News Archive

News Story


Stained glass window to be dedicated at annual Founders' Day Celebration

Sisters of Mercy donate window to Saint Xavier University

Chicago (Nov. 15, 2005) – To celebrate Saint Xavier University’s Founders’ Day, a German-made stained glass window depicting Mother Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, will return home to Saint Xavier University at the annual celebration on Friday, Dec. 2.

The beautiful stained-glass window first made its home in the chapel of Saint Xavier Academy and College circa 1901 when the school was located at 49th and Cottage Grove Avenue. When the academy and college moved to its current location at 103rd Street and Central Park Avenue in 1956, the former campus was sold to the Archdiocese of Chicago and the chapel was razed.

In the 1980s, an alumnus of a Sisters of Mercy elementary school saw the window in an antique store on North State Street and recognized the black-and-white habit to be that of a Sister of Mercy. The alum contacted the Sisters of Mercy, and they set about to verify the authenticity of the window with the help of Sister Cathleen Cahill,  RSM, now administrative director of the Pastoral Ministry Institute at Saint Xavier, and Sister Pat Illing, RSM, who was then the archivist for the Sisters of Mercy.

Illing, who spent many a morning and evening praying from her choir stall directly under this window, recognized it immediately and set out to prove it by finding a photo of it. Cahill then negotiated the purchase of the window and oversaw its renovation before it was installed in the Sisters of Mercy Regional Center in 1991, exactly 150 years after the death of Mother Catherine McAuley.

The Sisters of Mercy agreed to a long-term loan of the window to Saint Xavier University so more people could enjoy it.

“Saint Xavier University is the oldest Catholic institution of higher education in the city of Chicago, but when we moved to our current campus, we came without many of the artifacts of our history. This window will help us remember the great sacrifices and creativity of the women who founded Saint Xavier Academy and College, the forerunners of Saint Xavier University and Mother McAuley High School,” said Sister Susan Sanders, RSM, PhD, vice president for University Mission & Heritage at Saint Xavier University. “It’s exciting that after 160 years of education, faith and service, the Sisters of Mercy have now given us a visible reminder of this great woman who started this work in 1846.”

The Founders’ Day celebration will start with Mass at noon on Friday, Dec. 2, in McDonough Chapel at Saint Xavier University’s Chicago campus at 3700 W. 103rd St. The window, installed at the east entrance of the Warde Academic Center, will be dedicated at 3 p.m. The Founders’ Day celebration of the Mercy heritage and the liberal arts will follow in McDonough Chapel. The celebration will include readings of Saint Xavier University professor Laurence Musgrove’s poem, “This Bell;” a performance of Stephen Paulus’ “Above Me, Round Me Lie,” by the University Chamber Singers; and presentations of artistic work by SXU senior Mimi Robichaux and Professor Ron Mark. A reception will follow in the Butler Room.

The public is invited to attend any or all of these events. For more information about Founders’ Day events, contact the Office for University Mission at (773) 298-3981 or visit www.sxu.edu.


Saint Xavier University, a Catholic institution inspired by the heritage of the Sisters of Mercy, educates men and women to search for truth, to think critically, to communicate effectively, and to serve wisely and compassionately in support of human dignity and the common good.

Saint Xavier University Media Relations: 773-298-3325
3700 West 103rd Street, Chicago Ill. 60655 * 18230 Orland Parkway, Orland Park, Ill. 60467
online faculty expert guide: www.sxu.edu/marketing_svcs/faculty_experts.asp