Places and Spaces: Antonian Hall painting

When the Mt. Mercy motherhouse was built in 1909, the small chapel was planned to be temporary. Architectural renderings show an intended permanent chapel—a large, gothic-style extension from the center of the building. The sisters saved for years to construct it. But the founding of the college in 1929 took precedence, and their savings were instead used to build Antonian Hall. This watercolor by Sister Hilda Giegerich, RSM, hangs in the motherhouse’s permanent gallery.

A: In the late 1940s, Antonian Hall was built for Mt. Mercy College’s then-thriving home economics program. The sixth oor (now University Marketing and Communications) was set up as a practice home. As a senior project, students lived there and ran the household—and often took care of professors’ children as part of the learning experience.

B: Sue Rumbaugh, associate professor in Carlow’s English department, was a child “volunteer” while her father, Cornelius W. Kreke, PhD, taught chemistry downstairs. In 1959, when her youngest brother, Joe, was born, Rumbaugh’s mother contracted multiple sclerosis. Elder siblings were cared for by help at home, but Joe became a full-time home economics volunteer—cared for by students and, when needed, by the Sisters of Mercy.

C: Antonian’s construction was no easy feat—it’s built on solid rock. Later, when the Principal Path was created leading to Fifth Avenue, crews encountered the same problem.

D: Here’s Sister Hilda herself. A highly respected artist and one of the founders of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, she taught art for decades at Our Lady of Mercy Academy—now The Campus School.