On June 17, the Sisters of St. Ursula celebrated the closing of the 400th Anniversary year of their founding in 1606 with a Liturgy at Linwood, Rhinebeck,New York. More than 350 alumnae, family and friends were in attendance.The Mayor of Kingston, James Sottile, an alumnus of John A. Coleman High School, read a Proclamation honoring the sisters for their work in education in the Hudson Valley.

The Sisters of St. Ursula were founded in Dole, France on June 16, 1606 by Anne de Xainctonge who wanted to form a group of women primarily for the education of girls and women who at that time did not have the opportunities open to boys and men. She insisted on being non-cloistered — unheard of in the 17th Century – so that her sisters could be among the people sharing their lives and being available to them. In 1901, France issiued an edict of expulsion forcing all religious houses in France to close.

At that time, three sisters came to New York City with the intention of opening a school for girls. After seeking several possibilities, they started a school in 1902 at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish at 144th St.This later becme the Academy of Our Lady of Lourdes. In 1942, Msgr. McIntyre invited the sisters to teach at Cathedral High School. Six sisters joined the staff there in Septemmber, 1942.Some sisters were members if the Cathedral Staff until 1964. In 1943, Our Lady Of Lourdes Academy moved to West 79th Street. The name was changed to Notre Dame School.In 1989, the school moved to St. Mark’s Place in Greenwich Village, and then to its present location at East 13th St. In 1943, the sisters also took charge of St. Joseph’s school in Kingston. Since 1963, the Sisters have ministered at Linwood Spiritual Center in Rhinebeck, N.Y. which is also the site of their Regional Center. In 1925 the sisters had opened St. Ursula Academy in Kingston, N.Y. In 1966, Cardinal Spellman asked the sisters to take responsibility for John A. Coleman High School, a new Co-Educational High School in the Kingston Area.

Story submitted by Sr. Mary Walsh, s.u. (Sisters of St. Ursula)