Historian Ellen Skerrett ’67, recipient of a 2009 Alumni Award of Distinction from Rockford College (1971), recently curated an exhibit for St. Ignatius College Prep that includes rare photos and documents from the Chicago SSND Heritage office about Holy Guardian Angel parish. The first Italian parish on Chicago’s West Side (f. 1898) was demolished in 1959 to make way for the Dan Ryan Expressway. Parishioners contributed generously to the construction of new quarters at Cabrini Street and Blue Island Avenue, only to learn in 1961 that Mayor Richard J. Daley had offered the site for the new campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago.
With the help of Sister Gail Johnson ’53, coordinator of the SSND Heritage Office, Ellen was able to tell the story of Sister Filibert Spirrizzi, SSND, principal of Holy Guardian Angel School from 1947 to 1963. Despite her tireless protests and those of other community activists, the city’s proposed location of the U. of I. campus prevailed.