YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown, whose Motherhouse is located in Canfield, are celebrating their 140th anniversary.
General Superior Mary McCormick said the order was invited to come to Youngstown in 1874 by the pastor of St. Columba Parish to staff the school. She said the Ursuline Order is 500 years old and although it was not always focused on education, there was always a sense of teaching young people, especially young women, skills.
Sister Mary said that eventually translated into the order’s focus on education, especially traditional K-12 education. But the Ursuline Pre-School and Kindergarten in Canfield was founded in 1963, which was when pre-school education was still a novelty.
She said most of the current Ursuline nuns graduated from either Youngstown College or Youngstown State University, as it is now known.
“We have always had a strong tradition of educating our sisters so they can pass those learnings onto others,” Sister Mary said.
She said many of the nuns today still teach, but some do so in non-traditional ways. For example, Sister Martha Reed teaches at a school for autistic students. There also are volunteers, both sisters and associates, as well as young adults, who help out at the Dorothy Day House on Youngstown’s North Side.
“Our outreach now is really toward young adults, people that often shy away from church. We have had a big outreach toward them,” Sister Mary said.
She said even though education is still a big outreach of the Ursuline Sisters, they also believe in lifelong learning, such as the Beatitude House.
Sister Mary discussed the future of the order, saying they are performing outreach to young people, especially young women, hoping to gain vowed members.
“But even if we don’t get vowed members, we have a number of young people who are working with us in our ministries, volunteering with us. We also have started some programs for internships and residencies for young people to give them some opportunities to work not only with the sense of having a career but trying to make a difference in life,” she said.