St. Benedict's Academy (1883-1909); St. Benedict's Monastery (convent), St. Joseph, Minnesota. Academy class of 1883-1884, front row sitting left to right: Neville Ensor, Mary Schwartz, Elizabeth Spies, Tillie Keppers, Barbara Venne, Margaret Sanz, Ursula Glatzmeier, Anna Herron, Bertha Linnemann, Carrie Smith, Alta Letson, Frances Pfannenstein, Lena Bernick, Mary Rhodes, Lucretia Mutschlechner. Second row sitting: Rose Black, Mary Merten, Anna Brockmann, Theresa Schreiner, Margaret Klein, Stella LaComb, Margaret Kerst, Josephine Friend, Anna Wagner; (Third row sitting): Anna Kahl, Laura Bosworth, Margaret Lauermann, Magdalen Theisen, Barbara Eich; (First row standing): Eliza Darbelly, Louisa Maurin, Sister Alexia Kerst, Mary Roach, Clara Otto, Mary Kennedy; (Second row standing - next to building): Johanna Madigan, Mary Brockmann, Jennie McLean, Sister Bonaventure Kapsner, Margaret Claesgens, Margaret Farrell, Sarah Farrell, Louise Wall, Mattie Bosworth, Josie Smith, Mary Zimmer, Sarah Kelly, Lavina Huber, Sister Pius Roche, Sister Celestine Marschall, Josie Gerard, Mary Hoffmann. While the sisters rejoiced at the increasing enrollment, they were concerned about maintaining a small enough number to assure a homey atmosphere and a community spirit. In the early 1880s, because many of the students were of grade-school age, there was a built-in family atmosphere in the academy. Gradually, however, the academy drew students of high school age and older; by 1909, the academy was ready to consider offering college classes (Saint Benedict's Monastery Archives).
First 5O years of the College of Saint Benedict (CSB). At first the college shared the facilities of the academy in Cecilia and Gertrude Halls. Cecilia Hall, built in 1881, is described in the 1926 College Bulletin: "Five dining halls with service rooms occupy the basement floor, five reception rooms the first floor, seventeen music practice rooms and five teacher's studios the second, while the third was remodeled in 1924 into a residence hall with an infirmary area. The private rooms are furnished with vanity dressers, tables and settees; each has a large private wardrobe and hot and cold water. A trained nurse is at all times in charge of the perfectly equipped infirmary. A secluded cottage (infirmary/guest house) on the campus, also in charge of a trained nurse, is used in case of contagious illness." Gertrude Hall, built in 1898, is also lauded in the 1926 College Bulletin: "In the basement is the service room fitted with the most convenient shampooing apparatus, irons, electric attachements, etc.--also cloak rooms, locker rooms, a stationery store, a confectionery store, and a kitchenette fully equipped for the serving of light lunches or 'spreads.' On the first floor are administration offices and the chemical and physical laboratories. . . On the second floor is the botanical laboratory and classrooms, well-lighted and each furnished with a special library open to the use of the students. The third floor provides airy pleasant dormitories for those who do not wish to rent private rooms." However, many of the activities of the college centered in the two new buildings, Teresa Hall and Sacred Heart Chapel, which were as up-to-date as Benedicta Arts Center and Regina Hall seem to us now - perhaps more so. Teresa Hall was the height of luxury! It had a library on 1st floor, an auditorium/study hall on 2nd floor, a rotunda (residence area) on 3rd and 4th floors (where some rooms had private baths and every bedroom had hot and cold water) and a gymnasium on the ground floor. (Gable, OSB) The chapel inspired by new architecture, very moderate baroque with its Carrara statues and Sienna marble pillars from Italy (and majestic, granite pillars from Rockville, MN), was a perfect example of its baroque type -- Newman's favorite. However, the college faculty was concerned about the later interior decorating of the chapel. In 1958, members of the art department, Sisters Johanna Becker and Jacquelyn Dubay as art consultants, helped the community restore some of the chapel's original lightness which had seemed so right in the beginning. (Gable, OSB)
Construction of Sacred Heart Chapel, St. Benedict's Monastery (October 21, 1912). An enclosed cloister walk was constructed to connect the second level of the south side of the chapel to the second level of Teresa Hall at the college. An enclosed cloister walk connecting the second level of the north side of the chapel to Marmion Hall (formation house) was also in the plans. Because later photographs show this south court area without a cloister walk, it may be assumed that the construction workers had to remove the cloister walk shown in progress in this photograph, probably to give more space for the ensuing construction work. However, photographs of early 1914 show that the enlosed north and south cloister walks were added to the chapel immediately upon the completion of the chapel.
Construction of Sacred Heart Chapel, St. Benedict's Monastery (October 28, 1912). One week after the steel girders for the inner walls were installed, the steel supports for the stained glass windows were in place.
Early ventures in St. Joseph, Minnesota (1880-1890). Because the government opened the contract for any number of students to attend St. Benedict's Industrial School, an addition was constructed on the west end of Marmion Hall so that the building could accommodate 150 students. When in 1896, the government dropped the contract system of Indian education, the school remained open for two more years when it was forced to close due to lack of funds. The west addition to Marmion Hall was then converted to a school for little boys (ages 6-12), often referred to as "Bethlehem School for Boys." The sisters reserved the east end of Marmion for the formation of its new members (Saint Benedict's Monastery Archives; McDonald, page 122).
Aerial view of St. Benedict's Monastery. This aerial view (taken 30 years after the construction of the chapel) shows how the Sacred Heart Chapel, though constructed at the back door of the convent, became the center of the campus. The Scholasticate (now Rosamond North) was built immediately west of Marmion for potential candidates, many of whom came to attend high school. Farther west, St. Walburg's was built to house the vestment and sewing departments, as well as to provide living quarters for some sisters. A garage replaced the farm buildings near the tower. However, it took another 15 years to move all of the farm buildings farther west.