Blue Island Mother of Sorrows High School for Girls “Stingers”

Mother of Sorrows High School (main building)
A large building with a tree in front of it

Description automatically generated with low confidence
Courtesy of “A History of Offices, Agencies, & Institutions in the Archdiocese of Chicago”

The History of Blue Island Mother of Sorrows High School for Girls

Blue Island (population 23,463) is located in northeastern Illinois. The city sits in south central Cook County and is a south suburb of Chicago. Interstate Highway 57 passes by the east side of town and Blue Island is connected to it by 127th Street. The Soo Line Railroad and the Illinois Central Railroad cross paths in Blue Island. The Calumet Sag Channel river flows by through the southside of town.

According to the web address of and,_Illinois, Blue Island was named because of its location on a ridge that stuck up above the flat prairie land, making it look like an island. The town was originally settled in 1835. Its location made it a great stopping place for travelers heading south from Chicago. The town grew quickly, especially after the addition of the Rock Island Railroad in 1870.

The history of the catholic high school called Mother of Sorrows is in need of research. We have been able to determine that Mother of Sorrows High School for Girls opened in 1954. According to alum Mary Ann Zeszutko (Class of 1973), the following is a brief overview of Mother of Sorrows School:

“Mother of Sorrows was founded, funded and operated by the Sisters, Servants of Mary (Mantellates). The convent originally was in Chicago, I think on “Hobie Street,” in an Italian neighborhood. The sisters later moved to Blue Island. The grammar school was a boarding and day school, and yes, it was co-ed. Most of the students were boarders. At the time I attended, it was likely because the kids had lost one parent and the other one had to work.

The girls and boys were separated, other than when they were in the classroom. Eating arrangements were in one big room, with the boys’ tables on one side, and the girls’ tables on the other. I remember that two nuns had charge of all the boys, and two other nuns had charge of all the girls. Incredible strength was shown by those women!

Sr. Raphael told me that the school became “only day” late in the ’80’s, and the grammar school closed shortly after that.

I had heard that the school building was being rented by an “alternative” high school for a while, and that the cafeteria area was rented out as banquet space, but I don’t know if this is still true.

I do know that some of the Sisters are still living in their own buildings on the campus.”

It was in 1983 that Mother of Sorrows School ceased operations of its high school curriculum.

Mother of Sorrows High School for Girls Quick Facts

Year opened:                                 1954

Year closed:                                  1983

Mother of Sorrows team nickname:  “Stingers”

Mother of Sorrows team colors:       Blue & Gold (school colors)

School Fight Song:                         “Dear M.S. High”

                                                                      Submitted by  Margaret M. (Cetera) Gemperline (C ’71)

                                                     In a beauty spot,
Near the poplars tall,
Where the skies are blue,
And the songbirds call,
By Our Lady’s daughters we are led
Through the path of life
To the goal ahead.

Dear M.S. High,
To you we sing,
To you our heartfelt homage bring,
As the blue and gold
We with joy unfold,
And our colors wide we fling!

We will pledge our love and loyalty anew,
For united now we stand.
M.S. High to you
We will be true,
You’re the fairest in the land.

Dormitory at Mother of Sorrows
A large building with a statue in front of it

Description automatically generated with medium confidence
Courtesy of “A History of Offices, Agencies, and Institutions in the Archdiocese of Chicago”


Basketball, volleyball, softball, and track were likely offered at the school.  Other sports may also have been offered.

If you have any information you can share, including the missing “quick facts” information listed above, please contact us so we can share it on this page.

**From Michelle (Darden) Henderson (Class of 1978):

“I was a member of the Stinger’s Softball Team and GAA girls athletic association. We wore our T-shirts, pins and jackets proudly. Our gym teacher was our softball coach where we mostly defended our team at Kennedy Park ”


**From Devra (Wylie) Jensen (Class of 1982):

“I was a member of the graduating class of 1982.  I remember rumors that the school might close but thought it stayed open one more year after I left. My favorite teacher was Sister Agatha. She was also my 8th grade teacher at St. Benedict’s. The year I graduated and went to Mother of Sorrows, she followed and taught there too.”

**From Lisa Jackubowski (Class of 1983):

“I was in the last graduating class. There were 60 of us in the class, 1983 was the last year the school was opened.”

