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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

MT. ST. MARY'S INSTITUTE

MT. ST. MARY'S INSTITUTE

MT. ST. MARY'S INSTITUTE was a home for orphaned, neglected, and abandoned girls. Established by the Catholic Sisters of Notre Dame in 1884, it was among the order's first missions in Cleveland. In 1875 the Sisters, who had come to Cleveland from their native Germany in 1874, purchased land at the southwest corner of today's Buckeye Rd. and Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. In 1883 they began construction of the institute, and on 27 Jan. 1884, Mt. St. Mary's welcomed its first resident. Heading the home was Sr. Mary Aloysia Wolbring, who had founded the order in Germany with the purpose of providing for girls in need. In Cleveland she returned to her first apostolate, remaining in charge until her death in 1889.

For girls 2 to 16, in its first years the institute housed an average population of 40. By the turn of the century there were 84 residents. Besides shelter, the institute provided a basic education. Along with the standard academic subjects and religion, the girls learned sewing, cooking, baking, needlework, and laundry skills. They also developed agricultural skills by working on the institute's farm.

In 1917 the Sisters sold the southern end of the property to the diocese for development of a parish. That portion eventually became home to St. Benedict Church. Then in 1929, the diocese sought the remaining property for the Benedictine Order, and the Sisters reluctantly decided to close Mt. St. Mary's. Its 140 residents were dispersed to other child care institutions; its last day was 29 Aug. Soon after, the Benedictine Abbey and High School were built on the site.