100th Anniversary of Mother Aloysius Willett’s Death

The Ursuline Sisters celebrated the life of Mother Aloysius Willett on Oct. 1, 2020, the 100th anniversary of the death of the community’s first mother superior.

Mother Aloysius led the community beginning in 1905, when it was still part of the Ursulines of Louisville, and was elected the first superior following the independence of Mount Saint Joseph in 1912. She greatly expanded where the Ursulines served as teachers, first across Kentucky, then into Indiana, Nebraska and New Mexico. She agreed to send Sisters to Missouri in 1921 before her death from a heart attack while on a trip to California.

The Mount Archives staff had several items on display and maple treats for the Sisters in the morning, and the Sisters celebrated a special Mass at 11:15. Much of the music focused on Native Americans, because it was in 1919 that Mother Aloysius sent her Sisters to New Mexico to open three schools. The Sisters served continuously in New Mexico for 100 years. Four Sisters who served in New Mexico – Sisters Marie Montgomery, Michael Ann Monaghan, Elaine Burke and Sara Marie Gomez – presented the gifts at Mass.

In the afternoon, Sister Larraine Lauter, executive director of Water With Blessings, led an online discussion sharing what her ministry is doing to bring clean water to the Navajo nation that has been devastated by Covid-19. Here are photos from the day.


  1. Christine Pasqual Sims

    Wish I could have been there for this celebration! Yes the Ursulines definitely made a difference in the lives and education of many Native American children, including me, my own family members, siblings, cousins, and my own children. Many of these students have gone on to become tribal leaders, lawyers, videographers, social workers, teachers and university professors, pharmacists, artists and more! St. Joseph School in San Fidel, New Mexico is still standing and while the Ursulines are no longer there, so many Sisters who taught us are still alive in our collective memories. Just as fondly, Sacred Heart Academy in Waterflow, New Mexico still reminds me of life with the Sisters and the girls we lived with in the dorms. Our prayers and best wishes go out to the Sisters who served us for many years in NM and the southwest!

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