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Catholic, Independent Elementary Schools Serving Chicago’s Children Since 1876

Mission Statement

Sacred Heart Schools on Sheridan Road—the Academy of the Sacred Heart for Girls (founded in 1876) and Hardey Preparatory for Boys (founded in 1935)—are independent, Catholic, single-sex elementary schools committed to academic excellence within the context of a Christian community. Sacred Heart Schools welcomes students of all races, religious beliefs and socio-economic backgrounds. This educational mission is deeply rooted in the 200-year tradition of the Society of the Sacred Heart and shared with the Network of Sacred Heart Schools located on every major continent, including 24 schools in the United States and Canada.

Sacred Heart Network

Sacred Heart Schools at Sheridan Road is proud to belong to the Network of Sacred Heart Schools.

Each of the 24 member schools in the United States and Canada was founded by the Society of the Sacred Heart and shares a deep commitment to the educational philosophy first articulated by St. Madeleine Sophie Barat and now expressed in the Goals and Criteria, the document which defines the scope and vision of Sacred Heart education. The global network of Sacred Heart Schools encompasses more than 150 schools in 30 countries.


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As required by the Society of the Sacred Heart, each school renews its vision and practice as a Sacred Heart school in a five-year cycle akin to reaccreditation. In addition, each school is accredited by the appropriate own regional authority (in our case the Independent Schools Association of the Central States, or ISACS), and recognized as a Catholic school by the Archdiocese of Chicago. Learn more about Sacred Heart's accreditations and affiliations.

The larger Sacred Heart community gives strength to each individual school. Faculty, administrators and trustees regularly attend Network conferences where they benefit from the expertise and intellectual resources of their colleagues across the nation. Students participate in network-wide summer programs as well as joint service and leadership projects during the school year. Network webcasts and teleconferences help us stay connected.

St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

"For the sake of one child, I would have founded the Society."


Madeleine Sophie Barat, foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart, was born in Joigny, France on December 12, 1779. She was a frail, intensely thoughtful child. She grew up in the simple home of a barrel maker where she received a remarkable education under the guidance of her brother, Louis. At age 16, Sophie went to Paris with Louis to study, following a demanding program that included mathematics, Latin, theology, and biblical studies. It was in Paris that she learned from Father Joseph Varin of plans for a new religious congregation whose end would be to glorify the Heart of Jesus. It was to be rooted in prayer and devoted to the ministry of education. On November 21, 1800, with three others, she consecrated her life “to make known the revelation of God’s love, whose source and symbol is the Heart of Christ.” The first school was in Amiens, France. On January 18, 1806, at the age of 26, Mother Barat was elected superior general of the order, an office she held until her death in 1865. On Ascension Thursday, May 25, 1865, Madeleine Sophie Barat died in Paris. She was beatified in May 1908 and was canonized a saint in 1925. Her feast is celebrated on May 25.

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