The History of Lisle Sacred Heart Academy
Lisle (population: 21,282) is a western suburb of Chicago, located about 30 miles west of the big city along the DuPage River and was first settled in 1830 by Bailey Hobson. Two years later, James & Luther Hatch permanently settled in Lisle after the Black Hawk War as farmers, and started the trend towards having others joining them. The community is located in DuPage County and had ties to the dairy industry for many years. As unusual as it may seem, the residents of Lisle did not incorporate until 1956, over 125 years after the first settler came.
US Route 34 (also known as Ogden Avenue) is the major route thru Lisle, along with Illinois 53. Interstates 88 and 355 also bring commerce thru the area, bus service from Pace also available, and the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy RR provides rail service along with Amtrak and Metra for those that work in Chicago. St. Joseph’s Creek also runs thru the community.
Sacred Heart Academy was formed in 1926 by the Benedictine Sisters, who had come to Lisle in 1912 to build the monastery that the school would be located in. The order first established itself in Chicago in 1885 with the help of Mother Mary Nepomucene Jaeger, whose brother Abbot Nepomucene was the founder of St. Procopius Academy in 1887.
Excerpts from “The Rose, a senior yearbook from 1928 were provided by Richard Grantner. Richard’s mother Mildred Rose Gorecky-Grantner (1910-1963) was in the first graduating class of 1928. Her two sisters, who were nuns at Sacred Heart, were Hilda Gorecky, aka Sr. Mary Meinrada, OSB (1904-2003) and Anna Gorecky, aka Sr. Mary Gonzaga, OSB; later (post-Vatican II) Sr. Mary Ann (1906-1970).Three classes were part of the initial enrollment, Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors. The first day of classes began on September 8th, 1926. The Rose can be viewed and read in its entirety at the following web address: grantner.com/The_Rose_1928.pdf
Over time, a number of students would follow the footsteps of the religious community at Sacred Heart and join them in the monastery. The main purpose of the order was to teach, which is what a majority of them did at the school.
Faced by rising costs like other Catholic schools in the mid-1960’s, the Benedictine Sisters and Brothers decided to merge Sacred Heart Academy & St. Procopius Academy on the latter’s campus in 1967 to reopen as Benet Academy, where it still lives on today. The Sacred Heart campus is still used today as the home of the Benedictine Sisters community.
**Memories and facts from Valerie Harvey:
“I attended Sacred Heart Academy in Lisle, IL. I lived there in 1963 in the dorms on the third floor, and went to school there. They had 2 sets of dorms. One was for girls who wanted to attend a Catholic Boarding School . The other dorms were for the girls aspiring to become nuns. That’s the dorm I was in. We attended Chapel every morning, ate in the dining hall on the first floor, had jobs such as dishes, pots and pans, sinks in the dorms. We got to watch Bonanza every Sunday night (the only TV we were allowed to watch). We had a Music room and I learned to play the Cello. Many memories from this time period for me.
The grounds were beautiful with sunken gardens, grottos, orchards, and both vegetable and flower gardens.
I was in Biology class when the announced the assassination of John F Kennedy.
I am under the belief that these mid-evil, castle looking, buildings were originally an orphanage, turned into a Convent, and now into a nursing home.”
FACTS ABOUT SACRED HEART ACADEMY
Year opened: 1926
Year closed: 1967
Merged with: St. Procopius Academy to form Benet Academy
Buildings now home of: Sacred Heart Monastery
School colors: Red & White
School song: unknown