Catholic school and parish church
St. Angela Merici is both a Catholic grammar school and a parish church. It was my school from grades 1 through 8 as well as the church where I received my first holy communion and my confirmation. One memory I cherish with uncanny clarity is going to mass there as a first grader. As I remember it, the entire school was expected to attend the nine oclock Sunday mass and the left side of the church was reserved for the children. That section in turn was divided right and left; the first graders on the left, the eighth graders on the right with the remaining grades seated behind. I remember how "big" those eighth graders looked to me. I really couldnt imagine ever being that tall! We were taught by the Ursuline nuns who I loved. Several of the girls at St. Angelas went on to high school at Ursuline Academy just blocks away at 1032 Grand Concourse (not to be confused with Mount St. Ursula in Bedford Park). Ursuline Academy had been closed for years because of financial difficulties and my class, the graduating class of 1956, was the first class in 1952 in several years. I think there were only 22 of us and we got supreme attention. There was no choice of subjects until senior year when we could choose between chemistry and fourth year Latin. I chose Latin!
St. Angela Merici by the grace of God is still there and looks the same. I recently visited it. An afternoon mass was in session and I strolled the halls and walked right past the grade school classrooms. Ursuline Academy is long gone, replaced by a very high rise apartment building that I believe was erected in 1963. I cant help but feel the school was given a temporary reprieve in the very early 50s because I was destined to go there and get the education of a lifetime, an education that included not only academic challenges but also emphasized the virtues of good conduct, courtesy and the other qualities that were expected of a good "Ursuline girl."