Sacred Heart Schools celebrate Ursuline Motherhouse renovation

Cammie Byrd, who serves in the Sacred Heart Schools’ business office, worked in the Semmes Family Vestibule Nov. 24. The Ursuline Motherhouse underwent renovations which included a central entryway with a handicapped-accessible entrance. (Record Photo By Ruby Thomas)

Sacred Heart Schools celebrated the completion of a $1 million project to renovate the Ursuline Motherhouse, during a ribbon-cutting event Nov. 12.
Over the past year, the historic building on Lexington Road has undergone renovations to update it and bring it up to current building codes.
The most visible change is the creation of the “Semmes Family Vestibule,” a central entryway that includes a handicapped-accessible entrance, according to a press release from the school.
Semmes Brightman, a 1968 graduate of Sacred Heart Academy, donated the money to make the work possible.
Sacred Heart Schools also announced Nov. 12 that Brightman has pledged an eight-figure planned gift to Sacred Heart Academy, though declined to share additional information.
The renovation of the motherhouse also included electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling and ventilation system updates. One of the rooms on the first floor, which the sisters used as a parlor, was converted to a Heritage Room, where historical photos and objects are displayed.
Last June the Ursuline Sisters announced they would transfer all buildings and land on the 48-acre Ursuline Campus on Lexington Road to Sacred Heart Schools. The Motherhouse is now the leadership hub for the Ursuline Sisters and the Sacred Heart Schools’ administrative team, according to a press release from Sacred Heart Schools.
Ursuline Sister Jean Anne Zappa, president of the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville, said the congregation likes to see growth and change on the campus because it means “stability and sustainability” for the schools moving into the future.
“We’re excited when we see growth and change in the school. … It’s a reflection of our mission, the teaching mission of Jesus, the spirit of St. Angela and the values we proclaim,” said Sister Zappa in a recent interview.
She noted she was pleased to see that though the East wing of the Motherhouse — where the sisters previously lived — underwent renovation that the “integrity of the building” was preserved.
“That’s a wonderful tribute to us,” she said. In February 2018, the sisters announced that the Ursulines who lived at the 82,000 square-foot Motherhouse — about 17 women — would move to other homes in the community or assisted-living apartments. There are 53 Ursuline sisters in the congregation, 50 of them reside in the Archdiocese of Louisville Sister Zappa said.
The new entrance to the Motherhouse “symbolizes the welcoming spirit and the spirit of hospitality that the Ursuline Sisters have had as part of our mission and hopefully the school will continue that,” said Sister Zappa.

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