SBM.04a Gertrude Hall addition (1898), St. Benedict's Academy , St. Joseph, MN
ST. BENEDICT'S ACADEMY (1883-1909) SAINT BENEDICT'S MONASTERY (CONVENT), ST. JOSEPH, MN
By the end of the 19th century, another large wing (Gertrude Hall) was added to St. Benedict's Academy. The academy had been incorporated with the Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict in 1887. It was one of the oldest secondary schools in Minnesota and one of the few Catholic "finishing schools" in the 1880s-unique in its contribution to education in Minnesota's rural areas. The academy was well accepted because the concept of a convent boarding school was familiar to the early pioneers from Germany where the Benedictine sisters taught schools within the confines of their convent enclosures.
The academy courses outlined in the catalogue, very similar to those offered in today's secondary schools, included Elocution, Algebra, Church History, Religion, Physical Geography, Ancient History, Hygiene, Rhetoric, Music and Art. Some textbooks used, still preserved in St. Benedict's Archives, include: -Dr. Joseph Martindale's, FIRST LESSONS IN NATURAL PHILOSPHY published by Elredge Brother of Philadelphia in1879 - for science classes; -J. C. Smith's history book published by J. B. Lippincott and Co., Philadelphia. -A. S. Barnes' GENERAL HISTORY, 1883.
St. Benedict's Academy lost its position as the only finishing school in its territory in the 1890s. However, the academy can take credit for giving birth to the College of St. Benedict. By 1909 plans were underway to add college courses to the academy curriculum. In 1914 the College of St. Benedict was established -- one of the few women's colleges in Minnesota" It is unique in its cooperation with the men's university in Collegeville, MN. St. John's University is located a few miles from St. Joseph. _________ SBMA; McDonald (WITH LAMPS BURNING) pp. 100-108
Sister Grace McDonald, "A Finishing School in the 1880s" MINNESOTA HISTORY, June 1946
Vivarium; Saint Benedict's Monastery - St. Joseph, MN