Pictured above is a signal recently returned from the St. Joseph Alumnae Association. The tradition of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur holds that it was Mother St. Joseph, our co-foundress, who introduced the use of the signal in the classroom of Notre Dame staffed schools. Saint Julie mentions its use in a letter written from Bordeaux in 1807: "The little girls of Bordeaux are very quiet; not a word is heard in the large classrooms full of them. The mistresses speak only in a very low voice or, so to say, scarcely at all. They have signals like those at Amiens."  (1)

Nicknamed "the clicker" by Notre Dame students because of the clicking noise it made, the signal was used to keep classroom order and minimize the necessisty of speech. New students were immediately taught to be quiet as they worked and to keep both ears open for clicking sounds that would literally "signal" what they were to do next.

The Rule of the Signal was included in the 1895 Course of Study in the Academies and Parochial Schools of the Sisters of Notre Dame written by Sister Superior Julia. An except (2) is pictured here: 

(1) Letter 56, The Letters of Saint Julie Billiart
(2) Course of Study in the Academies and Parochial Schools of the Sisters of Notre Dame, pages X-XI

Sixth Street Statues

Our Lady and St. Joseph from the Sixth Street Convent

Many of us have favorite images of the Saints. Two of our favorites are pictured above. 

We knew these lovely wooden statues had come to Mount Notre Dame when the Sixth Street convent closed. Further research revealed that they were commissioned for a chapel built in 1874, the same year Sisters form Ohio traveled to Belgium for the celebration of the 50th Jubilee of the Mother General. While in Belgium, the Sisters ordered carved wooden Stations of the Cross and matching statues of St. Joseph and Our Lady for the new chapel. 

The December 1874 entry in the Sixth Street Annals records the Sisters "... received our beautiful statues and stations from Antwerp executed by M. Joseph Geefs. All the Sisters consider them beautiful and we thank the Saviour for giving them to us to ornament our Chapel and to strengthen our devotion." (1) A search for Joseph Geefs showed he was part of a family of sculptors and on staff at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. (2) 

These beloved images of Our Lady and St. Joseph recently underwent a five month restoration process so they can continue to strengthen the devotion of Sisters, coworkers, friends and students into the future.

(1) Sixth Street Convent Annals 1-A 1849-1886