Academy of Notre Dame
A tribute to Mary: Our Advocate and Protector at The Academy of Notre Dame (1925-1972)
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided.
The Alumnae of the Academy of Notre Dame fondly remember the Marian Education provided by The School Sisters of Notre Dame who dedicated the new all-girls’ high school in 1925. Its stately presence was located at 6400 West Main Street, Belleville, Illinois. Not only did our education reflect Our Lady, it permeated the regal brick walls and surrounding courtyards. Statues of Our Lady of Fatima and the children greeted us as we entered the grounds, and, in the back, a grotto with a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes watched as we departed. Beautiful stained glass windows depicting Mary – Queen of Angels and Saints - cast shards of color around the beautiful, white alabaster altar in the Academy’s sanctuary - built in honor of Mary, Mother of God. The buildings were also named for Mary – Annunciation, Visitation and Regina Halls. Statues and paintings of Our Blessed Mother were nestled along hallways and in alcoves – Our Lady of Perpetual Help, The Madonna, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
Many of the school events inspired this confidence to Mary: the Sodality Queen, The Living Rosary, May Day Celebrations, Ring Day, and Mary ND. Other events included Retreat Days, Mission Day, and Field Day. There were award-winning publications and productions: The Read-a-Wee newspaper, the yearbook, the one-act plays, and the yearly school musical. There were also service clubs to join – the sodality, the mission club, the student council, future homemakers, teachers and nurses clubs, a girls’ athletic association and more.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
Thousands of young women graduated from the Academy. The effects of the Rosa Mystica were instilled within us: The more we were prepared to walk the path with Mary, the path she walked herself, with inner devotion and complete abandonment to the Will of the Father, the more we imitated what were contained in the mysteries of the Holy Rosary, the more we shall then "receive what they promise"
Many graduates of the Academy continue to walk the path with Mary. Memories of a time and place unique to our faith live on in our hearts and in this room dedicated to
The Academy of Notre Dame.
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