For residents of the South Loop, Old St. Mary’s Church on S. Michigan Ave. is a local landmark. But did you know that OSM’s is the oldest Catholic congregation in the city? The congregation formed in 1833 (as Saint Mary of the Assumption) and the original church was located on the south side of Lake St. In 1846, the church established the first Catholic grammar school in Chicago.
Establishing Roots in the South Loop
|Snow boots neatly arranged outside a preschool classroom|
A Complete Elementary School
In the summer of 2010, construction of a new school began. It was completed in time for the 2011-2012 school year. According to current Old St Mary’s School principal, Mary Lee Calihan, the school now serves 259 students. Grades include preschool through sixth grade. According to Calihan, additional grades will be added each year until the school is a complete elementary school through the eight grade. The school has a five-year plan that includes knocking down the old school facility south of the church to build more classrooms and creating a junior high.
|Students learn weather-related vocabulary words|
OSM’s aims to be a vibrant part of the South Loop and encourages its students to give back in service to their community.OSM’s is a neighborhood school with approximately 75% of its students within walking distance, according to Calihan.
For more information on OSM’s, please visit their Web site and find them on Facebook. Below is the mission statement from OSM’s school Web site.
Old St. Mary’s Catholic School is dedicated to educating the children of its growing parish by:
- Providing a solid foundation in the Catholic faith, within the context of a challenging academic program, one that takes advantage of all of the cultural opportunities available in the city around us.
- Complementing the role of the family in nurturing a strong sense of dignity and self-worth in each child.
- Developing an appreciation in every child of their connection to others by fostering a sense of concern and a commitment to service.
- Encouraging habits that build strong minds in healthy bodies and that nurture secure and poised individuals who will be ready to meet the challenges of the present and future.