St. Catherine Labouré School to celebrate its 60th anniversary
St. Catherine Labouré School Principal Jodi Reuter doesn't take the Glenview institution's acronym lightly.
Particularly in the 60th anniversary year of the Glenview Catholic school, which teaches about 180 students, preschoolers through eighth-graders, at 3425 Thornwood Ave.
"It's always stood for Sharing, Caring and Loving," said Reuter, at St. Catherine Labouré for 22 years.
"But we've also elevated that over the years to be Scholastic achievement, Catholic values and Lifelong learning," she said, earning double points on the "L."
"I think with the 60th anniversary celebration, and you look up and down the hallways -- we have the pictures of all the graduating classes -- for sure we know that we've attained all those things with all those graduates," Reuter said.
St. Catherine Labouré Church Pastor Isaac Lara said ground was broken for the school building on April 23, 1961, and its cornerstone laid that Aug. 26.
The school opened Jan. 3, 1962, and the new building was dedicated on April 8, 1962. It cost $750,000 to build, which Rev. Lara said at today's prices would be $7.1 million.
The pastor said St. Catherine Labouré Church had been built in 1960. While the parish's 60th anniversary was acknowledged in 2020, COVID precautions prohibited a "proper celebration," Lara said.
"We want to include alumni and teachers and families, but we also want to include the community at large in appreciation of the church," he said.
The school's 60th anniversary will be celebrated Oct. 15 in tandem with St. Catherine Labouré's Oktoberfest, the first time in several years that event is being held. Historically, Oktoberfest draws school families past and present, alumni, parishioners, and current and retired teachers.
All are invited to the 16-acre campus. From noon to about 4 p.m. the first section of what is a three-part festival is geared mainly to families and children. From 12:30-2:30 p.m. there will be a balloon artist, face painters, a bouncy house and a pumpkin patch. The family portion wraps up with JG's Reptile Road Show starting at 3 p.m.
A kids' meal, juice or water and a German pretzel also are available at additional charge from noon-4 p.m. Beer, wine and other drinks will be available for adults to buy.
A community Mass will be celebrated at 5 p.m. in the adjacent St. Catherine Labouré Church.
After that, it's adult time through 11 p.m., with a beer tent, the Die Muskimeisters band from 6-8 p.m., and a disc jockey. Teachers, staff members and church ministry groups have created baskets of auction items, and a commemorative beer stein will be sold, as will a German meal including bratwurst, potato salad and sauerkraut.
"It's just an opportunity to bring everyone together," Lara said.
St. Catherine Labouré parish includes around 1,100 families, he said. The majority of school students live in Glenview, Reuter said, but the parish and school also draws people from Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Des Plaines, Evanston, Morton Grove, Niles, Northbrook, Prospect Heights and other communities.
"When people come to the school, they feel the diversity," Lara said. "We are inclusive; we include anyone who comes to our doors. Most of us are from Glenview, but we also are blessed to have other families from the suburbs around Glenview. ... We have families from all of these places because they see the value of St. Catherine Labouré School."
The school's anniversary celebration is the latest of notable events the parish has hosted. Cardinals John Cody, Francis George and Blase Cupich all have visited over the course of its history -- Cupich most recently after St. Catherine Labouré's creation of a shrine to Our Lady of Fatima.
The standing-room-only Mass Cupich led that day left an impression on the cardinal.
"'Wow, you really are a parish of United Nations,'" Reuter recalled him saying.
"He was referring to the diversity that he saw among the congregation," she said. "We have families from so many different countries, and we have so many ministries within the church. He made a testimony to that, and that was really neat."
It may very well be a topic of discussion on Oct. 15 as people return to St. Catherine Labouré.
"When people come back, we're hoping the alumni can visit the building and walk around and revisit those days," Reuter said.