1953 Is Golden Anniversary Year For Academy -- History Recalled

--excerpted from Coeur d'Alene Press, Friday, May 22, 1953; page 6.
Full-page spread with 15 photos

On July 3, 1903, two Catholic nuns, wearing the blue habits of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, stepped out of a surrey which had brought them 30 miles from Spokane. Sister M Clement and Sister M Zita came at the urgent invitation of Rev Thomas J PURCELL, a pioneer priest at Coeur d'Alene, to consider introducing Catholic education to the town. They came from Tillamook, Oregon, where the order had opened a school in 1897. They traveled from Portland to Spokane by stage coach. The visit by the "Blue Sisters" --as they were known in Tillamook-- resulted in a promise from the Mother Superior, Mother M Cyril at Scranton PA, that four nuns would be sent here to open the school, even though it meant closing their seven-year-old school in Tillamook.

Sister Clement, superior at Tillamook, arrived on September 5 (or 15), 1903, along with Sisters M Dositheus, M Justine, and M Maria. Sister Maria was soon called east by her mother's final illness. Sisters M Doloriata and M Norbert arrived later in the fall of 1903.

Coeur d'Alene's first Catholic School, named St Cyril's, opened its doors Sept 16, 1903, quartered in a four-room frame building located on Indiana Avenue between Fourth and Fifth Streets. 64 students registered. The numbers, coupled with the small building, prompted the nuns to look for larger quarters.

When the property of Fort Sherman was offered for sale at an auction, James W GRAHAM represented the nuns and bought the military hospital. This three-story building was moved from the fort grounds to the block between Ninth & Tenth Streets and Coeur d'Alene & Indiana Avenues. The land was donated by Major J J O'BRIEN. This building served as convent, residence hall and music department for the school. At this time [date unknown], the school was re-named the Academy of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. For years, a white picket fence surrounded the property, later replaced with a brick wall.

Later, the former opera house at the fort was purchased by Mr STACK, a local lumberman, and moved to the school grounds at the southeast corner of Ninth & Indiana. This two-story building housed classrooms and dormitories for students.

In 1905, a high school department was added, followed in 1907 by its first graduation when the class was composed of one member -- Miss Florence MIMS, who resided in Seattle in 1953.

Sister Clement continued as superior of the school for most of the first 18 years. She died on February 14, 1921. Through 1953, eight others served as Sister Superior: Sister M Camillus, M Geraldine, M Irmina, Mary William, M Regina, M Lucinda, M Vincent, and Mary Kevin.

Teachers who served during the early years, under Sister Clement, include: Sister M Eugenia, M Romaine, M Eulalia, M Benedict, M Domitilla, M Dorotheus, M Rosalie, M Xavier, M Dolores, M Amadeus, Mary William, M Patrice, M Amibilis, M Roselle, M Marianna, M Nazaretta, M Evarista, M Anita, M Anna, M Isabel, M Eucharista, M Mechtilde, M Theophane, M Nazarene, M Irmina, M Alexandra, M Macarius, and M Sextus.

Mother Mary William went with the first band of nuns to Tillamook in 1897. In 1903, she went to Portland, Oregon, and in 1910 to Coeur d'Alene. She left in 1914, but returned in 1931, following two years as Reverend Mother of the IHM Order. She left again, and returned in 1949.

In 1903, the Catholic church in Coeur d'Alene was a small wooden structure on the southeast corner of Fourth St & Indiana Avenue, with a small residence for Father PURCELL next door, at 421 Indiana Ave. He vacated this residence in 1903 to provide a residence for the nuns.

In 1910, the present St Thomas Church was built, at 9th & Indiana. In 1914, Fr PURCELL left Coeur d'Alene and turned the parish over to the Redemptorist Fathers

In 1950, St Thomas Grade School was established, at the corner of 10th & Indiana.

In 1953, the total number of alumni was 559, who had received instruction from a total of 85 sisters. Four 1953 faculty were graduates: Sisters M Aloysia, M Avellina, M Charisse and M Noel.

Twenty-four young women joined sisterhoods, with 20 of them going to IHM convents. The first of these was Sister M Nazarene in 1909. She was formerly Agnes SMITH, daughter of Clayton SMITH, and also a niece of Father Purcell. Following in her footsteps were Sisters Scholastica (1910) and M Genoveva (1911), daughters of Mr & Mrs Ben CHAINEY. Sisters Nazarene and Genoveva returned to teach at IHM.

