Excerpts from the Sisters’ Diary 1952-1960

Excerpts from the Sisters’ Diary 1952-1960 show growing enrollment, building to accommodate it, a new chapel and more. The school begins to emerge into what it has become in the present day.

May 1952: Our graduation class numbers 16 boys and girls who reach a new milestone in their lives. Much depends on the road they choose this summer. In giving prizes at the end of the year, special attention was given to good behavior.

December 1953: After much prayer and pleading, we were finally allowed to have the plans for the new chapel completed, but when the time came to open bids, permission on the part of the Provincial to go ahead was refused. (Editor’s note: Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel was dedicated in 1956).

September 1955 – 1956: Opening of school and 260 children enrolled. Overcrowded facilities will readily prove that St. Joseph’s was never built to house 260 boys and girls. However, where there is a question of need, we strain our effort in every direction. We fail only in regard to the chapel where it is a physical impossibility to fit some of our tiniest tots for daily Mass and Benediction.

Summer 1957: There are a lot of noises here like: the big booming sound of dump trucks and steel trucks carrying in supplies for the construction work; the whirring of grass mowers, continually giving our lawns a short butch haircut; the pounding of the carpenters, hammering nails and sawing boards.

The new boys’ house is growing by leaps and bounds as Hugh McGranns’ men lay bricks and hoist heavy steel beams into place. Already, the brick building has grown up to the second floor and the contractor hopes to have it under roof by the end of October. In the basement floor, there will be shops for the workmen, the carpenters, electricians, the plumbers, painters, and mechanics. Up on the ground floor, the workers are pouring the playroom floors and the athletic room … In the athletic room, basketball hoops will be hanging from the walls for practice games.

December 25, 1958: All of the children remained with us this year for Christmas. It was, as always, a very happy time. The children attended Midnight Mass the night before and another Mass at 8:00 in the morning. In the afternoon, they had their usual Christmas party.

September 1960: School opens with an enrollment of 331. This year the school has a new Principal, Sr. Canicia. Being Principal of a grade school is an old task for Sister, but this year is her first in charge of a boarding school. She is also teaching the eighth grade. This means much of the desk work in connection with the school will be transferred to our office.

May 1964: This year, graduation exercise had a special touch. For the first time, the class wore beautiful red graduation gowns. Father Jude delivered the graduation address and passed out the diplomas. At the exercise, Sharon and Lawrence were given the awards for being the best all around eighth graders. Evangeline and Leonard were given the awards for having the highest averages.