200 Years at Nazareth

Posted by Spalding Hurst

June 10, 2022

On June 11, 1822, the Sisters of Charity moved to the Nazareth property. They left all they had built during their ten years at St. Thomas and traveled through Bardstown to their new home, which like their first one, they call Nazareth. In 2022, we are celebrating the 200th anniversary of that move. 

In 1822, Nazareth was a 137.2-acre farm, three miles north of Bardstown. The only real house on the property was used by Rev. Lapsley, a Presbyterian minister, who had owned the farm, which the Sisters bought in late 1821. Scattered around the farm were some small cabins, sheds, and probably a barn or two. 

When the Sisters received word from Bishop Flaget, in 1821, that they could not even own the land on which they had built at St. Thomas, Mother Agnes Higdon was the Mother Superior; Mother Catherine Spalding had finished her six years in office and was training the young women who were entering the community. The big problem that faced the two Mothers and the Sisters was that they had spent all their savings on the buildings at St. Thomas. At this moment of great need, God provided! A wealthy woman from Baltimore joined the community, and with her money, the Sisters purchased the farm. This woman, Sister Scholastica O’Connor, was the first to die at Nazareth and the first buried here. Her lovely grandfather’s clock, which stands in Heritage Hall and still keeps perfect time, was the only clock on the property for many years. 

May these early Sisters continue to inspire and bless all of us!


  1. Sister Martha Bourne

    I was most certainly inspired by the early Nazareth women. It was at Nazareth that I spent 3 of the most important important years of my life: My last 2 years of college and 1 year of House Mother in the new college dorm, separate from the Mother House building. It was at Nazareth that I discovered who I really am and what God was calling me to be. As much as I fell in love with the SCN’s, I felt and answered the call to join the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic. In fact, the first Maryknoll Srs. I ever met I met at Nazareth. Knowing and loving your foundress and the diversity of the Naz student body was another link drawing me to Maryknoll. One of the biggest honors for me as a ‘Naz girl’ was, in 1959, my graduation year, to crown the statue of our Lady at the entrance to the Nazareth Mother House.

  2. Mary Beth McCurdy

    Time and trust in Providence continues to beat in your hearts across the globe!!


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