St. Columba School in Louisville was opened in 1907 (a time when the Diocese of Owensboro did not yet exist) and was started with two Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph and nineteen pupils. Sisters Martina Clements and Patricia Cummins had quite the work cut out for them. As Sister Patricia said upon their arrival, “We spied an old shack in the railroad yards but we found it hard to believe that this was to be the school. When we drew nearer we descried a bell on top the old shack and this led us to believe that this might be our ‘Egypt.’ Indeed, we felt sure of it when we saw the pastor, surrounded by children, put his head from the window.
“We had no desks that year, but the children seemed very happy sitting on the kneeling benches using their laps or the seats of the pews for their desks. The teachers never sat, as we had no chairs, desks, nor tables. Father called us ‘The Ionian Club’ because St. Columba, for whom he had named the school, had labored in Ionia, a wild part of Ireland.”
The Ursuline Sisters continued to teach at St. Columba until 1982, having served the community for seventy-five years. Below are pencil drawings of the sisters who were there in 1933. The artist is unknown, but he or she certainly gives a glimpse of inside jokes!