Join us on a tour of the Institute of Notre Dame – a Baltimore landmark that has educated young women for over 150 years. Our guide, long-time resident Sister Hilda Marie Sutherland better known as Sister Hildie, is 81 years old and a local treasure in her own right. She came to IND from St. Mary’s Female Orphan Asylum in Roland Park at age 14 and never left.
Originally established in 1847 as the Collegiate Institute of Young Ladies, the Institute of Notre Dame High School (IND) was founded by Baltimore’s own Mother Theresa – the Blessed Mother Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger. A native of Munich, Bavaria, Mother Theresa helped to found the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) in Germany and came to Baltimore with a small group of sisters to educate the children of immigrants and minister to the poor. Mother Theresa purchased the original convent building from the Redemptorist priests assigned to nearby St. James in 1847 and soon expanded the convent into a boarding school when the sisters discovered two orphans left on their doorstep. By 1852, the sisters had built the school that still stands today.
The school continued to grow through the years: adding an auditorium in 1885, a chapel in 1892, additional classroom space in 1926, and their gymnasium in 1992. Since the first graduation ceremony on July 24, 1864, over 7,000 alumnae have graduated from IND including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (1958) and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (1954) who later recalled, “They taught me more than geography or mathematics; they taught me to help those in need of help. They inspired my passion for service.”
Sister Hildie is the perfect guide to the school’s rich legacy with over 60 years in residence at the school. Her service has touched countless students among the school’s students and East Baltimore residents who have been helped by her weekly efforts to collect clothing, household items and food to share with the school’s neighbors. Come out to Aisquith Street and discover the charms and history of Sister Hildie and IND!