, fees, etc.), a list of students and graduates...Read more
April 23, 2018
The National Weather Service (NWS), in 2018, recognized SSND-sponsored Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for 50 years of service. But the SSND connection actually goes back much farther. Sister Felice Vaudreuil, SSND, chair of the Mathematics Department, was the first to operate the campus weather station, which was started in 1946 after the NWS realized that temperatures collected at...Read more