|Courtesy of Ellen DePriest
|Chicago Loretto Academy (Original Building)
|Submitted by Ellen DePriest
The History of Chicago Loretto Academy
Chicago (population 2.8 million) was established in the early 1800's along the banks of Lake MIchigan
and the Chicago River. Chicago sits in the far northeastern portion of Illinois in the center of Cook County. Interstate
Highways 55, 57, 90, and 94 all lead you to Chicago. Several Illinois Routes also lead to and from Chicago.
Chicago has been the home to several parochial schools throughout the years. Among them was Loretto Academy.
This all-girls' Catholic high school was located on the city of Chicago's east side. The school building was erected at
65th Street and Blackstone Avenue in Chicago's Woodlawn neighborhood, near where Mount Carmel High School for Boys is
The Academy was founded by a group of catholic nuns known as the Ladies of Loretto, who were invited
by the Carmelite fathers to open a school for girls. The Lorettines did so with 30 students enrolled on January 6, 1906
at St. Cyril's Parish.
|Ethel Louise Monarque's Class Ring of 1914
|Submitted by her Great-Granddaughter Peggy Talbot
Loretto Academy remained all-girls' the entire time it was open, beginning as a grade and high school that accepted
day & boarding students. In 1925, it discontinued the grade school, while the boarding
practice ended in 1933. The high school continued to serve the area for several more
In 1962, the school accepted students from Loretto High School
in the nearby Englewood neighborhood when it closed, which stopped the confusion of Loretto High School and Loretto Academy
(both of which were all-girls' schools that were located on the south side, and run by
the same order of nuns!).
Five years later in 1967, the school reached a three-fold event. First
of all, it accepted more transfer students when St. Elizabeth
(another all-girls' school) closed. Second, it posted the enrollment to a peak of over 350 students, the most in
school history, and third, the school caught up with the changes in the neighborhood by
having an all African-American student body. This was the result of people coming
from the Deep South to find better opportunities in the Windy City, which had been begun
as early as 1920.
Loretto Academy also accepted slow-learning students as the result of a program
started in 1966 with the Archdiocese of Chicago. Those students could take advantage
of getting a four-year diploma as well as working experience with retail giant Sears Roebuck
for two years in a work-study program before looking for a job in a normal setting.
The school eventually
consolidated with Mercy High School
(another all-girls' school) in 1972 to form Unity High School
. The Loretto Academy building was sold to a neighborhood organization, which offered adult education classes
thru Kennedy-King College. The fate of the building is unknown at this time.
Loretto Academy Quick Facts
Unity Catholic High School
School athletic information:
Light blue and white
School newspaper: The
|Loretto Academy 1950's
|Courtesy of Ellen DePriest
The girls of Loretto Academy participated in G.A.A. and other activities to help them achieve
physical fitness. The school closed (1972) before the IHSA officially recognized and sponsored girls athletics
(1974). However, the school was among a pioneering group of high schools that participated in interscholastic athletics,
as evidenced by the following facts provided by historian Robert Pruter.
As early as 1927, Loretto was part of the Catholic High School Girls' Basketball League, competing against
Visitation, Loretto High, Longwood, St. Catherine (later known as Siena), St. Xavier, St. Mary, Mercy, St. Scholastica, Evanston Marywood, and Wilmette Mallickrodt. The school did not win a conference championship and the league broke up in 1932 when the Catholic Youth
Organization formed its own league.
If you any further information you wish to share regarding the athletic exploits of Loretto Academy,
please contact us via the means listed below.
We are certain that there were many extra-curricular activities that were a fun and educational part
of the Loretto High School experience. Band, chorus, student government, plays, and many other activities were likely
offered throughout the school year.
From Evelyn Wright (class of 1965):
I attended Loretto (Englewood) my first year....our school closed...last 3 years at Loretto Academy - Woodlawn....what
1. Glee Club...I didn't know it at the time that the Mary Poppins songs would forever be with me. Which,
by the way, I love to sing even today.
