The Sisters of the Order of St. Ursula came to Montana in 1884 to establish schools for Indians. When the homestead movement created a need for more urban educational facilities, the Great Falls Townsite Company offered the sisters any two city blocks. This site overlooking the city was chosen for its tranquility, removed from the bustle of the city’s center. In 1912, the Ursuline Academy opened its doors to day and boarding students of all denominations. The academy, a detached gymnasium, two shrines, and the grounds comprise the campus. Iconography by Sister Raphael Schweda graces the academy’s interior. Great Falls architect George Shanley chose the Collegiate Gothic style to reflect the academy’s commitment to learning and its ecclesiastical associations. But the building also represents the culmination of the Ursulines’ mission to bring education and culture to Montana’s youth. From a log cabin to this grand and noble institution of learning, the “lady black robes” have touched the lives of thousands of Montanans. The sisters continued their mission teaching at the academy until it became the Ursuline Centre in 1971. The sisters who reside within its lofty halls continue to serve in the community and graciously open their home to ecumenical activities.



2300 Central Avenue, Great Falls, Montana ~ Private