**From Marcia (Schicht) Maurer (Class of 1961):

“I graduated from MSHS in 1961. I transferred there in 1959 following the closure of St. Louis Academy located in Roseland IL, which closed d/t it being a fire hazard following the inspection of all schools that was mandated after the Holy Angels Grammar School fire in which many children and teachers perished. I started MSHS as a junior. Some of my teachers were Mr. Cummings who used to attend St. Michael’s parish in Orland Park so I assume he lived there. Mrs. Michalski who taught English, Ms. Caputo who taught science.  The Principal was a sister with an Italian name. Sorry can’t remember it!  \We wore a uniform that was a periwinkle blue suit with a white blouse. Of course we all rolled up our skirts as soon as school let out so that they would be short which was the style then! There were two curriculums at the time, a college prep and a non-college prep which consisted of learning secretarial skills or homemaking skills. The honor society was very active as was student government. We all thought it was a pretty tough school but after being at St. Louis Academy we thought it was heaven b/c it was so beautiful to us. When you were a junior, you were allowed to drive to school if you had a car. Dances were typically held in the School cafeteria which we decorated to the nines.  Most commonly, the boys from Mendel High School were invited and in fact many MSHS girls had boyfriends form Mendel. My husband went to Mendel and dated a classmate of mine, but of course, I did not know then that he was to be my future husband!”

*From Billie Landis Nix (e-mail address



**From Cheryl  L.  S.  Sarna,  M. A., J. D(Class of 1967):

“I attended Mother of Sorrows High School as a student from 1963-1967 and returned there as a teacher in the Fall of 1971 (after graduation from Loyola University). I taught upper level English courses, many that I developed, and  some of which were  courses in Shakespearean Drama, Greek & Roman Drama, Novels, World Literature, English Literature, American Literature, and Creative Writing.

I taught until 1982 (when I graduated from Loyola Law School and began the practice of law). During  the 11 years I was there, I was a teacher and at different times, Senior Class Moderator, Dean of Discipline; a member of the Advisory Board, and Head of the Attendance Committee; etc.

The nuns, Sisters of the Servants of Mary, were a dedicated, hard-working, loving group who genuinely cared for the students.  It was a great place to work and I enjoyed my time there tremendously. I would like to think I helped some students with their educational endeavors.

It was very sad to see that era come to an end. We need more schools like MOS H.S., where learning is stressed, and treating students as part of a family is important.

My love to all former faculty, administration and students–you are all terrific!”

**From Diane C. Bradford:

My aunt was Sister Mary Felicita, the one and only principal Mother of Sorrows High School ever had. Family stories tell us that Sister Felicita and another nun planned the initial layout of the high school, saying “We can put the chapel here, the study hall here, etc.” Sister Felicita was a dynamic and hardworking leader, and an excellent cook. She once was known as the “Julia Child of the Convent.” Standing all of 4’9” tall, she was a bundle of energy, as were all the nuns. They were all very hardworking and dedicated to educating young women. My mom, who was a non-Catholic and an English war bride, would marvel at the “extras” that went into the nuns’ teaching, such as extra decorating touches in the classrooms you didn’t find in public schools.

I remember visiting Sister Felicita and Sister Assuntina (another aunt and the Art and History Teacher) from the time I was a little girl. I then attended Mother of Sorrows High School from 1958 to 1962 and our graduating class was just over 100 girls. The whole school at that time was about 400 students. I loved school from a very young age and the education I received at Mother of Sorrows was a very good foundation for my later career. I went on to Roosevelt University and DePaul University. I have warm fond memories of my classmates and high school days there.

I understand the alternative school has now or will soon close and the property sold to a developer for senior housing. The remaining nuns may have gone to St. George’s in Tinley Park. The last I knew, Sister Gabriele was still there, little Sister Agnes passed away, Sisters Felicita and Assuntina have passed away as well. The little congregation did not have many nuns left. It is a shame because they did such good work!”

**From Penelope (Penny) A. Eller (Class of 1968):.

“Here are the snippets of things I remember:

Does anyone remember Billy the dwarf janitor? He was so creepy he would stand under the stairwells trying to look up our skirts.

Speaking of uniforms, there’s nothing better than a wool skirt and jacket, and white blouse in the summer.

We always celebrated St. Joseph’s Day, March 19, not St. Patrick’s Day because the order of nuns were Italian.

I played the Baritone B flat in the band with Sister Christina.

Little Sister Agnes and tall and mean St. Concetta, who left the order after we graduated. I think Sister Christina also left and one other nun that year.

Sister Philip ran the library.

The little nuns who cooked for the cafeteria and they made the best pizza I ever tasted.

Decorating for all the dances.

Having the Mendel boys as our brother school.

Taking the CTA and Bluebird buses to school, no special buses for us.

Father/Daughter dances.

I remember Mr. Malkas, the first male teacher, who taught History, and I do remember all the girls had crushes on Mr. Dzik, I think he taught English.

Mrs. Buck was one of the gym teachers, I was made the roving center, playing only girls rules on the court. And, the showers never seemed to work.

