This year marks the 125th anniversary of the establishment of St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Curdsville, Kentucky. Located about fourteen miles from Owensboro, the first church was dedicated on December 11, 1887. St. Elizabeth has close ties with the Ursuline Sisters of Mount St. Joseph as the parochial school was taught by the sisters and many religious vocations have come from this parish.
The first teachers of St. Elizabeth. Not pictured is Sr. Alphonsa Wiggins.
In 1911, Reverend Joseph Wright petitioned Mother Aloysius Willett, Mother Superior of Mount St. Joseph, to furnish teachers for the school he planned to establish. Mother Aloysius accepted and work began. The Sweikart home located on the main road leading to Green River was purchased. This served as the school until 1938. From the beginning the sisters lived in a dwelling near the church that had been bought from Mr. Henry McCain. In 1935 Reverend John Glenn requested Mother Gonzaga Cotter to permit the sisters to reside at the Motherhouse and drive daily to the school. The sisters bore the expense of the transportation and continued in this fashion until 1955. A High School was provided for the years 1918-1934.
In 1938 Father John Glenn purchased the public school building and property opposite the road from St. Elizabeth Church which had been abandoned when it was consolidated with West Louisville Public School. St. Elizabeth School opened in this building in October 1938. Unhappily, on January 30, 1939 this building was destroyed by fire caused from a defective flue, although only two weeks prior the building had been declared in good condition by an inspector. Parishioners and residents of Curdsville aided in removing much of the furniture, but considerable difficulty was experienced in keeping the children from entering the burning building to save their personal possessions. At this time sixty-five students attended the school.
The original school building was again used as the school. The “old building” remained St. Elizabeth School until 1955. That year, Reverend Henry Willett built a new school on the site of the school building that had been destroyed. The school faced the church and was a six-room concrete block and brick veneer structure, all spread on one floor. The sisters took up residence in nearby quarters provided for them.
Ursuline Sisters continued to teach at St. Elizabeth until the school closed at the end of the 1972-1973 school year. From 1911 to1974, eighty-four Ursuline Sisters of Mount St. Joseph taught the children of St. Elizabeth. The parish has been a fruitful ground for religious vocations: twenty-one sisters (fifteen for Mount St. Joseph), one consecrated brother, and five priests for the Diocese of Owensboro.
Below is the letter written by Sr. Marie Therese regarding the fire.