"The greater the work the more
important it is to establish it on
a solid foundation. Thus it will
not only be more perfect; it
will also be more lasting.”

St. Louise de Marillac

Heritage, Legacy and Evolution

By S. Kathryn Ann Connelly

Members of the Environment Committee include: (back row, from left) Sisters Kathryn Ann Connelly, Marge Kloos, (front row, from left) Mary Ellen Murphy, Marcel DeJonckheere and Patrice Vales. Not pictured Interior Designer, Abby Jahnigen.

A visit to the Motherhouse at Mount St. Joseph will provide not only a walk down memory lane but also new and refreshed beauty with places to meet, to visit, to relax. The entire second floor has been redecorated and updated, rooms have been renamed with meaningful décor that gives both comfort and a historical perspective about the congregation.

S. Mary Ellen Murphy chaired a committee of Sisters, Kathryn Ann Connelly, Mary Marcel DeJonckheere, Marge Kloos, Patrice Vales. Assisted by Interior Designer, Abby Jahnigen, the committee set to work on the renewal. The project began with the portraits of the mothers and presidents which have adorned the halls for many years. After an absence of two-and-a-half years, the portraits have been returned and each has been enhanced by depiction of various projects and activities significant during her term in office. Beginning with Mother Margaret Cecilia George, the portraits give a chronological display of congregation history and circle back to the current president, S. Pat Hayden, above the main stairwell.

The Heritage Room has been redesigned in keeping with its name. Archbishop Purcell, whose invitation to the first Sisters of Charity was the origin of the Cincinnati Community, is depicted, as is the portrait of Mother Margaret Cecilia George, the founder of the congregation. Service to God’s people has always been the essence of the Sisters of Charity. This legacy is illustrated with panels adorning the walls. Beginning with a brief description of the first journey of Sisters from Emmitsburg, Maryland, to Cincinnati, Ohio, to open an orphanage, the panels illustrate the various ways Sisters of Charity have served God’s people. Sisters have risked a caring response by serving as nurses, opening foreign missions, teaching at every level in schools, and serving society where poverty and social justice issues are challenged. Service to God’s people continues to evolve as needs and times change. The Sisters of Charity will continue to risk a caring response, no matter what.

Environment Chair S. Mary Ellen Murphy takes a stroll down the second floor of the Motherhouse to view portraits of the congregation’s mother generals and presidents, each now enhanced by depiction of various projects and activities significant during her term in office.

The parlors located on the second floor have all been named. These also continue the heritage/legacy theme. The Elizabeth Room, dedicated to Elizabeth Seton, contains sketches of her life by S. Augusta Zimmer, a marble bust of our saint, and a display case with various memorabilia from Elizabeth. Across from the Elizabeth Room is the Margaret Room with the portraits of Mother Margaret Cecilia George and displays of historic artifacts from Margaret. The third parlor, the Blandina Room, contains a replica of the new bust of S. Blandina Segale, Servant of God, which was erected in Trinidad, Colorado. Significant memorabilia and displays regarding S. Blandina’s era are here. This room provides a table and chairs around which small meetings can occur.

The Halloran Room, which served many years as a meeting place, has been moved, and in its new location continues to be the work place for committees, teams, groups, etc. New furniture plus technology for Internet connections and audio/visual equipment with room for small breakout sessions have brought the Halloran Room up to date.

The newly renovated and decorated Art Room can now serve as a place for gatherings, celebrations and festivities, like last year’s congregational Christmas party.

The Art Room, which for many years, housed a collection of gifts and artifacts to the congregation, maintains its name since it continues to be home to historic and beautiful paintings. These adorn the walls of the balcony and the main area. This magnificently beautiful room with its spiral staircase and wrought-iron balcony has an aura of elegance, beauty, restfulness and contemplation. It is a place for gatherings, celebrations and festivities. In addition, a Cloak Room is located next to the elevator on the floor. This eliminates the need to hang wraps in the hallway.

The project has taken a long time to complete because of the pandemic, supply chain shortages and other delays. However, the end product with new furnishings, wall décor, and carpeting in the theme of heritage, legacy and evolution to modern day has been accomplished. All will be welcome to visit and enjoy.

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