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Timeline of Alverno College History

1874

In 1874 the School Sisters of St. Francis arrived in Wisconsin led by Mother Alexia Hoell and Mother Alfons Schmid. They settled in New Cassel (now Campbellsport), Wisconsin.

 

This is a black and white photo of School Sister of St. Francis Foundress, Mother Alexia Hoell.

Mother Alexia Hoell, Co-foundress of the School Sisters of St. Francis

 

This is a black and white photo of School Sisters of St. Francis Co-foundress, Mother Alfons Schmid

Mother Alfons Schmid, Co-foundress of the School Sisters of St. Francis

 

 

This is a black and white photo of a drawing of the New Cassel (Campbellsport) Motherhouse.

This is the New Cassel motherhouse.

1886 - 1887

As the Sisters’ numbers grew, a new convent was needed to accommodate their flourishing order.  Their new home was eventually built in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on a parcel of land that was purchased in 1886. The new convent and grounds, built near Milwaukee’s southwest city limits, would be the future home to the St. Joseph Normal School, the precursor of Alverno College.

 

This is a photo of the old School Sisters of St. Francis Milwaukee Motherhouse from the book, "He Sent Two."

This image is from the book, He Sent Two: The Story of the Beginning of the School Sisters of St. Francis by Sister Mary Francis Borgia, O.S.F. The book, which was published in 1965, is part of the Alverno College Library collection, call # 271.973 R846.

 

In 1887 in a wing of the convent, St. Joseph's Normal School, the precursor of Alverno College was founded to teach School Sisters of St. Francis to be parish teachers. Mother Alexia Hoell is considered the first president of Alverno College (1887-1995) as she acted in that capacity at the Normal School.

 


 

1890

 

In 1890,  St. Joseph Normal School received a charter from the state of Wisconsin to grant degrees.

 

 

The first Motherhouse of the School Sisters of St. Francis was destroyed by fire on March 31, 1890.

 

These are the ruins of the first School sisters of St. Francis motherhouse which was destroyed by fire on March 31, 1890.

1891

 

The sisters had the Motherhouse rebuilt. It was completed and opened on January 5, 1891.

 

This is a photo of the rebuilt School sisters of St. Francis motherhouse.

This image is also from the book, He Sent Two: The Story of the Beginning of the School Sisters of St. Francis by Sister Mary Francis Borgia, O.S.F.  The book, which was published in 1965, is part of the Alverno College Library collection, call # 271.973 R846.

 

This second structure eventually housed Alverno Teachers College and St. Joseph Convent Conservatory of Music. The Motherhouse still stands at 1501 S. Layton Blvd. Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is now known as the St. Joseph Center. It still serves as the World Headquarters for the School Sisters of Saint Francis.

1893

 

In 1893, the School Sisters of St. Francis established Sacred Heart Sanitarium. Built on land adjacent to the Motherhouse, it opened its doors in December of that year.

 

This is a black and white photo of Sacred Heart Sanitarium

Sacred Heart Sanitarium would become the future home of Sacred Heart School of Nursing (precursor to the JoAnn McGrath School of Nursing) which was established in 1930.