One thing I must disagree with is Diane Bradford’s comment that Sister Felicity was the ‘one and only principal’ for Mother of Sorrows HS. Sister Mary Marguerite was the principal while I was in school.

At the time my best friends were Chesterine Gerez (deceased), Debbie Brown, and Kathy Shimkus.

I wasn’t the only Penelope in our class there was also Penelope Thusing.

The last memory is very sad, the summer after we graduated Karen Kuschell was killed in an automobile accident coming back from Ill. State.”

**From Pam Kamholz (Class of 1972):

“I began at Mother Of Sorrows H.S. in 1969 and finshed in 1972. Our senior class trip was to our 50th state. Ten days in paradise. Mr. RRM (Robert Roland Malkas).went with us along with, if I remember correctly, Sister Francis and a female lay teacher. I was in the choir and helped in the office during my free period. Our junior & senior uniform was a black, white, and dark red tiny checked vest, a black skirt and long sleeved white blouse. I graduated from St. Christina grade school on 111th and Homan.”

**From Cathleen (Roche) Tunno (Class of 1972):

“I have so many wonderful memories of Mother of Sorrows High School. I want to thank my parents, who have passed on, for sending me to the most magical school. I have so many memories that have lasted a life time. I graduated in 1972. I could sit here FOREVER and write of so many positives that this school and classmates have given to me. Thank you Mother of Sorrows and my classmates for my most precious memories.”

**From Allyson Rochkus Roethle (Class of 1979):

Sister Gabriel was the principal when I was a freshman in 1975. Sister Felicita became principal in 1976. I was the “St Joseph’s Day” carnival queen as a senior in 1979.”

**From Denise Fleming Claessens (Class of 1966):

“I attended MOS from 1962-1966. I lived in the little house across the street with six other girls and we were called aspirants because we were aspiring to enter this religious community. This was pretty common with girls and boys in the 60’s. I went to class with close friends from grade school and enjoyed my classes and some life long friendships. Sr. Francine became principal in 1965 and she was not as tough as Sr. Felucita. I love Glee Club and took it as an extra class to get out of PE. No sports at the time just GAA and Miss Marks who checked your red bloomer gym suit that had a skirt regularly.

I loved Sr. Joseph, Biology; Sr. Marguerite, Geometry; Mrs Brennan, English and Journalism; and Mrs Lizzio, Spanish. She now owns a restaurant in Westmont.

Sr. Agnes inspired me to love theater and although I never took art, Sr. Annunciata was an amazing artist. Mr. Quinn, please forgive me for skipping Trig class religiously. Sr. Concetta taught us nite hand for college and I remember only one thing from Latin class. “Semper ubi sub” (always wear underwear.)

In the early ’60s we had a juke box in the cafeteria and could dance during lunch. There is not one of us who cannot do a good jitter bug,mashed potatoes, or Bristol Stomp.

Most of the younger sisters left in the late 60’s. I have had contact with Sr. Lillian who has passed away, Sr. Virginia who is retired and lives in Bloomingdale, and Sister Marguerite who lives in Huntley.  They are well and planning on attending our 50th reunion next year.

MOS was a wonderful school and we received great educations.  The sisters cared and worked very hard. They still remember us and hope they were a good influence.”

**From Laurel O’Brien (Class of 1974):

“I attended Mother of Sorrows from 1970 – 1974 – it was never coed during that time frame. And the orphanage piece of the school was always kept separate from the high school operation as far as I remembered.

Sr. Gabriel was the head—I remember Sr. Frances, Mrs. Sarna (English), Mrs. Savage (typing/shorthand) and I’m blanking on the other names but will get back to you—my graduating class size was approximately 134 I believe. We were aware that they boarded children, but it was never apparent that those children were in our classrooms…although that would have been fine. I was under the perception that they were younger than high schoolers. And, yes, it was definitely a banquet hall for a few years after it’s demise as a high school.

It had a lot of lay teachers, in addition to a few sisters, leading the classrooms.”

**From George Nauss:

“After reading print out of Mother of Sorrows I thought I would jump in with a few items. I was there in the early 1950s as a boarder. My parents had separated and my dad had to work, so there I was for 2 years. The Sisters had me trained to be an altar boy. The boys were on one side of the corridor and the girls were on the other side. I did have a girlfriend named Judy though I cannot recall her last name. It was suggested after 2 years of putting up with me (ha ha) that I leave. However, From there I went to Morgan Park Military Academy. Over the years I have talked to people from both schools. I eventually married a girl who was studying to be a nun. I have many good memories of being there – for 1st and 2nd grade.”

To Contact Us With More Information

If you have information you would like to share regarding Blue Island Mother of Sorrows High School for Girls please write to us via e-mail at . You can also contact us via real mail at:

IHSGD Website

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago, Il.   60631


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: