St. Agnes Academy, Indianapolis (1892-1970)
Alumnae events for St. Agnes School are coordinated by Pat Douglass. Contact her for future reunion dates at email@example.com or by phone at 317-340-7550.
Connie Gualano is the alumnae/I relations manager for the Sisters of Providence. You may reach her at 812-535-2811 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
History of St. Agnes Academy, Indianapolis
In the state capitol, Bishop Silas Chatard was eager for the Sisters of Providence to open a first class girls’ academy. He bought the Conduit mansion across the street from St. Peter and Paul Cathedral on North Meridian Street. The Bishop bought the mansion for $26,000 and deeded it to the sisters in 1892. The Conduit house had to be renovated to make it a suitable academy. It was a typical Victorian mansion. Converting the frame building into school rooms was a heavy financial burden on the community of sisters, but it was done in hopes the school would become a leading academy in Indianapolis.
Sister Camilla Morrison was the first Superior and she was aided by 11 sisters. In 1893, Laura Byeher, age 12, was the first student to register. On June 7, 1897, the first three graduates from St. Agnes were May Reaume, Adelaide Thale and Mary Helmer. Each graduate gave an oral essay the day they graduated. After each essay was given, other students played instruments.
St. Agnes was a boarding school from 1893 until 1932. The boarders could only have Saturday visitors and no phone calls were permitted except from parents or guardians. Their extracurricular activities were projects planned from Sodality. In 1909, students began wearing uniforms. St. Agnes also became a grade school used by Cathedral. In 1908, a newer building was erected facing Meridian Street. The old mansion was moved behind the newer building. In November 1922, the old building, the Conduit mansion, was razed.
The last class to graduate from St. Agnes was in 1970. Letters in the archives tell of the lack of money to pay utilities at St. Agnes. Ladywood was well equipped to help. They had better facilities, and the larger enrollment would help Ladywood. The two schools merged to form Ladywood-St. Agnes in 1970.
A few years later, the sisters decided to give up ownership of the high schools. They sold Ladywood-St. Agnes to Cathedral High School with the agreement the new school would be a co-educational institution. A number of sisters remained on the Ladywood campus and continued to minister education and religion to the young men and women at Cathedral High School.