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Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School

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.[4]

Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School
3737 West 99th Street


United States
Coordinates41°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
Former nameSt. Francis Xavier Academy for Females
School typePrivate, High school
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
Established1846; 173 years ago (1846)
AuthorityArchdiocese of Chicago
OversightSisters of Mercy
PresidentMary Acker Klingenberger
PrincipalEileen O'Reilly
Teaching staff81.4 (FTE) (2017–18)[1]
Enrollment1,027 (2017–18)[1]
Student to teacher ratio12.6:1 (2017–18)[1]
Color(s)     Red
Athletics conferenceGirls Catholic Athletic Conference
NicknameMighty Macs[2]
PublicationInscape (alumnae and donor magazine)
Equinox (annual art and literary magazine)


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.[5]

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.[5] 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 1200 young women and 95 faculty and staff members form the McAuley community.

School ShieldEdit

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.[6] 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.[5]


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.[7]

The following teams have finished in the top four of their IHSA sponsored state tournament or meet:[8]

  • 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.[9]

As of 2009, the water polo team holds the state record for appearances in the state tournament and top four finishes.[10]

Notable alumnaeEdit


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.

Since 2018, proud alumna Jenny McCarthy hand selects one lucky McAuley woman to be a guest host on an episode of the hit Fox show, The Masked Singer.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Search for Private Schools – School Detail for Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
  2. ^ a b School information for Mother McAuley LAS;; accessed June 21, 2009
  3. ^ "Institution Summary - Mother McAuley High School". AdvancED. Retrieved August 17, 2019 – via
  4. ^ AOC. "Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools". Retrieved April 1, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c MMHS. "Mother McAuley High School History". Retrieved May 11, 2007.
  6. ^ MMHS. "Mother McAuley High School Shield". Retrieved April 1, 2010.
  7. ^ a b Mother McAuley Athletic Department; accessed June 21, 2009
  8. ^ Season summaries for MMLAS;; accessed June 21, 2009
  9. ^ Table of Titles for Girls Volleyball;; accessed June 21, 2009
  10. ^ Table of Titles for Girls Water Polo;; accessed June 21, 2009
  11. ^ Austin, Michael & Wehunt, Jennifer; Before They Were Famous; February 2007; Chicago Magazine; accessed June 22, 2009
  12. ^ a b c Akouris, tina; Mother McAuley – High School of the Week; October 17, 2007; Chicago Sun-Times; accessed June 21, 2009
  13. ^ News Release: MCAULEY TEAMS RECEIVE HALL OF FAME HONORS; Mother McAuley High School; accessed June 21, 2009 Archived July 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Barker, Bonnie; WIU Thespian Erin O'Connor Named Miss Illinois; June 22, 2009; Press Release from University Relations; accessed July 13, 2009

External linksEdit