Why was the academy in Columbus called St. Joseph?

Why was the academy in Columbus called St. Joseph?

The first 50 years of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in the Ohio saw the Sisters respond to calls to serve in various parts of Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus and Hamilton. The Sister's day schools and boarding schools that supported their work in the parish schools were all called "Notre Dame Academy". But when the request came for a day school in Columbus, it was called "St. Joseph Academy". A recent phone call asked why.

The Archives Office was delighted to find a clear answer in A History of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Columbus: The First Fifty Years 1855-1905 by Sister Anne Feth, SNDdeN. It seems that when the request came in 1873 there were many obstacles to overcome: wide spread economic difficulties, securing land and financial backing, and uncertainty about whether the Catholic community in Columbus was large enough to need another day school for girls. By 1875 most obstacles were overcome. On pages 64-65, Sister Anne wrote:

However, the success of the school was something of which the Sisters were anything but sure in that summer of 1875. Therefore, they placed the whole venture under the patronage of Saint Joseph, naming the proposed school in his honor. They had earlier, buried his medals in the property when there was some danger the owner would ask an exorbitant price. Sister Mary Liguori’s ardent devotion to the saint, which led her even to carry a small statue of him in her pocket, was easily caught by the Sisters of her community and prayerful trust in his intercession did not go unrewarded.

Besides prayers to Saint Joseph, during that summer when the building was being erected, the Sisters began a novena of evening holy hours, from ten to eleven o’clock, once a week, “to draw the blessing of heaven on our undertakings, especially on the new building and work undertaken in it.” After the novena, the holy hours were continued, but sometimes from nine to ten, “in order not to tire the Sisters too much” after a long day that began with the rising hour of five o’clock.

St. Joseph's Academy opened September 6, 1875 even though the building was unfinished. It would flourish for the next 100+ years.

An excerpt of the pertinent chapter in Sister Anne's work is linked here.