Happy Mother’s Day

Posted by Kacie Emmerson

May 13, 2023

IAs we celebrate Mother’s Day, it is important to honor the women who have made significant contributions to our society and helped shape the world we live in. One such woman is Mother Catherine Spalding, a pioneer of education, healthcare, and social services on the Kentucky frontier.

When Catherine was just 19 years old, she was elected leader of a new religious community, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, which was founded to provide education and healthcare to those in need. At the time, there was no education for girls, no private healthcare, and no organized social services in Kentucky. Despite these challenges, Catherine and her fellow sisters worked tirelessly to establish schools and hospitals, care for orphans, and provide aid to those in need.

Catherine’s dedication to her community and her mission was unwavering. She helped establish a school in Nelson County, which grew into the well-known Nazareth Academy, offering not only the usual “ladies’ accomplishments” but also a solid curriculum of arts and sciences. She also helped establish Presentation Academy in Louisville, which served children of all backgrounds, including the poor and the sick.

Catherine’s commitment to caring for orphans was particularly notable. She helped establish the St. Vincent Orphanage and later the St. Joseph Infirmary to care for those in need. Her love for the children in her care was palpable, and her tireless efforts to care for them earned her the nickname “mother” from those she helped.

Despite the many challenges she faced, Catherine remained a steadfast leader. She served multiple terms in leadership, strengthening the spirit of her community and defending its independent identity. She also oversaw the construction of a new church at Nazareth, which still stands.

As we celebrate Mother’s Day, let us remember and honor the countless women like Mother Catherine Spalding. Let us strive to follow in their footsteps, to serve with compassion and kindness, and to make a positive difference in the world around us.


  1. Leena Padam

    Thank you Kacie for the beautiful article ! It is indeed an inspiring call to celebrate our Mother’s day, the SCN family’s mother
    and follow her footsteps becoming as compassionate and committed as she was.

  2. Eugenie Coakley scna

    Very much enjoyed this article on Mother Catherine!

  3. Luke

    Beautiful article Kacie!
    Sr. Luke


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