Arkansas had been a state only 43 years, and the Catholic diocese of Little Rock had been in existence only 36 years when a national eagerness to develop the whole Continental United States in the 19th century inspired the government to give large grants of land to railroad companies willing to encourage settlers to populate both sides of the track in western Arkansas. The Little Rock/Fort Smith branch of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad Company invited Indiana Benedictines to Logan county, Arkansas, to minister to the German Catholic settlers.
At the time there was great unrest in Europe, especially in Germany, Prussia, and Ireland, and citizens were looking for a way out. The railroad company sensed an opportunity and offered land grants to religious institutions with European roots recently founded in Indiana and asked them to establish churches and schools along the railroad in Arkansas.
After W.D. Slack, land commissioner for the railroad company, had secured a commitment from the monks of St. Meinrad Abbey in St. Meinrad, Indiana, and from the Sisters of Immaculate Conception Convent in Ferdinand, Indiana, to found monasteries in Logan county, he made an attractive deal for German and Irish Catholics to settle in Arkansas on both sides of the Arkansas River.
In the spring of 1878 the Benedictine monks arrived and built some primitive living quarters in Creole (now Subiaco). The Sisters arrived in September that year, and since there was no place for them to stay, the monks moved out and let the Sisters have their quarters until the log cabin for the Sisters was finished 10 miles east in Shoal Creek. The four young founding Sisters were Sister Xaveria Schroeder, 34 years old and the only professed member of the group, Josepha Schmidt, 21, Bonaventura Wagner, 21, and Isidora Leuberman, 23. Two of these Sisters opened the first Catholic School in Logan County at St. Benedict's in Creole that year. The second school they established was St. Scholastica's in Shoal Creek in January 1879.