Third-grade classes tour Nazareth Motherhouse

May 4, 2017 by

A crowd of inquisitive Concordia third-graders filled the halls at the Nazareth Motherhouse on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons this week to learn about the historic building and the Sisters of St. Joseph who built it.

It was part of an annual tradition for Concordia Elementary School students, who each spring explore the local landmark as part of their Kansas local history curriculum. Students from the classrooms of teachers Katie Nease, Starla Balthazor, Laura Barta and Lisa McFadden toured the building and grounds.


The Sisters of St. Joseph came to Concordia in 1884, and the five-story, limestone-and-brick Nazareth Convent and Academy, generally called the Nazareth Motherhouse today, was built in 1902-03. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973.

Jane Wahlmeier, administrative services coordinator at the Motherhouse, organized the tour program and materials. Helping as guides were Sisters Marilyn Wall, Carm Thibault, Judy Stephens, Mary Jo Thummel, Pat McLennon, Anna Marie Broxterman, Jean Befort and Pat Eichner, as well as volunteer Motherhouse docent Mary Jane Hurley.

The guides focused on the history of the Sisters of St. Joseph, their role in Concordia, their missions wherever they serve and the Motherhouse building and its art and artifacts.

As the afternoon closed, Wahlmeier asked the assembled classes, “What is the one thing you will remember?”

Hands shot up around the room. Popular choices were the stained-glass windows in the chapel, the grotto in Lourdes Park, the artwork in the building and the scale-sized model of the Motherhouse in the Heritage Room exhibit. Not to be left out was the aviary, with several students sharing what they named the various birds.

For more information on arranging a tour of the Motherhouse, contact Wahlmeier at 785-243-2113 ext. 1101 or email jwahlmeier@csjkansas.org.

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