2. There was also the Sodality of Our Lady Club...I was a member...we met in
the school library
3. Where uniforms...were such a blessing.
4. Loretto offered Business Ed or College
courses...I sincerely appreciate my typing/shorthand teacher, Mother Clarice...because of her, I was the fastest typist as
well as #1 writing and transcribing Gregg Shorthand. This skill afforded me employment...and saved my dad.
Nuns...I help pay my tuition by working at the School/Convent so I got to know the nuns quite well as they did me. They
were the best."
"I remember Loretto Academy quite well. I attended Mount Carmel High School from where I graduated in 1952. I
am now 80 years old.
"Also I lived a 66th and Ingleside at the time and was fortunate to have 3 very beautiful girls
living next door to me. They were the Shanley sisters whose names were Mary, Nancy, and Jeanne. They all served as cheer-leaders
for the MC football team. Mary was the oldest, then Nancy and Jeanne.
"I am saddened to think how time has passed,
but then again fortunate to have such warm memories."
From Judy (Mangan) Wisniewski (class of 1954):
"I noted while reading the interesting article on Loretto (Woodlawn) under some
of the facts about Loretto, it stated that the school colors "were not known." They were a light blue and white (know
for sure those were our colors) and believe they were in honor of the Blessed Virigin Mary. The Loretto Sisters are still
around and have a motherhouse in Wheaton, Illinois.
husband was a Mt. Carmel graduate, and in a way that is how we first met. I was attending a forum at Carmel one Sunday as
was he. We were sophomores at the time and eventually were married for 52 years. but he passed away in 2009.
"By the way, I sent the link to "Illinois High School Glory Days" to the gals
from Loretto I am still in contact with. We were a small, pretty close class.
"I attended Quincy College, which at one time was a seminary. I think the year I started was about the 2nd or 3rd
year when they first started admitting women and I had a scholarship."
From Daisy Kathleen Curry (class of 1968):
commemoration of our 50th year as graduates of Loretto
Academy (Class of 1968), a few of us have planned a fabulous cruise. This being
such a momentous occasion, the cruise is open to others, outside of our
class, including other Loretta Alumna, family and friends to share in the
celebration and festivities with us.
cruise liner departs from the Port of Seattle, Washington on
Friday, August 10, 2018, for a 7-night Alaska cruise visiting: Ketchikan, Tracy
Arm, Juneau, Skagway, Alaska Inside Passage, and, Victoria Canada. We
will return to the Port of Seattle on August 17, 2018.
"Passports are required for
this cruise. Visit the State department website for complete information: (https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html)
deposit of $250.00 per person is due by May 30,
2017 and the balance will be due by May 7, 2018. Prices include all taxes and
port charges. After the initial deposit is paid, payments can be made, in any
amount, as long as the balance is paid in full by final payment due date.
can be up to 4 occupants in some designated cabins. (Note:
As you view the deck and cabin map, triangle and square icons designate cabins that will sleep 3 to 4 persons. Also note, all cabins are the same size,
within category, regardless whether there are 2, 3 or 4 occupants in the
View cabins and Suites have limited availability and must
be reserved with the deposit payment. Again, availability and pricing is based
on the time of booking.
of cabins are currently reserved but are only available
for a limited time. Upon expiry date, cabins may still be available, but
may not be located within the initial cabin group. Cabin availability and cabin
locations are limited, so don't delay in reserving your cabin.
the link for more information
about the cruise ship, cabin types (layout and prices) and the cruise
in the far left upper corner, from the drop down menu,
select "Group Travel" and then scroll down to "Loretto
Academy". You will also find contact information for Gary Jones, our
cruise planner on this site. He will happily clarify any of the above
information or respond to any questions you may have. We all hope to see you on board!
P.S: Wouldn't it be great if several different classes,
Loretto, are represented! Please do give the trip some consideration."
Do You Have Information You Can Share?
If you do, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos are welcome, as well as memories. You may also send items to us via "real" mail at:
6439 N. Neva Ave.
Chicago, Il. 60631