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Time capsule spawns memories of former Catholic High School in Terre Haute

Memorabilia connected to the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, has been recovered in a time capsule at a former convent that has been razed.

Owners of the property where the former Paul C. Schulte High School stands recently decided to raze the former convent built in 1958 for Sisters of Providence who taught at the school. Necessary renovations exceeded the value of the building. The former school, which now serves as an office complex on Terre Haute’s east side, remains intact.

During demolition, contractors found a time capsule in the cornerstone. The capsule had numerous well-preserved items pertaining to the school and to the Sisters of Providence. Among those were photographs of Rev. Mother Gertrude Clare Owens, who was the general superior at the time; the Rev. Joseph Beechem, the school’s principal; a Saint Mother Theodore Guerin relic prayer card; a biographical pamphlet about Saint Mother Theodore, a list of the school faculty and council members, and newspaper clippings.

Sister Estelle Scully, a native of Evanston, Illinois, is the only sister still alive who was assigned to Schulte High School when the convent was built.

“I lived in a little house across the street from Schulte when we first went there. We all lived in a little bungalow there and three of us slept in the garage,” Sister Estelle told the Terre Haute Tribune-Star in an interview.

When it was built, “We were thrilled to death. When we moved into the new convent, we also had a lovely chapel. We could practically walk right into the school. It wasn’t exotic, but was just what we needed.”

Sister Estelle taught English and Spanish at Schulte for about four years. She also taught journalism and helped start the school newspaper. She also taught at schools in Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, and she also had ministries in Illinois, California, Colorado, Florida, Arkansas, New York, Washington, D.C., and Wyoming.

Schulte High School was named for former Indianapolis Archbishop Paul C. Schulte. It closed in 1977. The property is owned by the Hulman family of Terre Haute.

About the Sisters of Providence

The Sisters of Providence, a congregation of 214 women religious, with 300 Providence Associates, collaborate with others to create a more just and hope-filled world through prayer, education, service and advocacy. The Sisters of Providence have their motherhouse at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, located just northwest of downtown Terre Haute, Ind., which is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1840. Today, Sisters of Providence minister in 13 states, the District of Columbia and Asia, through works of love, mercy and justice. More information about the Sisters of Providence and their ministries can be found at SistersofProvidence.org.

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Sisters of Providence

The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, are a congregation of Roman Catholic women religious (sisters) who minister throughout the United States and Taiwan. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence in 1840. The congregation has a mission of being God's Providence in the world by committing to performing works of love, mercy and justice in service among God's people.

Media contact

For inquiries or information, contact Jason Moon at jmoon@spsmw.org or 812-535-2810.

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