On National Plant a Flower Day, our 7th grade students made sure to celebrate by sprucing up our campus herb garden. Not only did they have fun gardening, these Ursuline girls also took in a little Ursuline history from Director of Communications, Christy Jackson Zurcher '00.
Each year the Academy honors Sister Saint Francis Xavier Hebert, OSU, who arrived in New Orleans in 1732, with a blessing of this special garden. Sr. St. Francis Xavier is credited as the first woman pharmacist in the United States, as well as, the first woman director of a hospital. She is known for planting an herb garden in the courtyard of the Old Ursuline Convent and for using those herbs for medicinal purposes during her ministry of healing.
The city of New Orleans greatly benefited from her combinations of herbs, spices, remedies and medicines, which were used by the hospital and the local community through the Civil War. The Ursuline museum on the Academy's campus holds some of her original tools with which she used to work.