Concordia third-graders continue annual tradition

May 11, 2016 by

Sister Betty Suther is silhouetted against one of the 109-year-old stained glass windows in the Motherhsouse chapel.

Sister Betty Suther is silhouetted against one of the 109-year-old stained glass windows in the Motherhouse chapel.

SCROLL DOWN FOR A SLIDESHOW FROM THIS MORNING’S TOUR

A crowd of inquisitive third-graders filled the halls at the Nazareth Motherhouse this morning, to learn about the history of the 114-year-old 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 tour the local landmark as part of their Kansas history curriculum. Four classes of third-graders toured the building and grounds this week, with this morning’s group under the guidance of teacher Starla Balthazor.

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.

One of the most popular items with the children was the scale model of the Motherhouse, now located in the soon-to-be-opened Heritage Center on the second floor. The 30-year-old model was built and recently refurbished by Sister Shirley Meier.

Jane Wahlmeier, administrative services coordinator at the Motherhouse, organized the tour program and materials. Helping out as guides this morning were Sisters Janet Landers and Betty Suther, 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 itself.

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