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  St. Mary's Academy & College

The History of St. Mary's Academy & College


The Founding as an Indian Mission - 1848

"Primitive conditions faced the new arrivals. About a hundred yards apart from each other stood two log buildings nearly identical in form. No doors were hung, no windows in place. The chinks between the logs were not caulked. There were not articles of furniture or other accommodations, excepting those which they had brought with them. The food supply consisted of a sack of cornmeal. At this point, the pioneer group of St. Mary's was left alone to face the grim winter."

Kansas winters must have been much more severe in the mid-1800's than we know them today, for the chronicler continues...

"It will suffice to say that for eighty days teams and wagons could cross the river on the ice. In his diary, Father Gailland exhausts his Latin vocabulary to convey the impression of the great cold, the leaden skies, and deep snows. Supplies were often low. During the first few weeks, the pioneers ate wild fruits and edible plants provided by the woods around them.

"During November, a barn was erected for the horses. On the hill behind the building a cross was erected. Spiritual activities continued. As soon as the chapel annexed to the Jesuit residence was completed, Father began to preach in Potawatomi mornings and evenings.

"Because of the intense cold, no midnight Mass was celebrated on Christmas Day, but there was one in the morning at which Father Verreydt preached in English. In the afternoon, Vespers were sung and Father Gailland spoke in French.

"The great aim was to get the schools functioning as soon as possible. It had already been decided that these must be boarding schools."

Information taken from Fr. Gailland's diary



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