History of Parish and School

  • 1924-1927

    Parishioners begin raising the $93,047.40 it will take to build the parish’s first church. They hold chicken dinners, raffles, rummage sales, dances and pledge drives. The Albert Riedy family donates six lots for the new building.

  • 1925

    On August 29, the cornerstone is laid with hundreds of clergy, parishioners and friends attending.

  • 1927

    On June 25, the original St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church opens. The first Mass is the Joseph Miller – Bertha Long wedding. The building includes a three-room school, a church seating 500 and a convent.

    In the fall, the parish grade school opens. Classes are led by two Benedictine Sisters from Sacred Heart Monastery – Sister Mary Dolores Janota and Sister Mary Clarissa Ruda. The next year, Sister Mary Bonaventure Kovalcik arrives.

  • 1928

    On June 17, three girls and two boys are the first graduating class from St. Joan of Arc school. The second graduating class would have 12 students.

  • 1929

    On November 24, St. Joan of Arc’s building is dedicated. The Reverend B.J. Sheil, auxiliary bishop of Chicago, officiates.

  • 1949

    The Diocese of Joliet is created and includes St. Joan of Arc Parish.

  • 1955

    In the summer, construction begins on the elementary school.

  • 1957

    The new school building on Columbia Avenue opens with 320 pupils.

  • 1963

    The junior high addition is constructed. The addition includes a large gymnasium, the basement of which also serves as the Parish’s Chapel, where additional Sunday Masses are eventually held, since the original church building can no longer accommodate the larger congregation.

  • 1973

    On February 19, the parish holds a farewell Mass in its original red brick building. The building is razed in August after it is condemned for being structurally unsound.

    The same year, the parish begins a $1 million fund-raising drive to build a new church.

  • 1975

    On July 25, ground is broken for the new church.

  • 1976

    On Christmas Eve, the parish celebrates its first Mass in the new church.

  • 1977

    On March 13, the church is officially dedicated.

  • 1985

    In the spring, the Benedictine Sisters return to live at Sacred Heart Monastery, and the convent is converted into parish administrative offices. The rectory is relocated to a house on Front Street, and the former rectory building is sold.

    This year also sees the completion of an addition linking the elementary and junior high buildings, as well as the addition of more classrooms and offices.

  • 1985-1986

    St. Joan of Arc School wins the National Blue Ribbon elementary school recognition award received by only 34 outstanding Catholic elementary exemplary schools in the nation.

  • 1996

    In September, the parish launched a fundraising drive to build a parish center housing adult religious education classes and other programs. The first kindergarten classes are held in the school.

  • 1999

    St. Joan of Arc Parish celebrates its 75th anniversary. The new parish center is dedicated on June 13.

  • 2003

    Preschool program for three and four year old students opens.

  • 2011

    The US Department of Education recognizes SJA as a National Blue Ribbon School for a second time based on our overall academic excellence. The coveted National Blue Ribbon School award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.

  • 2014

    The PAR is renovated to create a updated multipurpose area for school and parish activities.

    St. Joan of Arc students communicate directly with NASA’s International Space Station.

  • 2016

    Lunch for students takes place in the PAR as opposed to individual classrooms.

  • 2023

    St. Joan of Arc Catholic School is thrilled to be named a 2023 National Blue Ribbon School for the 3rd time based on our overall academic excellence and performance factors. The coveted National Blue Ribbon School award affirms the hard work of our students, educators, families, and community in creating a safe and welcoming environment where students master challenging and engaging content. Having previously won in 1985 and 2011, we are so proud of being honored again. The Education Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories. Our award was in the category of Exemplary High Performing Schools with test scores in the top 15% of the nation.