McAuley is a place that empowers girls to use their strong voices and leadership abilities to make a lasting difference in the world we all share. Visitors to our campus witness this every day – in our classrooms, on the field, and projecting from the stage. Girls here see their potential as having no limits.

A Mother McAuley education is transformative. Our rigorous academics lay a strong foundation for our students, who go on to find great success and fulfillment in college and beyond. Our liberal arts perspective provides an unmatched education that is enriched with hands-on learning opportunities in the humanities, arts, natural and social sciences, and teaches our students not only how to solve problems, but also how to think about them critically and broadly, making connections in the world around them. Our focus on a single gender education gives our students the spotlight across athletics, academics, visual and performing arts, leadership opportunities, and more, which in turn instills in them the absolute knowledge that there is no limit to what they can achieve. Our dedication to the mission of Catherine McAuley and the Sisters of Mercy allow our students to grow in their faith and learn the importance of service and giving back to their community.

The experiences and benefits of a McAuley education last for a lifetime. 

Liberal Arts Education

Liberal Arts Education

Infused in the liberal arts, Mother McAuley’s academic curriculum centralizes on six key interdisciplinary skills found throughout all disciplines — from Science and Math to English and World Languages to Music and the Visual Arts.

Girls inherently learn differently than boys so the Mother McAuley academic program tailors instruction to girls’ learning styles, including experiential learning opportunities, peer collaboration, personalized instructor feedback, and authentic assessments.

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Our Mission & History

Our Mission & History

This year, we celebrate 175 years of Mercy education in Chicago. Through these years, we have educated thousands of young women and have been on the forefront of educational excellence since the beginning. 

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Student Life


Student connectedness is a hallmark of the McAuley experience. The vibrant energy within our hallways, infectious school spirit, and unrivaled camaraderie fosters an incredible sense of community and pride that is felt from the very first day you walk through our doors to well beyond graduation.

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A Brief History of Mother McAuley

In 1846, a small group of Mercy Sisters arrived in Chicago, led by Frances Warde, Catherine McAuley's closest friend. Within weeks they opened a "select school" that became St. Francis Xavier Academy for Females, the first school chartered in the city of Chicago.

The course of study covered primary, secondary and collegiate levels. The first building was located on Wabash Avenue between Madison and Monroe Streets. When the Chicago Fire in 1871 destroyed the original building, St. Francis Academy relocated to 29th and Wabash for a short time, then to a larger site at 49th and Cottage Grove in 1900. In the 1950's, the southwest side of Chicago needed a Catholic girls' school to serve a fast-growing population. In 1956 "the Academy" relocated once again. Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School and St. Xavier College (which is now a university) opened in the fall of 1956 to serve secondary and post secondary women students respectively. McAuley opened with 523 students, 300 of which were first year students. McAuley has continued to expand. Today approximately 890 young women and 120 faculty and staff members form the McAuley community.

Mother McAuley is accredited by Cognia, is recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education, and is proud to be a member of Mercy Education.