LORETTO ACADEMY. In the year 1879, Father Cushman, the pastor in charge of the church of the Immaculate Conception, seeing the necessity of having a school for the education of the Catholic children of Springfield, invited four sisters of Loretto from St. Louis, formerly from the Mother institution, the Convent of Loretto, Kentucky, and of these sisters, Sister Mary Oda was appointed mother superior. Thus the Loretto Academy was started in a humble way in a small frame building still standing on the grounds, and here the three sisters gathered thirteen children of Catholic parentage, and for the first five years they had a struggle with poverty, having nothing but the money received from tuition to support themselves. Many times it seemed impossible to carry on the school but by patience, self-denial and devotion to the cause, gradually built up the institution. In 1886 a loan was made by Joseph French of $5,000, and the south side of the present academy building was erected. This loan was paid by 1890, with interest at seven and one-half per cent and another loan was made in 1892, of $8,000, and the academy was enlarged as it is at present. Sister Mary Oda died in 1882, from over-work and privation. She had contracted consumption and died at St. Louis. At the time of this noble woman's death five sisters of the same order were connected with the Loretto Academy. She was succeeded by Sister Baptista, who was mother superior for several years, and the institution prospered exceedingly under her control. She had six sisters in the academy when she went to Pueblo, Colo., for her health, and there were sixty pupils. She was succeeded by Sister Clarsine who came St. Louis in 1887 as mother superior, and who has since devoted her attention with great zeal to building up the academy, making a capable and efficient manager. The school has greatly prospered in numbers and sixteen sisters of Loretto are engaged in teaching. The academy has now over 100 pupils and the musical class, numbering sixty pupils, is one of the most highly instructed of any in southwest Missouri. They are taught by five of the sisters who instruct them on all instruments, stringed and otherwise. The young ladies are carried through a regular academic course and much pains is taken to make them efficient and accurate. They are also taught the accomplishments of fine needlework and painting. Under Mother Clarsine the academy is growing with great rapidity and has a wide reputation as one of the best schools for young ladies in Missouri. Mother Clarsine is a lady of ability and understands well the executive management of the academy, as well as teaching herself. The Loretto Academy is one of the best institutions of its kind in Missouri, and richly deserves the patronage of the people.
Springfield-Greene County Library