St. John was the first Catholic School in Indianapolis. It included both grade and high school. The pastor at St. John’s, Reverend Augustine Bessonies, requested the service of the Sisters of Providence to staff the schools. At first, with only 80 students, the outlook for the high school was dim. Later boarding pupils came from Edinburg, Martinsville, Franklin and nearby towns to increase the enrollment.
Shortly after the school was established, the Civil War broke out. At the request of Governor Oliver Morton the Sisters of Providence took over the administration of the military hospital. The sisters, students of St. John Academy and members of the parish helped the three sister-nurses, who lived at St. John’s Convent, with their support.
In 1872, a three-story building was begun to replace the original school. This building was razed in 1959 when the school closed due to changing economic conditions. “Good old St. John’s” was the source of many vocations to the sisterhood, many excellent students for higher education, and many excellent wives, mothers and business women in the city of Indianapolis.
“Rain, rain, go away!” This could be heard by the “girls of St. John’s” who gathered to celebrate the annual reunion on Sept. 29, 2013. The brunch was to take place in St. John’s Courtyard (parking lot) under a tent. However, the rain changed the venue to the basement of the rectory.
Father Rick Nagel, pastor of St. John’s Church, with a few helpers, moved the tables downstairs. After a beautiful Eucharistic Liturgy in St. John’s Church, 68 alumnae proceeded to the basement and had an interesting, fun time with classmates. Brunch was catered by IndyAnna’s and college students served tea and coffee.
Mary Jane Maxwell Biro ’52, chairperson of the event, honored the classes of ’48, ’53 and ’58. The next event involving the alumnae will be the closing celebration of the 175th Anniversary of St. John’s Church.
St. John’s holds their annual reunion Mass and Brunch during September or October each year. Check back soon for details.
Photos from Reunion 2013
You can see more St. John’s activity on their Facebook page. Thanks to St. John’s Church for providing these photos!