The History of St. Therese Chinese Catholic School
Founded in 1941 as a mission school with two large classrooms, St. Therese Chinese Catholic School was the first Catholic school for Chinese children in the Midwest. Its purpose was to provide a Catholic education to the newly baptized members of the Chinatown community.
Now a parish school, St. Therese has evolved from a place to help Chinese children adapt to American life to a multicultural school reflecting Chicago’s broad demographics, welcoming children of recent immigrants and longtime residents from a diverse range of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. From its humble beginnings, St. Therese has grown to become a nationally and internationally recognized model for excellent elementary education.
The History of St. Barbara School
St. Barbara School opened in 1910 and was a beacon for Catholic education in the Bridgeport community. Like St. Therese, St. Barbara School opened its doors to serve new immigrants, primarily of Polish descent. For more than a century, St. Barbara School was at the epicenter of a strong Catholic community, constantly expanding and embracing new social and cultural groups in fostering its essential spiritual and educational mission. St. Barbara School worked to meet the educational needs of the Bridgeport community with the highest dedication, enthusiasm, and excellence. In 1947, St. Barbara established an all-girls high school in an adjoining building, educating young women for more than 50 years.
A Joining of Traditions
Beginning in 2018, St. Barbara, St. Therese, and several other nearby parishes and schools joined with the Archdiocese in the Renew My Church discernment process. This process eventually resulted in the decision to have St. Therese Chinese Catholic School expand to a second campus at St. Barbara to meet the ongoing demand for the unique, quality, Catholic education St. Therese provides.
The second campus, St. Therese Chinese Catholic School–St. Barbara Campus, opened with the 2019-2020 school year at the site of the St. Barbara School. The two campuses now are one school, operating under one administration and following the same academic, religious, and cultural programming that has earned St. Therese such interest and accolades.