Melrose Park Sacred Heart Seminary

    The History of Melrose Park Sacred Heart Seminary

Melrose Park (population 21,171) is located in far northeastern Illinois in the west-central portion of Cook County. The town is a western suburb of Chicago and is about 15 miles west of the Chicago’s downtown area. Illinois Route 64 is the main roadway leading to and from Melrose Park. Illinois Route 171 and U.S. Route 45 border Melrose Park’s east and west sides. The Soo Line and Wisconsin Central Railroads pass through town as well.

A nice early history of the city of Melrose Park can be located on the town’s official web page of as well as on the web address of In summary, the town was created in 1882 as Melrose. The name was changed to Melrose Park in 1884. It is believed the town is named after Melrose, Massachussetts. After a slow beginning, Melrose Park began to grow in great strides after World War I. Today, the population has steadied as Melrose Park has become an industrial area as well.

A brief history of the Sacred Heart Seminary has been provided by our own Kev Varney:

“The Missionary Fathers of the Pious Society of St. Charles started this seminary in 1935 in the rectory of Santa Maria Addolarata Parish in Chicago. The school moved to Melrose Park the following year and built Bishop Scalabrini Hall in 1944, which housed dormitories, a gym, music rooms, recreation rooms, and offices.

Sacred Heart Seminary was founded to train priests from sons of American families that were of Catholic Italian lineage, accepting only those students that wanted to be a priest or brother. The school had a four-year high school, two-year college, two-year philosophy school, and four-year theologian school.”

More information on Sacred Heart Seminary can be found at the following web address: We are uncertain of the exact year that Sacred Heart Seminary closed.

Sacred Heart Seminary Quick Facts

Year opened:                  1935

Year closed:                    unknown

School team nickname:   unknown

School team colors:        unknown

School Fight Song:         unknown


from Thomas Kariotis (former student from 1961-64, dated April 24, 2020):

“I graduated from Our Lady of Pompeii school in Little Italy, and attended Sacred Heart Seminary from 1961-64. I attended before the new buildings and circular chapel were built. The new buildings are Casa Italia.

“Calvary Hill was there and has 33 stairs, which all us seminarians had to go to the top on our knees because they represented the 33 years in Christ’s life. (Here is a leaflet of Calvary Hill, courtesy of Anna Voeks: Sacred Heart Seminary Calvary Hill Shrine leaflet )

“There was a lagoon that was all water and it would freeze over, so we could shovel the snow and play hockey (in the winter). There was also a tunnel that from a building where went to school, had an audio-visual room, and a store that a Brother ran. We could only go there once a month, to another building where we slept in a dormitory that had a gym. The juniors and seniors lived upstairs, and we could not go up there.

“Our mail (incoming and outgoing) was read. There was a shrine at one end of the tunnel. We were only allowed to walk around the grounds if we had a monitor or upperclassman with us.

“The dormitory had about 30 beds there like a barracks. No free time alone and prayers always. There was no picnic area (before) they finally built and called it a pavilion.

“We could only see our parents once a month on a Sunday afternoon for a few hours. (Also), we would have to march in two single lines like little soldiers to go to another building to eat. The nuns would cook and we would have to clean up the tables.”


…so if you have them about the history of Sacred Heart Academy, please contact us immediately. We’re interested in its history, course offerings, descriptions about life at the school, sports information, and even photos or sketches of the school buildings. Please contact us at or through the mail at:

Illinois High School Glory Days

6439 North Neva Ave.

Chicago, IL  60631

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