Founded on Faith and Sisterhood
The Franciscan Sisters of Chicago opened Madonna High School in 1949 at the corner of Belmont Avenue and Pulaski Road in Chicago, Illinois. The school’s mission was to provide high-quality Catholic secondary education to young women. For more than 50 years, Madonna High School kept this mission alive, at one time serving as many as 1,200 students.
Unfortunately, due to declining enrollment and the economic pressures on private city schools, Madonna High School was forced to close its doors. Upon the closure of the school, the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago formed the Madonna Foundation to carry on the legacy and mission of Madonna High School.
The Madonna Foundation represents all the best of Madonna High School’s proud traditions and provides access to academic excellence at single-gender Catholic high schools.
- September 8, 1949
- February 24, 1952
- September, 1952
- June, 1953
- October 21, 1956
- March 19, 1956
- April 27, 1975
- Late 1980's
- September, 1991
- January, 1994
- September 1999
- December, 2000
Madonna High School was founded in 1949 by the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago, whose goal was to provide excellence in education with a holistic approach that promoted a loving community and recognized the giftedness of all students. The school opened with four aspirants and Sister Mary Cresencia Chimel as the 1 st principal. The site was operated in four rooms on the first floor of the former St. Vincent’s Orphan Asylum located on Hamlin and Schubert Avenues.
Enrollment increased to 102 students. The Ephpheta School for the Deaf was purchased and renamed Madonna High School.
The Madonna High School Mothers’ Club and Auxiliary was founded.
Enrollment had increased to 269 students.
Sister M. Alberta Bialas was appointed the new principal.
A ground-breaking ceremony was held for the new Madonna High School on the corner of Belmont and Karlov Avenue in Chicago.
Sister Mary Hugoline Czaplinski was appointed the new principal.
The Madonna High School Fathers’ Club and Auxiliary was founded.
Enrollment was reported at 420 students.
Madonna boasted enrollment of 1,162 students.
Sister Joseph Marie Zenda was appointed the new principal.
Madonna celebrated its 25 th anniversary
The introduction of the College Acceleration Program (CAP), which enabled students to earn college credits while still in high school.
Sister Mary Alvernia Groszek was appointed the new principal.
Sister Carol Marie Schommer was appointed the new principal.
The I Annual Madonna Senior Citizen Day Luncheon was held.
Madonna received the “For Character Award” from the University of Illinois at Chicago as a character building school.
Madonna student enrollment began to decline.
Madonna High School receives national recognition from the United States Department of Education as a Recognized School of Excellence. Only 13 other schools in Illinois received this Blue Ribbon Schools Program Award.
Madonna board of directors, faculty, parents and administrators launched an aggressive campaign to reverse declining enrollment.
Madonna receives award from the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguishes Americans for outstanding participation and the encouragement of young people to succeed in America’s Free Enterprise System.
Board of Directors noted that enrollment continued to decline. The Franciscan Sisters of Chicago continue to subsidize the school.
The corporate members of the Madonna Board of Directors and the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago explored various options for the school including closing and merging with another school.
Artist, Oscar Romero donated the Madonna Mural, which he painted on the northeast wall of the school building.
Madonna celebrated its 50th anniversary.
The Franciscan Sisters of Chicago voted to start The Madonna Foundation and approved a Madonna education program that would be housed at participating school sites.
Raise your banners and let them wave free
Over our team we’ll shout victory
Never doubting or with hopes astray
We know this will be our day
Do you hear us go Madonna!
Face your team with full-fledged faith and trust
To win this game is a must
Shine clean and let your good name beam
Right now for our Madonna team
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Scholar Partner Schools
The Madonna Foundation has developed strategic partnerships with six (6) all-girls Catholic high schools which serve young women from the Chicago area. Each school is North Central Accredited and recognized with distinction by the State of Illinois Board of Education.
Building Upon the Bonds of Sisterhood
The legacy of Madonna High School lives on through our Madonna High School alumnae. The mission and purpose of the Madonna High School Alumnae Association is to provide social, educational, spiritual and cultural experiences for our members and to involve the members in the ministry of Catholic secondary education for young women.
Alumnae Council Members
Denise Batka Makowski Class of 1984Alumnae Chair
Mary Slowik Class of 1983Council Member
Sue Lasch McGhee Class of 1977Council Member
Margaret Bird Nerger Class of 1977Council Member