The Ramonat Seminar: Early Catholic Education in Chicago

“To the Catholic sisterhoods more than any other human agency is due the upbuilding of Chicago’s system of Catholic parochial schools to its present splendid development” (Garraghan, pg. 202).

Above is a digital map and a quote pertaining to the assignment we were given by our Professor over fall break. My group and I were tasked with mapping eleven (11) schools in Chicago, drawing on Gilbert J. Garraghan’s book The Catholic Church In Chicago 1673-1871Susie and Claire covered what I didn’t in my map above. I had a lot of trouble with this assignment I will say!

For example, in the reading Garraghan offered no end dates for the four schools I covered called St. Aloysius School, St. Stanislaus School, Christian Brothers Academy, and St. Ignatius College, the last of which is the precursor to Loyola University Chicago! Another big issue was getting correct directions. West Twelfth Street (where Garraghan says St Ignatius was founded) no longer exists, and has become Roosevelt Road from a quick google search on my part. Others, however, were harder to discern as he states St. Stanislaus was built were Sacred Heart was founded, so I had to back track in the text.

Past my confusion, I did learn a lot about who ran these schools, and how these school came about. These institutions were mostly founded by woman religious (with the help of male church leaders), which is often lost in the narrative itself as it focuses on Catholic priests as the pillars of the faith. Also, it revealed many ways I can imagine the past, past physical text, as these visual representations and anecdotes about what happened back then help me to better understand the subject we’re studying in a more fluid sense. Rather than fixed images, these schools changed with the times, got absorbed, or disappeared altogether. However, they did leave a mark on the thousands of children, teachers, and Catholics it serviced and or was run by.

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