A statue of Ursulines founder Sister Angela Merici
The Ursuline Sisters, who first arrived in Alton in 1859, will soon close their convent at 845 Danforth Ave. to move the remaining 35 Ursulines to health care facilities.
A celebration of thanksgiving will be hosted by the Marquette Catholic High School Foundation in honor of the Ursulines from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 13, at the Ursuline Convent.
“Catholic students throughout the region, from Marquette High School and Saints Peter and Paul in Alton to St. Ambrose in Godfrey, Queen of Peace in Bethalto, St. Patrick’s in Grafton and Holy Ghost in Jerseyville, to name only a few, have all been educated at one point or another through the decades by Ursuline Sisters,” Marquette Foundation Board Member Deacon Bill Kessler said. “We invite the entire community to come offer our thanks for all the Sisters have done for us as students, and the Alton community, for all these years.”
The Ursuline Sisters have left their mark on many an Alton landmark. Before Marquette High School was founded in 1927 at its current location, 219 E. 4th Street, it had been since 1862 the site of both the Ursuline Convent and a free school run by the Ursulines. When the Catholic Children’s home moved from Prospect Street to its current location on State Street in 1923 the Ursulines took over the Prospect site, renaming it “Loretta Towers” and using it as a residence for Ursuline Sisters teaching at Saints Peter and Paul school on State Street.
“The Ursulines’ commitment to education is second to none. Tens of thousands throughout the region can tell stories about their fond memories of the Sisters. They could be both gentle souls and strong disciplinarians. We have Ursulines teaching at Marquette still today, although they don’t wield rulers anymore,” Marquette Principal Michael Slaughter quipped.
“We hope many will join us on April 13. The event is free. The Ursulines deserve our thanks,” said Dr. Linda Chapman, Marquette Foundation board member and vice president of Lewis and Clark Community College.
Reservations are not required but attendees are encouraged to RSVP at http://action.marquettecatholic.org/ursulines