1912-2012

The College of St. Scholastica

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A Century of Saints



The daisy farm

01/07/2011

Sacred Heart InstituteAs the 19th century turned into the 20th, the Duluth Benedictine Sisters were once again outgrowing their space. They had previously operated a school and lived at Munger Terrance, but had quickly out grown the space. In 1904, they moved to the Sacred Heart Institute at 3rd Ave. and 3rd St. E., which served as a motherhouse and a girls' academy. The building is now an apartment building.

Students tending the farm near Chester Creek, early 1900sThe Sisters needed more space and a more permanent location. In 1900, they had purchased the Daisy Farm, 80 acres of land about two miles outside the Duluth city limits. The farm was a frequent destination for picnics, and supplied both the academy and St. Mary's hospital with milk and vegetables. In 1905 the Sisters decided to build a new academy and motherhouse at the new location. In 1906 and 1907, 2 more parcels of land were purchased, for a total of 160 acres.

Sisters berry-picking at the daisy farmI like to think of these years as an idyllic time for the Duluth Benedictines and their students. They had a school in town where they took care of business, and a nearby place to commune with nature. They would pick berries in the summer, ice skate in the winter, and enjoy the beautiful setting the campus provides.

My favorite story from this time is possibly apocryphal but extremely satisfying. Bishop McGolrick joined Mother Scholastica and several other sisters at the daisy farm for a picnic. It must have been one of those days that I've only experienced in Duluth: in May or June, when spring is finally beginning to relent to summer, the sky is the purest blue, the sun is bright and vivid, and the world seems more alive than it's ever been. 

Skating on the pond at the daisy farmThe Sisters chose a beautiful spot to bring the Bishop to. Near the middle of the property, a hill rose and, near the crest, provided a spectacular panoramic view of Lake Superior. After their meal, Bishop McGolrick made a small stack of stones and said, "This would be an ideal place for your new academy." A few busy years later, Tower Hall rose from this site, and there it stands to this day.



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