Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Sisters' Cemetery

Click on image titles for larger views.
Institution Name: Seton Hill University
Original/Historic Place Name: Sisters' Cemetery
Location on Campus: North Campus
Date(s) of Construction:
1889original construction Sisters of Seton Hill
Designer: The Sisters
Type of Place: Landscape site
Style: (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, education, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
1889-present (2006)memorial site (cemetery)

The Community cemetery was planned and laid out in 1889 when the Seton Hill Motherhouse was completed. It was originally planned to place the graves of the Sisters in circular rows around a central mound, and each sister was allotted her own place in order of priority. ( Sister Mary Electa Boyle, Mother Seton's Sisters of Charity in Western Pennsylvania. [Greensburg, PA: Seton Hill, 1946], 239). Keeping order of priority was found to be impractical, however, and was discontinued. The circular arrangement was continued until the 1940s, when straight rows were placed along the edges perpendicular to the fences.

In 1969 the cemetery was enlarged and the headstone style changed from an upright stone cross to a flat slab level with the ground. The area allotted to the cemetery at the present time is approximately twice the area of the original. The graves of the two earliest priest presidents are situated in a corner of the original cemetery, while those of the third and fourth presidents are in the newer area of the cemetery. Their graves are marked with standing stone headstones.

The cemetery is significant because it is the resting place of the founders of the university. All of the past presidents are buried in the cemetery, along with several other priests, laymen, and laywomen. In a prominent area of the newer part of the cemetery is a monument to the memory of the first band of four sisters to go as missionaries to South Korea. That missionary band and their successors founded what is now the Korean Province of the Sisters of Charity.

In the early days the students used to walk frequently to the cemetery. They also attended the funerals of deceased sister faculty and deceased presidents and walked in the funeral processions to the graves.


Boyle, Mary Electa. Mother Seton's Sisters of Charity in Western Pennsylvania. Greensburg, PA: Seton Hill, 1946.

Troutman, R. Dwight. "Hazard Yet Forward: A History of Seton Hill College." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pittsburgh, 1978.


Contact us / About Site / About CIC
© 2006
Council of Independent Colleges
Washington, DC
All rights reserved
Last update: November 2006