Connections to the Mount lead many to secure a memorial brick

Emily and Jose’ Solorza have a special connection with Mount Saint Joseph – it’s where Jose proposed in the summer of 2019. On Friday, June 23, 2023, the couple returned to Maple Mount with their 8-month-old daughter Ruth to take home a tangible piece of the Mount for their memories.

June 23 was the first distribution day for the bricks memorializing the former Mount Saint Joseph Academy and later Retreat Center. The bricks were collected from the original Academy built in 1874, and include a certificate of authenticity. Many people with their own connections to the Mount came to pick up their bricks from 9 to 11 a.m., but none had quite the story of the Solorzas.

The two were volunteers at the Christian Leadership Institute in 2017, which brought high school students from across the Diocese of Owensboro to the Retreat Center to help develop their leadership potential. It also resulted in a budding romance for Emily and Jose’.

When Jose’ decided to propose to Emily in the summer of 2019, he knew there would be no better place to do so than at the Mount. He contacted Sister Mary Matthias Ward, then director of the Retreat Center, to help carry out his plan. Sister Mary Matthias allowed the families a place to hide and watch the proposal, and treated them to a celebration afterward in the Retreat Center.

Emily’s mother, Michele Linn, bought a commemorative brick for the couple.

“My mother-in-law wanted us to have a piece of the Mount since it meant so much to us,” Jose’ said.

Some of the people picking up their bricks had family ties to the Mount, while others had professional connections.

Jenny Stelmach came to pick up two bricks, one for herself and one for her sister. Her parents – Todd and Pat Stelmach – met at Mount Saint Joseph. Pat attended the Academy and Todd was raised at the Mount, where his parents worked at the dairy and in the kitchen.

Steve Troutman was on the faculty at the Academy in the early 1980s, leaving in 1982, the year before the school closed. He was one of the few men to work at the all-girl’s Academy, and wanted a remnant to recall those days.

The next distribution day for bricks is Saturday, July 22, 2023, between 9-11 a.m. To secure up to three bricks, with a recommended donation of $25 per brick, click the link below. The bricks must be picked up in person, they cannot be shipped.

Secure your Memorial Brick


  1. Michele Morek

    Oh, what great stories! I have my own little tiny piece of a brick; I put it in my pocket for luck and a prayer, when I went to Louisville to ask Sister Amelia to come be the director of the retreat center!

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