St. Anne Catholic Boys’ Academy

  The History of St. Anne Catholic Boys’ Academy

St. Anne (population 1,212) is located in east central Illinois, located 10 miles west of the Illinois-Indiana border and 12 miles southeast of Kankakee. State Route 1 (aka the Dixie Highway) runs thru town, as do two railroads and there are two lakes (Cote Lake and Pickeral Lake) that are at the north end of the community.

It is believed that St. Anne was founded around 1850 during the time when the Rev. Charles Chiniquy moved there after leaving Boubonnais Grove (now Bourbonnais), following a fire that destroyed the church that he was the pastor of in 1853. Chiniquy’s history is one filled with controversy due to being accused of setting that fire, and was defended in court twice by Abraham Lincoln with both trials ending in a hung jury.

St. Anne Catholic Boys’ Academy opened on November 1, 1855 at the request of Rev. Chiniquy, who was pastor of St. Anne’s Parish. Students came from Kankakee, Bourbonnais, L’Erable, and Manteno to attend the school, and were at 150 students within a year.

St. Anne’s closed as a Catholic school in 1856 when the Christian Brothers were recalled to Montreal by their order, due to the excommunication of Chiniquy by Bishop Anthony O’Regan of Chicago. However, the school remained open under Chiniquy until 1881 when he became a Presbyterian minister and by that time, a overwhelming number of his parishoners converted to the same religion.

Today, high school students in St. Anne attend either the hometown St. Anne High School (a public institution) or go to Kankakee at McNamara High School, a Catholic high school named after the first Bishop of Joliet, Martin McNamara.


Year opened:                   1855

Year teaching order left:    1856

Year closed:                    1881


about the history of St. Anne Catholic Boys’ Academy. If you or someone you know has more details about the school, let us know. Our email address is or by sending your information in the mail to:

Illinois High School Glory Days

6439 North Nava

Chicago, IL  60631

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