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Ursuline Sisters of Louisville - 150 Years of Service

The Ursuline Sisters of Louisville have certainly had an amazing journey. After 150 years of service and ministry, the Sisters are in the midst of a year-long celebration. And, their history is the subject of this Et Cetera.

In 1535, the Company of St. Ursula was founded in Italy by Angela Merici.

Angela named her followers Ursulines after St. Ursula, a fifth century martyr. Their mission? To teach Christian living and assist people to live more fully and to develop a personal relationship with God.

In the years that followed, Angela’s “daughters,” as she called them, continued to serve where they were needed. In 1858, Sister Salesia Reitmeier and two companions left their Ursuline convent in Germany to fulfill that mission in Louisville, Kentucky.

Within two weeks of their arrival, the Sisters were teaching 50 students at St. Martin School. Soon after, they had established their own convent and boarding school.

In addition, the Ursuline Sisters were asked to staff other Louisville parish schools. And, in 1887 they established Sacred Heart Academy.

Today, Ursuline Sisters minister in Kentucky, 10 other states and Peru, South America. They serve as teachers and administrators, and in healthcare, pastoral and social service ministries.

In Louisville, the Ursuline Sisters sponsor the Angela Merici Center for Spirituality, as well as the Ursuline Campus Schools on Lexington Road.

The Ursuline Campus Art Fair is considered one of the best art fairs in the area, and the annual Marian Home Card Party helps provide care to the sick and elderly Ursuline Sisters and affiliated lay residents.

More quick facts:

  • Mother Salesia Reitmeier, the founder and first superior of the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville, died June 25, 1868. She was 36 years old.
  • In 1864, Ursuline Sisters received "incorporation in perpetuity" as the Ursuline Society and Academy of Education from the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
  • From 1918-1919 the Sisters helped care for soldiers at Camp Taylor during the flu epidemic; in 1937 they housed refugees from Ursuline Sisters of Louisville’s Historical Timeline.
Program 226
Memories of Louisville's Fontaine Ferry Park, the WHAS Crusade for Children, and sequicentennial celebrations for the Louisville Fire Department and the Ursuline Sisters. Plus, author Steve Wiser's predictions for Louisville in 2035. (#226)