Our History & Mission
Education is the Heart of Our Story
Following the leadership of foundress Mother Mary Theresa Dudzik, since 1898, the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago have responded to the needs of God’s people and have served in various ministries, including education. They opened Madonna High School in 1949 with a mission to provide high-quality Catholic secondary education to young women.
For more than 50 years, Madonna High School kept this mission alive, at one time serving as many as 1,200 students. The Madonna Foundation represents all the best of Madonna High School’s proud traditions.
The Madonna Foundation’s mission is to educate young women from the Chicago area who face barriers in order to transform lives and launch bright futures by providing access to academic excellence at a single-gender Catholic high school. The Foundation educates the whole person by instilling the Franciscan values of Respect, Dedication, Stewardship and Joy through dynamic programming and tuition support.
Continuing the Sisters’ Legacy
In 2001, the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago transitioned their educational support from a brick-and-mortar school to scholarship opportunities and programming through the newly established Madonna Scholars Program. The Madonna Scholars Program allows the legacy of the Sisters, along with the mission of Franciscan Ministries, to continue its focus on educating and empowering young women.
Franciscan Ministries, sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago, continues our foundress’ mission to serve those in need by continuing to care for generations of families. They own and operate premier senior living communities that offer a spectrum of housing and care options. They also provide community-based services, including home care and child care. In addition, through their charitable programs, they operate a domestic violence shelter and provide educational support for students attending an all-girls Catholic high school.
The crucial combination of scholarship support and dynamic programming distinguishes the Madonna Foundation from other scholarship programs in the area. Need-based Catholic school scholarships, in tandem with robust college readiness programming, are the key to our success.
By investing in the education of young women, they can achieve what they never thought possible and become the next generation of educated, compassionate leaders and philanthropists.
Our Madonna Scholars
The Madonna Foundation supports girls annually at the six remaining all-girls Catholic high schools in the Chicago area. It is the only program of its kind in Chicagoland focusing exclusively on educating and empowering teen girls.
Madonna scholars come from a variety of Chicago-area neighborhoods and have one thing in common – the desire for a superior high school education at all-girl, Catholic high schools. They share a strong work ethic and a desire to achieve academic success, despite some of the economic and academic challenges they may face. We believe with the right support and programming, each student has the potential to grow and develop during high school – forging a path to college with the promise of a bright future.
Madonna scholars are awarded multiple college scholarship offers and go on to selective colleges and universities throughout the region and nation, pursuing a variety of majors and career paths.