In this 175th year commemorating the arrival of the Ursulines to the fledgling state of Ohio, we invite you to celebrate with us the gift of education envisioned by Julia and her Companions that continues enriching the lives of each individual influenced through the Ursuline legacy.
In 1845, Julia Chatfield and her 10 companions arrived from France to begin the story of the Ursulines in Ohio. At age 36, having sacrificed her family, her country and her beloved Boulogne Ursulines, she traveled to the wilderness of the “New World” to provide education for the children of the pioneering immigrants. The legacy she established encompasses two Ursuline Congregations, the foundation of educational institutions- ranging from preschool through college, as well as service in parishes located throughout the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Her example of Faith, Courage and Vision have been the hallmark of the Ursulines in Southwest Ohio and beyond. The men and women educated by the Brown County Ursulines have been instrumental in creating a better world based on the values and example of the Sisters.
On July 21st of 1845 the Ursulines arrived in St. Martin, which was a village of French and Irish settlers at the northern tip of Brown County. John Baptist Purcell, Archbishop of Cincinnati, offered the Ursulines a tract of land that had been a part of the Virginia Military Land Grant deeded to the Archdiocese by General John Lytle. So much did they identify with the spirit of their new environment that they became known as the Ursulines of Brown County. Their superior, Mother Julia Chatfield, also known as Notre Mere, was assisted by Pauline Laurier, in religion, Mother Stanislaus, one of her companions.
The Sisters settled themselves in the small building that had previously housed a few seminarians. They advertised for students in the August issue of the Catholic Telegraph Register, and in October opened their school. Fifteen boarders were as many as they could house at first, and soon there was a sizable group of youngsters from the local area to populate a day school. Their mission was launched.
(Adapted from: The Legacy of Mother Julia Chatfield, OSU)