Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School

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Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School
3737 West 99th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60655
United States
Coordinates 41°42′46″N 87°42′57″W / 41.71278°N 87.71583°W / 41.71278; -87.71583Coordinates: 41°42′46″N 87°42′57″W / 41.71278°N 87.71583°W / 41.71278; -87.71583
School type Private, All-Girls
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Established 1846
Authority Archdiocese of Chicago
Oversight Sisters of Mercy
Principal Eileen O'Reilly
President Mary Acker Klingenberger
Grades 912
Enrollment approximately 1200 (2012)
Campus urban
Color(s)      red
Athletics conference Girls Catholic Athletic Conference
Nickname Mighty Macs[1]
Accreditation North Central Association of Colleges and Schools[2]
Publication Equinox (literary/art magazine)
Newspaper Inscape
Yearbook Inscape
Tuition $11,550

Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School is an all-girl, Catholic high school located in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois at 3737 West 99th Street. It is located in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. Mother McAuley is the largest all girls high school in the country.[3]


A small group of Mercy Sisters arrived in Chicago in 1846, led by Frances Warde, Catherine McAuley's closest friend. Within weeks, they opened a "select school" that became St. Francis Xavier Academy for Females, the first school chartered in the city of Chicago. The course of study covered primary, secondary and collegiate levels. The first building was located on Wabash Avenue between Madison and Monroe Streets. In 1871, the Chicago Fire destroyed the original building. St. Francis Academy relocated to 29th and Wabash for a short time, then to a larger location at 49th and Cottage Grove in 1900.[4]

In the 1950s, the southwest side of Chicago needed a Catholic girls' school to serve a fast-growing population. In 1956 "the Academy" relocated once again. Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School and St. Xavier College opened in the fall of 1956 to serve secondary and post secondary women students respectively. McAuley opened with 523 students, 300 of which were first year students.[4] That same year, the Archdiocese of Chicago purchased 22 adjacent acres from the Mercy Sisters to sell to the Christian Brothers of Ireland to open their second all male high school in Chicago Brother Rice High School which is one of largest all male high schools in the United States.

McAuley continues to expand. Today, approximately 1410 young women and 95 faculty and staff members form the McAuley community.

School Shield[edit]

The official insignia of Mother Mcauley High School, the shield, takes elements of the Mercy Shield, the shield of the founding Mercy Sisters. It combines the symbol of charity and caring together, symbols that represent Mother Mary Catherine McAuley.[4] The final two symbols, the Cross and the Flame, are said to represent sacrifice and charity, combine together to represent the pattern of Christian living that Mother McAuley High School instills in its students.[4]


Mother McAuley competes in the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference (GCAC). Mother McAuley is also a member of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA), which governs most of the athletic and competitive activities in Illinois. The teams are styled as the Mighty Macs.

The Athletic Department sponsors interscholastic teams in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, volleyball, bowling, lacrosse and water polo.[5]

The following teams have finished in the top four of their IHSA sponsored state tournament or meet:[6]

  • Basketball: 4th place (1989–90, 1993–94); 2nd place (1994–95); State Champions (1990–91)
  • Cross Country: 4th place (2006–07)
  • Volleyball: 4th place (1991–92); 3rd place (1990–91, 2005–06, 2008–09); 2nd place (1983–84, 1996–97, 2007–08); State Champions (1977–78, 1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1984–85, 1985–86, 1987–88, 1992–93, 1994–95, 1995–96, 1997–98, 2000–01, 2004–05, 2013-14, 2016-17)
  • Water Polo: 4th place (2004–05, 2005–06, 2010-11); Third place (2012–13); 2nd place (2003–04, 2007–08); State Champions (2001–02, 2002–03, 2006–07)

The volleyball team holds the state records for regional, sectional, and state championships, in addition to appearances at the state tournament and top four finishes.[7]

As of 2009, the water polo team holds the state record for appearances in the state tournament and top four finishes.[8]


Alumnae Association[edit]

Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School currently educates more than 1,200 young women grades 9 through 12 and is the largest all-girls high school in the country. The Alumnae Association serves more than 24,000 graduates and works to preserve the spirit of loyalty and affection for the school among its graduates; to foster continuing interest in Mother McAuley High School and to provide opportunities for them to contribute to its needs; to encourage Christian education for young women; and, to promote personal growth of alumnae as leaders in the Church and society.

All-School Show[edit]

During the fall of each year, the school sponsors a major musical production. Shows in the last ten years have included 'Carousel, Babes in Arms, Fiddler on the Roof Hello, Dolly! "and" "Beauty and the Beast". This year's show is "Footloose". The show is tradition==ally put on during the week before Thanksgiving.


In late September every year, the school hosts Mercy Day, a celebration of the founding of the Sisters of Mercy and of Catherine McAuley. This celebration includes an assembly that highlights the core values of the Mercy Education and the giving of the Catherine McAuley award, an award given to one senior student and one faculty member who best represents Catherine McAuley.

Many senior students participate in the senior retreat known as Kairos. This is a weekend retreat that occurs six times a year, and many McAuley girls promote this tradition.

"Spirit Week" takes place every spring and includes five days of dressing up and activities to fit the daily theme. The week is often concluded with "Mac Pride Day" with a pep assembly.

As many all-girls schools do, at the commencement ceremony, all graduates are required to wear a white dress and white gloves, as opposed to the traditional graduation style of a cap and gown.


External links[edit]