St. Joseph's Academy Unveils Commemorative Book

Members of the SJA community - Sisters of St. Joseph, faculty and staff - unveil the new commemorative book celebrating the school's 175th anniversary. Photo by Suzy Gorman.

October 16, 2015

ST. LOUIS, MO - Bells were ringing at St. Joseph’s Academy in August for the first time since the early 1960s. The occasion? St. Joe turns 175 this year, making it one of the oldest schools in the St. Louis area. The ringing of the Chapel bells served to kick-off a yearlong celebration.

sjabookcoverIn honor of the 175th anniversary, the Academy is telling its full story for the first time in a book - St. Joseph’s Academy: 175 Years of Tradition, Excellence and Faith - penned by graduate and longtime member of the school’s English faculty, Jeanne Wilson ’75. The 200-plus page coffee table style book of text and some 600 images not only traces the school’s rich history, but also puts it in the context of the history of St. Louis and of the country.

The book will debut as part of Angel Fest on October 17 with a signing and presentation by the author.  Other events that day begin at 10:00 a.m. and include something for everyone, from a kid zone to live music, a preview of the fall musical, The Sound of Music, to crafting and a photo booth for teens. Later in the day, Reunion Weekend will bring together and honor classes ending in “0” and “5”, beginning with the Class of 1945. Also the class of 1955 will be on-hand, the last to graduate from the Fontbonne campus.

St. Joseph’s Academy, located in Frontenac, Mo., since 1955, is a Catholic all-girls secondary school founded and still sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. One of the sisters, Carol Gerondale, has served for 30 years at the Academy, as a Theology Instructor and is currently Admissions Director, “What an honor it is to be part of this special anniversary celebration, the commemorative book is a tremendous tribute to our past. Our students are the core of our mission, they are our future.”    

The Academy was founded in 1840. Four years earlier, six young sisters made an arduous journey from Lyons, France, to the small village of Carondelet, south of St. Louis, to answer an appeal from Bishop Joseph Rosati for teachers, especially to minister to children who lost their hearing to illnesses such as diphtheria and measles. The order opened a convent school, then St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf, before establishing the Academy, all at 6400 Minnesota Avenue, property that is still  home to its motherhouse.

To learn more about SJA and its year-long celebration and event, visit

Three representatives from St. Joseph's Academy brought several additions of the new book (cover pictured) to the CSJ Province Leadership Team for the community. Pictured: Back Row - Linda Holland Decker, director of institutional advancement at SJA; Jennifer Sudekum, SJA principal; S. Rita Marie Schmitz, S. Marilyn Lott; Jeanne Wilson, English faculty member and author; and S. Linda Straub.

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