Celebrating 150 years of the Ursuline Sisters at Maple Mount

In 2024, the Ursuline Sisters are celebrating 150 years since their arrival at Maple Mount! In 1874, five brave pioneer Ursuline Sisters from Louisville traveled by flatboat down the Ohio River to Owensboro, then rode another 15 miles on a wagon into the wilderness of western Daviess County to open Mount Saint Joseph Academy. In 2024, the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph continue to call Maple Mount home, the Motherhouse for Sisters who continue to minister in five states and in Chile, South America.

Throughout 2024, the Ursuline Sisters will continue to “Cultivate the Vine that Saint Angela Entrusted to Us.” As we celebrate this year, we ask that friends and supporters engage in acts of service and kindness wherever they live.

We will begin all our celebrations with this special prayer written just for the anniversary:

Gracious God,

With gratitude in our hearts, we celebrate 150 years of witness and service to your people.

Help us to honor the faithfulness of Father Paul Volk and Mothers Aloysius Willett, Jerome Schaub, and Mary Barbara Jacoby, whose vision and faithfulness inspire and ignite our response to serve.

We ask that you bless all the women and men who share our Spirituality, Charism, and Mission – Sisters, Associates, alumnae, supporters and friends.

We acknowledge that we are called to be sons and daughters of Angela, vines that continue to sprout new life with the unfolding creation of the Mount Saint Joseph Ursuline family.

May our legacy and lives be bold and courageous as we bring hope and light to the dark areas of our world, and share in solidarity with all creation.

With your grace let us be of one mind and heart, true to the past and open to the future.

Help us to live in peace and harmony with all who share this earthly home so that our witness to your presence and love will grow and touch the lives of many.

This we pray through Christ our Lord, Amen

Saint Angela, Pray for us.

Father Volk’s personal items on display

Pictured here are Father Volk’s hat, the cincture he wore around his neck, and a piece of his cassock made from black common cloth and silk fringe.

Throughout May, personal items of Father Paul Joseph Volk — the priest who brought the Ursuline Sisters to what is now Maple Mount in 1874 — are on display in the Motherhouse Chapel gathering space. The public is welcome to stop by to see them. You can learn more about the items below.

Father Volk’s items on display




Kickoff event January 27, 2024

See all the photos from the kickoff event, as well as the video of the program, performance of the play “Legacy Sisters,” and video of the Saint Angela Merici feast day Mass.

Kickoff event photos and videos

Watch the performance of “Legacy Sisters”

History videos

On the 15th of each month, a new video chronicling the history of the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph is posted on the website. Here are links to each of those videos:

Watch the Feb. 15 History video posted on Feb. 15

Watch the March 15 history video chronicling 1885-1895

Watch the April 15  video spanning 1896-1906

Watch the May 15 video covering 1907-1917

“Divine Light” video on the history of the Motherhouse Chapel stained glass windows


Each of the stained glass windows in the Motherhouse Chapel has a story. This video takes you on a tour of the windows, the people featured in them, and the story of how they came to be.

Watch “Divine Light”





Upcoming ways to celebrate

A violin student at the Music Camp in 1990.

June 7-9: Music at Maple Mount Reunion: One of the most ambitious events of the year is a reunion of the participants of the Greater Owensboro Summer Music Camp, better known as “Music at Maple Mount.” A tradition each June from 1975-2005, Maple Mount was home to music students from around the country, as well as nationally known musicians. Register now to let us know you are coming. The deadline to register is May 24.:

Music at Maple Mount Reunion Registration

June 22: The annual Associates and Sisters Day will incorporate the theme of “Cultivating the Vine Saint Angela Entrusted to Us.”

August 11: A Solemn Anniversary Mass will be celebrated on the Sunday closest to the anniversary of the pioneer Sisters’ arrival date – with the Most Rev. William Medley, Bishop of the Diocese of Owensboro, presiding. Other bishops, priests, and women religious from Kentucky and the states where the Sisters have served will be invited, as well as many supporters of the Sisters. Afterward will be a short program on the site of the former Academy building, followed by lunch in Maple Hall for the many invited guests.

August 24-25: Annual Alumnae Weekend for those who attended Mount Saint Joseph Academy, also incorporating the anniversary theme.

September 8: Quilt Bingo, the largest public event of the year, returns along with the drawing for the winners of the Mount Raffle.

October 19: Former Ursuline Sisters will be invited to a reunion, the first since 2010, which will also feature a liturgy.

November 25: To close the anniversary year, a prayer service for just the Ursuline Sisters will be celebrated on the Feast of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, the date Saint Angela Merici founded her Order of Saint Ursula.

Ways to Serve with the Sisters

As part of the celebration year, all of our friends and supporters are invited to join us and engage in acts of service and kindness. We are setting a goal of a collaborative effort with those whose lives were touched by an Ursuline Sister as we move forward with various acts of serving others.

Sisters, Ursuline Associates, alumnae, and friends of the community are asked to identify a need in their communities and offer acts of service and kindness around the number 150 and the core values of hospitality, prayer, service, empowerment, justice, and contemplative presence.

Be creative, and send a photo with a participant engaging in these acts of service. We will chronicle and celebrate your efforts in honor of the Ursuline Sisters’ years of dedication and service to God’s people. Here are some photos of 11 Confirmation candidates from St. William and St. Lawrence parishes in eastern Daviess County, Ky., serving lunch to residents of the Boulware Center on Feb. 17, 2024. The Boulware Center serves the homeless population in Owensboro, Ky., and seeks to help them become self-sufficient.

Some possible acts of service could be:

  • Creating care packages for families affected by recent disasters. When possible, deliver them in person
  • Praying 150 rosaries for residents in health care facilities
  • Reading 150 books to children in afterschool or foster care programs
  • Participating in 150 holy hours before the Blessed Sacrament as gifts to loved ones for their special occasions – anniversaries, birthdays and Christmas
  • Baking goodies and visiting with people who live alone
  • Painting 150 cheerful messages on rocks and leaving them at random places to spread joy
  • Babysitting for parents who need a break
  • Picking up trash in your neighborhood regularly
  • Writing letters to advocate for policy changes
  • Donating 150 items to your local food bank
  • Sending “thinking of you’ cards to those who need encouragement.

The possibilities are unlimited when you engage others with your creativity.

Over the past 150 years, the Ursuline Sisters have been instrumental in the foundation of opportunities to promote equitable opportunities and equal rights for all. Volunteering or offering a donation to any of these organizations listed below, or selecting your favorite charity, is a great way to meet new people, share your time and gifts, and give back to the community in the name of the Ursuline Sisters.

  • Dianna Ortiz Ursuline Center for Women at Casa Ursulina in Chillan, Chile.
  • Hispanic Ministry of the Diocese of Owensboro, formerly “Centro Latino” in Owensboro, Kentucky.
  • Lakemary Center in Paola, Kansas
  • NETWORK– Social Justice Advocacy Group in Washington, D.C.
  • Saint Benedict Homeless Shelter in Owensboro, Kentucky
  • Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC) in Washington, D.C.
  • Water With Blessings in Louisville, Kentucky

Please contact Dan Heckel at [email protected] to send photos of your acts of service or kindness, or if you need further information.