The History of Lisle St. Procopius 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, alolng 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 provide rail service along with Amtrak and Metra for those that work in Chicago. St. Joseph’s Creek also runs thru the community.
St. Procopius Academy began as an all-boys’ school in Chicago in the year 1887, located at the corner of 18th and Allport Streets as a day school in the Pilsen neighborhood (near West Side) and led by Abbot Jaeger Nepomucene of the Order of St. Benedict at the head of the Benedictine order. The school remained there until 1901 when the founding fathers moved it to Lisle to join another school that had been opened the previous year, St. Joseph Bohemian Orphanage.
The school was located at the present-day facility of Benedictine University, where it was also affiliated with St. Procopius College. The main building was added onto in 1907 and again in 1922, while a second building was erected in 1915, followed by a gym/power plant in 1925, and physical sciences building in 1943.
St. Procopius was a resident of Bohemia in the Czech Republic that lived in the 10th and 11th Century, ordained to the priesthood around 1003 to the Eastern Rite (also known as the Eastern Orthodox Church). He became a hermit and devoted his life to teaching and serving by establishing a monastery in the Sazava Valley, which survived until 1785. St. Procopius died in 1053, and was canonized as a saint in 1204.
The school stayed at the same location until 1956 when St. Joseph’s was closed, and the high school moved to a new location in Lisle. The high school remained all-boys’ until 1967 when the all-girls’ Sacred Heart Academy came over and helped open up Benet Academy on the St. Procopius Academy campus.
FACTS ABOUT ST. PROCOPIUS ACADEMY
Year opened in Chicago: 1887
Year St. Joseph’s Bohemian Orphanage opened: 1900
Year school moved to Lisle: 1901
Last year as St. Procopius: 1967
School colors: Red & White
School nickname: “Red Wings”
School song: (words courtesy of Tom Lamonica)
Go, Proco, Go
Get you going all you loyal boys
Go Red & White
Our team will shine …
We pledge our loyalty