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Friday, August 17, 2012

Memories Live On at the Hilltop

Convent of the Sacred Heart ~ St. Joseph, MO

Recently a donation along with a note was received at the AASH office in St. Louis from a 1939 alumna of the Convent of the Sacred Heart in St. Joseph Missouri affectionately called "Hilltop" due to its location. The school which open its doors on June 12, 1853 was closed in 1960.  All the religious once buried on the property were moved to Mount Olivet Cemetery and the building was  razed to make way for an apartment complex.  However, the memories have obviously not faded nor the federation, spirit and service of its alumnae.

The note read as follows:
"Dear Ones, How is everybody doing in AASH? This year I was 90 years old and still coordinating the food pantry - been there for 28 1/2 years.  Many hungry people, too many in fact. I just put all my fears in the hand of the Sacred Heart and the Blessed Mother.  Rev. Mother Celeste Thompson once said at Hilltop. 'The Blessed Mother is most a Mother when you need her most.' How true. I thank God for my Sacred Heart training at Hilltop.  Love to all, Marie Johannes Lederer"

In an upcoming blog I'll write more about Rev. Mother Celeste Thompson.  If you have a favorite memory of a special RSCJ, please write a comment below and let me know.


  1. My very favorite "Mother" at school and for the rest of her life was Mother Mary Ranney at 91st Street in NYC. She was there for the entire 12 years I attend and I stayed in contact with her for the rest of her life. She was the BEST EVER!!

    However, I have a fun story about Mother Saul from 91st Street. I don't know her "Sister" name but we "little ones" (grade 1-4) were invited to visit her in her office every morning. One morning I brought in my new nun doll to show to her. She promptly turned her upside down and said in a horrified voice - "she has no stockings on, leave her with me." She kept her for the day and painted her legs black!!! She was wonderful too!

    Truly, the greatest gift in my life was my Sacred Heart education.

    Dorie Holloran Kelly
    91st Street, NYC 1949-1961

  2. I enjoyed researching Mother Mary Ranney, RSCJ and found this wonderful video. Mother Ranney has a cameo appearance -

    Thank you Dorie for your comments! MER :)

  3. Thank you so much for finding that piece, I've been looking for it. Any chance you can keep it on your website?

    How is one supposed to fill out the section below that says "Comment As?" None of those choices make any sense to me.

    Dorie Holloran Kelly

    1. Dorie - RE: "comment as" I'm not certain. A good question which I will have to pose to some techy folks. I will the leave the link up that features Mother Ranney. What a very special RSCJ indeed! thank you for sharing. MER :)

  4. I thought that you might enjoy the poem that I wrote for the 50th reunion of CSH El Cajon. We shared so many happy memories.
    Convent Girls

    50 years have come and gone, it was the best of times;
    Our study halls and SATs, our adolescent crimes
    The white gloves that we had to wear, and Reverend Mother's feast.
    A congé might be in the works, when we'd expect it least.

    The clacking of the signal, when we had to get in line
    The boarders using flashlights, to study after nine.
    The day-hops rolling up their skirts when they got on the bus
    The shared and special history that makes you one of us.

    The competitions that we had, as tests, or for a team
    The curtsies every Monday as we took our cards at Prîmes
    The Mistress General coaxing, "Would you like to be a nun?"
    Like talking to a brick wall,- we were having so much fun.

    We knew, at graduation, that we would meet again
    To share, and to remember, when our lives were "Trés Bien".

    Kathy Lundy Derengowski -2011

    1. Kathy - I enjoyed reading your poem and have posted it for all to read! Thank you for sharing! I hope you'll consider bringing a group of SH alums to Omaha in April 2013 as we will celebrate 80 years of AASH! MER :)

  5. I am a 1957 graduate of the Convent of the Sacred Heart in St. Joseph, Mo. I was so saddened when I heard they had torn down this wonderful school. As well, I have often wondered what happened to the beautiful statue of our beloved "Mater" that was in the school corridor.

    1. The beloved Mater statue that once was located at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in St. Joseph , MO (known as "Hilltop") now resides at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest, IL MER :)

    2. Thank you! Would it be possible to get a picture of the statue. I remember it very well, but would love to have a picture. Thank you! We girls would make a vist every morning on the way to the chapel before we started our day. I remember she wore pink and had a staff by her side as though weaving from wool.

    3. While at Woodlands Academy for their Winter Wonderwalk, I took a photo of the Mater statue that was originally at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in St. Joseph, MO and will post it this month. Today is the anniversary of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat's birthday!

    4. Thank you so very much...will look forward to seeing this.
      God Bless

    5. I have posted the photo of the Mater Admirabilis statue along with a song written by Sacred Heart alumna Agatha Pfeiffer to my blog post dated March 2, 2014 in honor of National Women's History Month. MER

  6. Born at a time when my father was employed as the handyman at the Convent, in St. Joseph. My first 5 years were as a resident! My parents had an apartment above the Laundry! being the only child on the campus, it was only logical, that I had free run of the grounds and the Convent! Yes, I ran up and down the residence halls. Was serving Mass and Benedictions weekly at the Chapel, even after we moved from the Hilltop! While a student at the St. Joseph, Cathedral, was not old enough to be and Altar server. (only allowed to "patten" while the older boys served. The smile, I was serving at the Chapel, for priests of the Cathedral! Upon joining the US Navy in 1958, Mother Thompson made us welcome at the college! Continued to maintain contact with Mother Regin for years. Only problem, I would get my letters returned with her missive. (only now, mine were heavily "RED LINED!" My oldest daughter was consecrated at the chapel in Cincinnati! Where our last visit with Mother Regin was July 1959! We joined the Residents in the lounge to watch the return of the space capsule! Thank you, all those who have passed, that helped make me what I am today! 75, July 28!

  7. Thank you for sharing your very early memories as a resident of the Convent of the Sacred Heart in St. Joseph, MO better known as "Hilltop". I'm sure the RSCJ appreciated your father with keeping the building in tip top shape. And, it sure sounds like they enjoyed watching you grow into a young man. Wising you a Happy Birthday next month!