HOLY ANGELS CATHOLIC SCHOOL
1892: Archbishop Patrick A. Feehan, Bishop of Chicago, sends Fr. William J. McNamee to start a parish for the west side of Aurora, which had been without a church for 23 years after the first Church, Sacred Heart, burned in
1869: The first church, at Locust and Galena, was purchased from the Adventists who had earlier purchased it from the New England Congregationalists.
1909: Fr. James Quinn assigned pastor of Holy Angels, going forward with plans for building a new church on Locust Street.
1909: The Aurora Beacon announced secured contracts for not only a new church, but also a school and parish hall combination building.
1911: Easter Mass was celebrated in the new church and plans were made to open the school in September, with a capacity of 250 students. Fr. Quinn made arrangements with the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois, to staff the school. Sisters Mary DeSales Kelly, Martina Fagan, Andrea Cullivan, Mary Alacoque O'Dwyer and Clementine Einig opened the school in September. They were later joined by a music teacher and a housekeeper from the order.
1912: The first commencement exercises for the new school take place in June. The first graduates: Edna Quinn, Margaret Mullen, Edward Stare, and Ralph Reuland.
1915: Fr. Quinn purchased a home on Locust Street (adjacent to the parish building) for the Sisters to use as a convent. Previously, the Sisters lived on the second floor at the west end of school. (The parish hall was on the basement level; the church was on the first floor; and the school and "convent" were on the second floor.) The two rooms where the Sisters resided were converted to classrooms. Now there was room for about 330 students.
1918: An addition was made to the combination building, allowing for two more classrooms, a kindergarten, and a library, offering a capacity of about 400 students. In addition, the house on the southeast corner of Chestnut and Galena Boulevard was obtained, a grand place with an iron fence, and this became the new convent. The Sisters former home was converted into the rectory and the old rectory was demolished to provide more space around church and school.
1927: Fr. Quinn died, and the new pastor, Fr. Walter J. Scollin, devoted more time and labor into fixing up the school and parish hall combination building.
1932: Msgr. Frederick F. Connor became pastor. Msgr. Connor makes plans for a new parish complex, including plans for a new school.
1942: Land was purchased for the present church, rectory, school, and convent.
1952: The Church and rectory were dedicated by Bishop Patrick Boylan. Additional space in the old combination building on Locust Street was opened to the school.
1955: A large campaign was begun to obtain $500,000 to begin a new school.
1961: After several delays in construction over the past years, the school and convent was dedicated on Sunday, the 20th of August. School began with sixteen ultra-modern classrooms, cafeteria, meeting rooms, and a gymnasium. Thirteen sisters and six lay teachers staffed the new school. The school was open to 790 students. It can also be noted that the new school opened on the school's 50th anniversary. To that date there were approximately 1,814 students who had graduated since the school opened in 1911.
1963: The old combination building, which had served for the previous two years as a temporary facility for freshman students of a local Catholic high school, was torn down. A food store had purchased the building and land from the parish. Today a parking lot and a grocery store mark the former site.
1966: Msgr. Connor, pastor for 34 years, dies. At this time there were 933 students registered in the school.
1981: A new addition to the school was completed. The new addition included a new west wing with four classrooms and a library.
1987: The 75th anniversary of Holy Angels School. On Friday, March 20th, a Jubilee Mass was held for the children. The children planned the liturgy around the theme of thanksgiving for the many graces bestowed upon the school over the years. An open house of the school followed Mass, with the eighth graders conducting tours of school. A Jubilee Dinner was held on Saturday evening, March 21st. Over 600 guests attended with entertainment provided by the Holy Angels School Jazz Band. The Parish Jubilee Mass was celebrated on Sunday, March 22, 1987 with the priests, deacons, the Springfield Dominican Sisters, the teachers, and students of past and present, joining together to celebrate this Mass of thanksgiving.
1992: The year of the Jubilee for Holy Angels Church, celebrating 100 years of service to God's people. In January a Latin Mass began the yearlong celebration. In May Bishop O'Neill dedicated the newly decorated church, which had undergone remodeling in 1991. In November, the church held a dinner-dance to end the Centennial celebration.
1997: A campaign fund drive began to expand and renovate both the parish facilities and the school.
1998: Construction began on the addition to school. Holy Angels Parishioners pledged over $1 million to the Holy Angels Parish Building Fund for the renovation and addition work to the school.
1999: The Dominican Sisters end 87 years of service to Holy Angels School. On Sunday, June 6, 1999, the Holy Angels Parish Community hosted a reception for the Dominican Sisters of Springfield in honor of their 87 years of service and dedication to the Holy Angels School Community. Dominican Sisters of both present and past attended the reception in their honor. Approximately 1,000 parents, students, and parishioners personally thanked and bid farewell to the Sisters. On October 3, 1999, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to dedicate the new school addition. Fr. Gerald Kobbeman, pastor of Holy Angels, lead the dedication ceremony. The school addition provided an additional 9,884 square feet of space. The addition included eight new classrooms and a computer lab. Renovation work to the main building allowed for the addition of an art room, a science room complete with lab tables and chairs, a remodeled music room, a separate band room, an additional classroom, and expanded storage facilities.