Santa Maria Institute, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati Archive

Our Hidden Catholic Collection this week is the papers of the Santa Maria Institute, a ground-breaking Catholic social service center founded by the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati to help immigrants to the Queen City. The 6 linear feet of materials in this collection includes correspondence (1903-2004), general records (1897-2014), journals (1897-1931), histories, and news clippings. You can access a finding aid online.  

The Santa Maria Institute began when two Italian-born Sisters of Charity, Sisters Blandina and Justina Segale, responded to a call from Archbishop William Elder to assist newly arrived Italian immigrants adjust to their new country. The two sisters served alternately for 32 years in the Institute.

Images and documents from the Institute – including Sr Justina’s journal – have been made into a digital resource for teaching urban ethnic Catholic History by Sr. Judith Metz, SC (Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati); M. Christine Anderson (Xavier University); and Mary Beth Fraser Connolly (Purdue University Northwest).

Today, Santa Maria Community Services provides more than 3,000 individuals with educational tools and resources to build strong families, promote healthy residents, and foster neighborhood revitalization. Learn more about their long standing work here.

Veronica Buchanan, Archivist
Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati
Seton Hall
5900 Delhi Road
Mount St. Joseph, OH 45051

[email protected]
(513) 347-5348 

Facebook: @sistersofcharityofcincinnati
Instagram: @sistersofcharityofcincinnati
Twitter: @srcharitycinti


Sister Blandina Segale with friends at the Santa Maria Institute, 1934.
Sisters Blandina Segale (standing, left) and Justina Segale (seated, right), Silver Jubilee of the Santa Maria Institute, 1922.