The Early Years
The Ohio Province is one of 18 regional communities of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur around the world. It is also the oldest in the United States. We trace our roots to France and Belgium where St. Julie Billiart and Francoise Blin de Bourdon, founded the international order in 1804.
Eight Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur arrived in Cincinnati from Belgium on October 31, 1840. They were eager to do the work that our foundress, St. Julie Billiart, called "The most important work on earth". They came to teach.
Less than three months later, our Sisters established the first Notre Dame school in the U.S. On January 14, the Young Ladies' Literary Institute and Boarding School was opened at Sixth and Sycamore Streets in the heart of Cincinnati. Soon after, the city's first free-standing school for the poor was begun at St. Xavier Parish.
Our Sisters expanded their work to Toledo and then to Chillicothe where, in 1848, they began teaching in two parish schools. In 1849 we branched out from Ohio to Boston and established a school for young girls in a poor parish in the city.
After Boston, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur continued to expand our educational work throughout the Midwest and along the east coast, providing free education for thousands of immigrant children. Then in 1897, we established Trinity College in Washington D.C., the first four-year Catholic liberal arts college for women in the country.
Sr. Julie Billiart: Woman of Courage
1850 6th Street Students Cincinnati
Mt. Notre Dame Academy, Reading 1860