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Guerin College Prep High School, River Grove, Illinois

Help us save part of the school!

Guerin College Prep High School is in the process of being demolished and former students need your help!

A group of alumnae/i, led by Carolyn Bull ’73, is raising funds to save the unique and beloved school mosaic, “Our Lady of River Grove” a/k/a “The Madonna of River Grove,” the chapel stained glass windows and other special artifacts. The beautiful 20-foot mosaic was designed and constructed by Sister Immaculee Krafthefer, SP (RIP). The group’s goal is to raise $120,000 in this endeavor.

All those interested in donating must act swiftly as the fundraising campaign was just extended. Funds need to be raised by August 15!

Schools contain so many memories and we’d hate to see some of these memories of Guerin’s beauty be demolished by a wrecking ball! We would love to preserve “Our Lady of River Grove” and relocate her in River Grove so alumnae/i and friends can always visit her in her hometown.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for this fundraiser. There’s not much time, so please go to the page and donate what you can!

If the goal is not met for the project, the collected monies will be directed to the Alumni Association for the needs of Guerin alumni at the direction of the Sisters of Providence.

Guerin property demolition moving forward

Representatives of the Archdiocese of Chicago recently informed the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, that the developer who purchased the Guerin College Prep High School property will begin demolition as early as this week.

The Congregation wanted to share this unfortunate news with those who hold Guerin dear. Although the request was made and solutions were explored, it does not appear the school mural can be preserved. The Sisters have asked for the cornerstone, if possible.

As sad as the demolition will be, the Congregation asks that all remember the joys and relationships, the education and values that filled the classrooms and hallways. Those can never be crushed by a wrecking ball, for they will always live deep in our hearts.

Our shared Guerin experiences shaped who we became and remain part of our essence. Let us commit to “keeping Guerin alive” through our continued relationships with one another and through living the values of love, mercy and justice that were the foundation of a Guerin education.

The school’s Board of Directors, with approval of the Sisters of Providence, announced the closing of Guerin College Prep High School in June 2020. The decision was made due to a steady decline in enrollment, the ever-increasing need for student financial aid and lower than expected fundraising results.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the school took place in April 1962 and students began attending classes in a wing of Holy Cross High School in the fall of 1963 because the new building was not finished. The laying of the cornerstone took place in August 1963 and students attended classes in the new building beginning in September 1963. The school was blessed and dedicated by Chicago Archbishop Meyer in April 1964.

Soon, the Sisters of Providence will form a Guerin Alumni Association. Those interested in being a part of the association or assisting with its operation should contact Maureen Dickinson, director of Advancement Services, at 812-535-2801 or mdickinson@spsmw.org.

Guerin Prep Announces Closing

For alumnae/i information or instructions on how to access your transcripts, please click here.

(The following article was released by Guerin College Prep High School on Jan. 16, 2020)

After much consideration and prayer, the Board of Directors, with the approval of their religious sponsor the Sisters of Providence, announced the closing of Guerin College Preparatory High School (GCPHS) effective June 30, 2020, at the conclusion of this school year. This is a very sad and difficult decision and one which was not made lightly.

Three major factors have contributed to this decision: A steady decline in enrollment, the ever-increasing need for student financial aid and lower than expected fundraising results.

For many years, a quality college prep education has been provided at Guerin Prep despite financial challenges. However, the magnitude of these factors combined, made it clear that this level of educational excellence could not be sustained.

More than 20,000 young women and men from Northwest Chicago, and the surrounding suburbs, have graduated from Mother Theodore Guerin, Holy Cross and Guerin College Preparatory High Schools over the past 59 years. GCPHS’ 23-acre campus resides where its founding schools, Holy Cross High School for boys and Mother Theodore Guerin High School for girls, opened in 1961 and 1962, respectively. The two schools ran separately but with shared values and traditions until 2004 when the all-boys Catholic High School closed its doors.

When Holy Cross closed in 2004, the Sisters of Providence responded to a request by the Archdiocese of Chicago, to change the mission of Mother Guerin and become a co-ed institution, honoring Mother Theodore Guerin’s charge to “Love the children first, then teach them.” The school was renamed Guerin College Prep in 2005.

Transition teams will assist students to identify the best options for completing their high school education. A student fair will be hosted at the school with representatives from other Catholic high schools. Assistance will also be provided for faculty and staff in their search for new employment.

The Board of Directors and the Sisters of Providence are grateful to the faculty, administration, staff, parents, students and alums for their continued dedication and devotion to providing academic excellence while keeping the Catholic Faith and strong values at the heart of its mission.

About us: Guerin College Preparatory High School, building on the Mission of the Sisters of Providence – love, mercy and justice, is a Catholic learning community dedicated to the education and faith development of young women and men, where individual values and skills are cultivated.

History of Guerin College Prep High School, River Grove, Illinois

Chicago Archbishop Meyer invited the Sisters of Providence to establish a high school for girls in River Grove adjacent to the Holy Cross High School for boys. The offer was accepted, and the decision was made to name the school after Mother Theodore Guerin, foundress of the Sisters of Providence. The Archbishop gave the land and contributed $1 million. Groundbreaking ceremonies took place on April 15, 1962, with Monsignor McManus officiating. Since the new building would not be ready for occupancy until the fall of 1963, a wing of Holy Cross High School was rented. More than 300 freshmen began classes in September 1962. Bishop Cletus O’Donnell presided at the laying of the cornerstone on Aug. 24, 1963, and on Sept. 9, classes began in the new building with 796 freshmen and sophomores. Cardinal Meyer blessed and dedicated the school and the convent on April 11, 1964.

The school was built to accommodate 1,200 girls. However, the enrollment grew well beyond this, and in the 1970s, five mobile units were added. Other developments have been the establishment of the Learning Club, a preschool in the Home Economics Department, and some co-educational classes with Holy Cross.

In 1990, following a recommendation of representatives of Catholic School Management, Sister Margaret Kern was appointed first president of Mother Theodore Guerin High School. She was succeeded in 1993 by Sister Cathy Campbell.

In accordance with the Congregation’s Contingency Plan, the sisters made studies at various times to consider the possible sale of Guerin High School or the leasing of it to the archdiocese. In 1985, the sisters proposed a lease to the archdiocese. According to the terms of the agreement, the sisters need the written consent of the archdiocese to discontinue maintenance or sell. The archdiocese was unwilling to lease the school or allow the sale, as the school as thriving and it was needed because of the large number of students who wished to enroll in a Catholic high school. As of 1996, the school continued to operate as a sponsored institution of the sisters.

In April 1999, Sister Nancy Nolan was appointed third president of the school, and Sister Kathleen Burke the principal. Sister Kathleen resigned at the end of the 2000-01 school year. Sister Jeanne Hagleskamp, who had been principal from 1991-97, accepted the invitation to serve as interim principal during the 2001-02 school year. Bonnie Brown, who had been assistant principal, was named principal beginning in the 2002-03 school year.

When Holy Cross High School for boys announced it would close in June 2004, Cardinal George asked if the sisters and Guerin would be willing to become co-education, college preparatory high school. The request was granted, and in September 2004, the school opened its doors as Guerin College Preparatory High School (link).

Alumnae from Guerin Prep High School may contact Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp at jhagelsk@spsmw.org or by phone at 812-535-2855.

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HOPE fall 2021 — Living the legacy of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, lived and led with holiness, honesty, strength and love. She leaves all of us a wonderful example for living God-centered lives of service. In this issue of HOPE, we feature some members of the Providence Community and how they are living out the legacy of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin today. We invite you to join us in living the legacy.

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