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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.

2016 Reunion!

The 57th reunion of St. John Academy took place on Oct. 16, 2016. We hope you can attend next year!


On hand for the Oct. 16, reunion of the St. John Academy were (front, from left) Marie Powell Bottorff, Clare Eck Biggers, Shirleen Livers Reece, Sister Frances Edwards, Mary Henry McGill, (back) Nancy Gutgsell Hines, Mary Alice Smith Boschini, Betty Clossey Greiwe, Ann Sheridan Bordenkecher, Shirley Speer Spitz, Nona Hunter Dottery, Mary Jane Holloran, Glodene Carbin Carter, Beverly Schneider Watt and Father Rick Nagel.

During the event, 55 alumnae of the St. John Academy celebrated their annual reunion at St. John’s Church, with Mass and a brunch, under a set-up tent on a picture perfect afternoon. Of special note, the class of 1956 celebrated its 60-year reunion! Thanks to all the members of the class, who were hostesses during the reunion.


The 55th reunion of St. John Academy Alumnae took place on September 21, 2014.

Around 60 alumnae, spouses and guests attended the Eucharistic Liturgy in St. John Church followed by a delicious brunch served under a tent in the courtyard of St. John’s Church. Father Rick Nagel was the gracious host who provided this space for our use. The weather was perfect.

Mary Jane Maxwell Biro ’52, coordinator of the event, conducted the business aspect of our meeting. Rosie Blankenship, alumnae relations manager through the Mission Advancement office at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, gave an update concerning the permanent shrine of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. All were invited to the grand opening and celebration on October 25. She acquainted us with the other events that are planned throughout the year at the Providence Spirituality and Conference Center at the Woods. Rosie was instrumental in the printing and distribution of our invitations. We were the first group to receive a packet of ten cards with St. Mother Theodore’s sayings on them.

We want to extend our gratitude and appreciation to Mary Jane Biro ’52 for her many years of serving as coordinator and planner for our annual reunion. She has donea beautiful job along with many members.

The class of ’56 has graciously offered to “take charge” of the event in the future. The coordinator from that class will be Clare Eck Biggers.

We hope to see you next year to share fond memories of your days at “good old SJA.”


Reunion information

St. John will have their annual reunion Mass and Brunch Oct. 16, 2016. Brunch will be served in the courtyard of St. John’s Church. Check back here for details as they are available.

See the program from our 2013 reunion here.

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!

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