The 1953 faculty included 15 nuns, teaching at St Thomas and/or the Academy: Mother Mary Kevin, Superior; Mother Mary William, former superior; Sisters M Aloysia, M Avellina, M Carolus, M Charisse, M Gertrudis, M Gracilda, St Dennis, M Noel, Charles Marie, M Samuel, M Richardos, M Julia, and M Kevina.

The 1953 graduating class of 14 students included: Marilynn DEPNER, Frances WALTERS, Louise GARRICK, Catherine CROWLEY, Patricia GRIBNAU, Twila CROWDER, Elisabeth ANTONSEN, Jeannette Van der Bilt, Elaine CAMPBELL, Mollyrose PRESTON, Billie Rae SPENCER, Marlene NIELSEN, Joseph ROCHE, and Nicholas ARENS. Pastor was Joseph J MAIER, C.Ss.R.

1953 Graduation Exercises held at St Thomas School

--from Cd'A Press, Fri May 22, 1953; page 10

Twenty-four, who have completed the eighth grade at the St Thomas school, were awarded certificates at graduation exercises held Tuesday afternoon at the school.

They were: Rosalie BOUGHTON, valedictorian; Shirley KOSS, salutatorian; Ione CONNERLY, Mary Jean GARRON, Bonnie HOUGHTON, Marlene KELLY, Marianne KNIGHT, Mary KNUTSON, Sharon HOLLANDER, Mary LEAHY, Donna K MCDONALD, Marina THOMPSON, Celestina WALTER, Claudia WAYNE, Duane ANDRES, Richard BATCHELDER, Melvin GREEN, Arthur JAEGER, Terrance KANE, Timothy KANE, Gene KRYGER, Michael McMANUS, Lyle MOREHOUSE, and Delbert WEBB.

The diplomas and other awards were presented by Rev Joseph MAIER, C.Ss.R, rector. Crowning of the Blessed Virgin was part of the ceremony, with Claudia WAYNE and Celestina WALTER participating.

Other awards were:

Certificates for religion, given by Bishop Edward J KELLY: gold seals to Duane ANDRES, Richard G BATCHELDER, Eugene A KRYGER, Delbert E WEBB, Rosalie BOUGHTON, Bonnie G HAUGHTON, Marianne KNIGHT and Shirley A KOSS. Certificates to Melvin F GREEN, Arthur J JAEGER, Terrance P KANE, Timothy O KANE, Michael McMANUS, Lyle J MOREHOUSE, Ione J CONNERLY, Mary J GARRON, Sharon R HOLLANDER, Marlene M KELLY, Mary A KNUTSON, Mary L LEAHY, Donna K McDONALD, Marina S THOMPSON, Celestina WALTER and Claudia WAYNE.

Religion prizes, given by the Redemptorist Fathers, to Rosalie BOUGHTON, 8th grade; Margaret WHITELEY, 7th; Kathleen LEAHY, 6th; William LOWRY, 5th; Theo Ann WILLIAMS, 4th; Patrick ROCHE, 3d; Susan MYERS, 2nd; Donald ANDERSON, 1st grade.

Prizes for the highest average, presented by the Redemptorist Fathers, to Rosalie BOUGHTON, 8th; Jean MACY, 7th; Yvonne CLOUTIER, 6th; Agnes ROCHE, 5th; Kathleen O'LEARY, 4th; Anne PENGELLY, 3d; Christine MIHELICH, 2nd; Kathy KRYGER, 1st grade.

Perfect Attendance prizes, donated by St Thomas PTA, to Arthur JAEGER, 8th; Laurence ANDERSON, 7th; William HOLLANDER, 7th; Margaret NIELSEN, 5th; Theo Ann WILLIAMS, 4th; Walter OVESON, 4th; Shirley FRUECHTL, 3d grade.

Scholarships to the Academy, donated by the Catholic Daughters of America for the highest average in competitive examinations, awarded to Delbert WEBB.

First prize for art in the third division in Kootenai County to Rosalie BOUGHTON.

Awards for the poetry contest sponsored by the Catholic Daughters: first in division II, Rosalie BOUGHTON; first honorable mention Richard BATCHELDER; second honorable mention Shirley KOSS; all 8th grade. Division I first prize to Agnes ROCHE; second prize to Marlene FINNEY, both 5th grade; third prize Vicki HAWLEY, 4th grade; first honorable mention Elsie CARLSON, 6th; second honorable mention to Michael GIESA, 4th grade.


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