The History of Our School
The Twelve Apostles with Father Charles Menkel
On July 25, 1925, Bishop Muldoon appointed a young assistant pastor to a newly formed parish on the eastern edge of Aurora. Bishop Muldoon stated to the new pastor, “The little flower will guide and direct you.” It is said that the Little Flower was Saint Therese of Lisieux , canonized one month prior to the young pastor’s assignment. In 1997 Saint Therese of Lisieux was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II. Her feast day is October 1 and she is the patron saint of African missions, AIDS sufferers, bodily ills and tuberculosis.
The young pastor, Reverend Charles Henkel, served Saint Therese Parish for twenty-five years. He was an instrumental leader providing for the spiritual guidance of one hundred fifty Catholic families living within the geographical boundaries. The school/church, rectory and convent were built for less than $100,000.
Saint Therese of Jesus School opened in the fall of 1926 with four School Sisters of Saint Francis of Milwaukee greeting 130 students. The building was designed to house four classrooms over the church with the convent in the back of the second floor of the school. The first graduating class was nicknamed the “Twelve Apostles “by founding principal Sister Thaddeus. Currently the school houses six classrooms, a library, computer lab and multi-purpose room in the building formerly occupied by the church and convent.
The demographics of Saint Therese’s boundaries have changed from Lithuanian to primarily Hispanic. Over the years the enrollment has fluctuated and the teaching staff that was once the School Sisters of Saint Francis is now lay personnel. The enrollment is 138 students representing seventy-two families. Many alumni have brought their children to Saint Therese of Jesus School to keep the rich, Catholic educational tradition alive within their family.
Saint Therese School participated in a self-study in the Spring of 2012 resulting in full recognition from the State of Illinois and the Diocese of Rockford. The faculty, staff and parents of Saint Therese are committed to providing a quality, faith-based education to the students entrusted to their care.