Our Namesake

Who was Mother Frances Xavier Warde?

Mother Frances Xavier Warde was born in Ireland, orphaned early, and possessed an indomitable spirit and a love of those in need. Even from original documents, it’s difficult to chart her activity, as she travelled extensively and founded many institutions of service and education all across the country. With a few Sisters of Mercy, Mother Frances Xavier Warde came to the U.S. in 1843 and was called to Chicago by the Bishop in 1846.

Within two years, the spirited Mother Frances Xavier Warde had begun a girls’ academy and a parochial elementary school. Her faith and energy led her to four more states to establish other schools, orphanages, and hospitals. Once she had reached her goals in one location, she moved ahead to replicate her idea in another location. Mother Frances Xavier Warde was an unstoppable and compassionate woman.

Fast forward to the 1990’s. A group of parishioners from Old St. Patrick’s Church wanted to found a school that would include the religious, racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of Chicago. Impressed by the work of Mary Ellen Caron in reviving an inner city school, these parishioners approached her and asked if she would lead this effort. With a lot of energy and spirit, Mary Ellen agreed to help. She was an inspiration to those she recruited in establishing the School.

The Frances Xavier Warde School, like Mother Frances Xavier Warde and Mary Ellen Caron, is an energetic, spirited and unstoppable institution. We are proud to carry Mother Frances Xavier Warde’s name and work hard to live up to her spirit of hospitality and fearless determination in providing Chicago’s children with an excellent, service-oriented education.