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  • ABC 7 Chicago

    St. Christopher's Church celebrates 100 years of Midlothian school


    St. Christopher's has been an educational and spiritual beacon in the south suburbs for a century.

    As the Midlothian school celebrates, they're also saying goodbye to their most iconic teacher.

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    At its core, St. Christopher's is a catholic community, deeply rooted in its founding by the Franciscan Sisters of Dubuque.

    Saturday afternoon's mass was a particularly reverent service. It was the beginning of a 100-year celebration.

    St. Christopher's in south suburban Midlothian is marking 100 years as a school.

    'We have over 5,000 graduates in 100 years from St. Christopher's school... it really is a generational school," Michelle Friedl said.

    Generation after generation of students, teachers, parents and students who become both St. Christopher's parents and teachers have walked the halls and filled the sanctuary.

    "I saw the opportunity to be part of something great," Athletic Director Tony Manrique said. 'We've built this program into something spectacular."

    But perhaps no one has honed the traditions and shaped more lives than Sister Laurinda Hefel.

    "They have given me more than I have received," Hefel said.

    Known as the "last nun to walk through St. Christopher," Sister Laurinda has served the school for half of it's existence. She is now stepping into retirement, closing the chapter on a half-century career.

    "It's bittersweet," she said. "I'm very humbled by everything, because I couldn't have done it without the good lord, my family, and wonderful, faithful people here."

    St. Christopher's century milestone is all the more impressive after a bleak chapter in it's history. In 2014 it was on the brink of closing its doors.

    "They did a huge "save St. Christopher's school"... due to those generous donors we are able to still be in this building and our children attend school," Friedl said.

    Ever grateful to still be thriving, St. Christopher's now celebrates 100 years of service, education, and the spiritual guidance of their most devout cheerleader.
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