On September 21 through the 23, 2012 the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth celebrated 200 years of service by Sister Catherine Spalding and other dedicated sisters, whose ministry began in 1812 with their dedication and education of the girls that attended Nazareth Academy, Nazareth Junior College and later to those attending a four year college.
Because of their faithfulness to God and to their vows, 200+ women happily attended the celebration at Nazareth in Bardstown, Kentucky. The laughter, tears and screams of delight permeated the now quiet halls and filled everyone with joy and surprise to see so many girls traveling from all over the United States and as far as Puerto Rico.
Only those that attended Nazareth and lived there for years can really understand the excitement and sweet melancholy that one feels as one enters the road towards the Motherhouse and O’Connell Hall. It is like walking back in time and seeing the sisters and students walking across the campus to attend Mass or classes. The music rooms filled with piano, violin, viola and winds sounds for many hours, the dormitories where many of us slept and laughed at night until the sister assigned to our dorm came in and we knew it was time to be quiet, the snack store in the gym where we could eat goodies after swimming for a while, our trips to the Lebanon pool and travels to Louisville on the “Blue Goose.”
Not less important, the walks to the country store where we felt, at that time, like we were shopping in a mall. The smell of “Mash” which became such a physical reminder that we were getting close to the campus and the black capes that we wore to early mass in the winter.
The rooms look the same, even though new offices have replaced Sr. Margaret Gertrude’s office, the academy cafeteria, where I remember being served fresh strawberries and peach pie and many wonderful meals, listening to the readings during retreats by Sr. Rose Catherine and Sr. Helen Ann while we ate without talking. I remember the stairs going down to the sisters and postulates’ dining room, where we were not allow to go. The fire escapes are gone, but I couldn’t keep from smiling as I remember going down one, only to find a sister waiting for me at the end of it. Demerits, anyone…?
The Daisy Chain ceremony was so special and beautiful even though I have never picked so many daisies and practiced for so many hours!
The sad part of all this joy is not having the Sisters that nurtured and taught us with such dedication. I would love to sit with many of them and thank them for their servant hood and unselfish attitude, but good deeds are made as unto the Lord and not expected to be recognized in this life.
I know that all attendees will join me in thanking the sisters and personnel who so lovingly welcomed us and “shared” Nazareth with us, even if only for a few hours. We thank them for taking care of “our’ school and making us feel so special.
To those that I saw for the first time since graduating, it was wonderful to see you and spending time reminiscing about our days at Nazareth. Time stood still, and it was almost as if we were there again.
May God richly bless you and yours, and may His light shine upon you.
As my husband Lynn (Bellarmine ‘67) and I drove away, I could almost hear the singing of “Return Fair Girls.”
Eileen Maymón Humphrey, Academy ‘62