Madigan Muses: Special Memories
by Marilyn Madigan
St. Joseph Academy has a long history in the West Park area of Cleveland. The Congregation of St. Joseph founded the school in 1890. Many young women were educated at the school and have made great contributions to the local community and wherever they roamed.
During the past 130 years, the school has survived many challenges, including health crisis’, depression, and wars. In 1918, the Sisters helped the community as many experienced the health crisis of the Spanish Flu. Along with other Religious Orders of Sisters, they nursed the ill and were recognized for their service by the Mayor of Cleveland.
The Sisters have never forgotten that their main purpose is the education of young women. The doors of the school were opened to house some of their students. In 2020, the physical doors of the school were closed due to COVID19, but the education of young women continued.
In March, the students left the classrooms to continue their learning online. No one expected that they would not return this school year. These young women accepted the challenge to continue on with their education. I can only imagine the disappointment of the Seniors not being with their friends as they concluded their High School years.
I look back at my Senior year at St. Joe’s with many happy memories. These memories include long standing school traditions. I treasure the photo of my mother and I at the Mother Daughter Tea. Remember with my classmates smiling and with some tears our Tree Night, Walk of the Roses and Graduation at OLA. I think every Alumni wants the new Class of Alumni to have these wonderful experiences and to look back at their time at the Academy fondly.
I was happy and proud that St. Joe’s made a special effort to make sure some of these traditions could continue. Receiving emails from the school, I felt like I was a part of your experience. I watched your Tree Night, Baccalaureate Mass and your Graduation. Although you graduated in OLA without your classmates, you made history by having the Ceremony on YouTube and shown at a Drive in Theater. At your future Class Reunions, hopefully you will look back fondly on the experience with many happy memories, smiles on your faces and a few tears in your eyes.
Now, for that long standing a tradition of the Walk of the Roses, I hope all of West Park comes out on July 14th to witness your walk into your wonderful future.