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Cook County Board of Commissioners honors Congregation, Guerin Prep High School

The Cook County, Illinois, Board of Commissioners recently approved a resolution honoring the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, and Guerin Prep High School for “providing decades of quality Catholic education …”

The board voted 16-0 in favor of the resolution, which was sponsored by Commissioner Peter Silvestri. The remaining commissioners asked to be co-sponsors of the resolution.

Mary Beth Hoerner, assistant to Silvestri, said “Commissioner Silvestri was happy to honor the Sisters of Providence and Guerin, and he has been a long-term supporter. He wanted the school to be honored and remembered for the significant institution that it was, and he wanted the Sisters of Providence to be honored for their stewardship and excellence in teaching as well as for their theological role in helping to form the students who went there.”

Hoerner, who attended Guerin Prep, continued: “Guerin’s student body came from all economic levels throughout the Chicago area. The Sisters of Providence worked diligently so that students who really wanted to attend, could attend. Those who attended Guerin consider their affiliation with the school as a source of pride and community, and they are grateful for the Sisters of Providence for making it happen.”

The resolution stated:

“PROPOSED RESOLUTION HONORING GUERIN PREP HIGH SCHOOL AND THE SISTERS OF PROVIDENCE FOR PROVIDING DECADES OF QUALITY CATHOLIC EDUCATION;

“WHEREAS, in the early 1960s, Chicago Archbishop Meyer invited the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, to establish a high school for young women in River Grove, Illinois; and whereas, the Sisters of Providence named the school in honor of their founder, Mother Theodore Guerin, a teacher and missionary to the sick and poor;

“and WHEREAS, originally from France, Mother Theodore established schools in Indiana and Illinois. She was later canonized. One of her sayings, “Love the children first, then teach them,” would be a guiding principle at the high school;

“and WHEREAS, in 1962, while waiting for the new high school to be completed, more than 300 freshmen began classes at a wing of Holy Cross High School for young men on the property next door. In September of 1963, classes began with 796 freshmen and sophomores in the new Mother Theodore Guerin High School building located at 8001 W. Belmont Avenue;

“and WHEREAS, Mother Guerin High School was built to accommodate 1,200 students, but its outstanding reputation helped it to grow well beyond that, peaking in the late-1970s to the early-1980s with nearly 1,600 students yearly; and whereas, the student body of Mother Guerin was diverse, drawing from neighboring suburbs, such as Elmwood Park, Schiller Park, and Oak Park, as well as from Chicago, which the school abutted;

“and WHEREAS, the curriculum at Guerin High School was especially known for its excellence and achievements in art, theater, music, foreign languages, English, and social studies, to name a few;

“and WHEREAS, in addition to having expertise in their fields, the Guerin faculty were committed to instilling a love of learning that would last long after students moved on;

“and WHEREAS, when neighboring Holy Cross High School announced it would close in June 2004, Cardinal George asked if Guerin would be willing to become co-educational In September of 2004, Mother Guerin opened its doors as the co-educational Guerin College Preparatory High School;

“and WHEREAS, Guerin Prep remained dedicated to developing the unique potential of its diverse student body through its extensive academic curriculum, its excellent staff, its wide-range of extracurricular programs, and its commitment to Catholic faith and service;

“and WHEREAS, as years progressed, rising educational expenses, declining enrollment, and increased need for financial aid contributed to the closure of Guerin College Prep at the end of the 2020 school year;

“and WHEREAS, the close to 20,000 accomplished alumni of three schools in one – Mother Guerin, Holy Cross, and Guerin Prep – know that while the physical buildings are gone, the intellectual, social, and spiritual foundation received there lasts a lifetime.

“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Cook County Board of Commissioners does hereby honor Guerin Prep High School and the Sisters of Providence for providing decades of quality Catholic education;

“and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a suitable copy of this resolution be tendered to the Sisters of Providence as an expression of our gratitude and esteem.”

Mover: Frank J. Aguilar

Seconder: Donna Miller

Vote:

Aye: Frank J. Aguilar, Alma E. Anaya, Luis Arroyo Jr., Scott R. Britton, John P. Daley, Dennis Deer, Bridget Degnen, Bridget Gainer, Brandon Johnson, Bill Lowry, Donna Miller, Kevin B. Morrison, Sean M. Morrison, Peter N. Silvestri, Deborah Sims, Larry Suffredin.

Absent: Stanley Moore.

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Sisters of Providence

The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, are a congregation of Roman Catholic women religious (sisters) who minister throughout the United States and Taiwan. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence in 1840. The congregation has a mission of being God's Providence in the world by committing to performing works of love, mercy and justice in service among God's people.

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