It Began as a Vision Corpus Christi Catholic School, initially the Boys’ Catholic School, was established in 1858 in Bloomington, Illinois. Father Patrick Sherry had great vision. He believed in Catholic education and “bought a lot at 810 N. Main Street during his first year in Bloomington, paying $200 for it,” according to the “History of Holy Trinity Parish,” 1952, written by Pastor Msgr. S.N. Moore.
The one-room, all-boys school house was ready in September of 1858. Although the congregation was sparsely populated, Father Sherry had courage and zeal. “His people were poor, but had strong faith. They were willing to make sacrifices for what they deemed proper and generously supported Father Sherry,” added Moore. In 1863 Father Thomas Kennedy, who succeeded Father Sherry, built St. Joseph Convent. It included not only quarters for the sisters, but also some classrooms and room for young ladies to board there as well. The Convent was located on the site of today’s Parish Center.
In 1873, more room was needed. That summer Father James J. McGovern had the Boys’ School moved to the south side of the convent, which also housed St. Joseph’s Academy. Rev. McGovern also purchased a former United Brethren Church on East Front Street and had it moved to the corner of Locust and Center. Both relocated buildings were completely renovated and housed the growing schools.
By 1884 it was apparent that the parish was outgrowing its surroundings. In 1884, under the leadership of Father Michael Weldon, construction of a new school began on the corner of Locust and Center Streets. It was known as St. Mary’s School until the new high school opened in 1928. It continued to serve as Trinity Grade School until new schools were built in 1963.
In September 1927, a cornerstone was laid for Trinity High School at 712 N. Center. The building was dedicated in 1929. The high school was constructed and the St. Mary’s grade school was remodeled for $302,000. Fifty-nine students graduated that June. In 1968, Trinity High School became a diocesan school under the name “Central Catholic High School.” Thirty-five years later, Central Catholic’s former building was razed and a new building was built on Airport Road. Central Catholic High School opened its doors at this new location on August 25, 2003.
In 1963, Holy Trinity Parish built three new grade schools to replace the 1884 grade school structure. Over $1,000,000 was pledged at that time to help these buildings become a reality. One school was the beginning of Epiphany Parish and School in Normal. The other two facilities remained associated with Holy Trinity Parish and eventually, in 1973, led to one school community being spread across two campuses:
Holy Trinity School, located at 705 N. Roosevelt St. Clare School, located at 1909 E. Lincoln
Growing Again Holy Trinity Catholic Elementary School on Lincoln Street was born as St. Clare Grade School. An eight-room school, it helped meet the needs of Bloomington’s community as it continued to expand from its city-centered core. “We can consider our parish to be both the way in which the Lord Jesus Christ lives among us today, and also the product of grass roots American initiative and enterprise,” said Right Reverend Monsignor B.J. Sheedy, pastor of Holy Trinity Church, 1964.
Thanks to a significant donation from a family trust, as well as contributions from parishoners, a $3.1 million campaign was launched in 2000, adding 33,000 square feet which included a new chapel, kitchen, classrooms, offices and a gymnasium to the Lincoln Street building, now known as Holy Trinity Elementary. The junior high, at 705 N. Roosevelt, was also upgraded, and included a 2,200 square foot addition.
The school’s kindergarten program was established in 1986 and its preschool program began in 2005. Since 2005, a special education team of teachers, including a speech pathologist as well as reading and math specialists have been added to the faculty to help meet some of the special needs of our community and students.
Becoming a Reflection of Who We Truly Are Beginning with a vision in the 1850's of a pastor of one parish, our school community has grown and changed over the years. Just as the community of Bloomington-Normal has grown, changed, and adapted - so has our school. Currently four different parishes officially form the basis of our school community: Holy Trinity, St. Patrick Church of Merna, Historic St. Patrick of Bloomington and St. Mary's of Downs. We have students joining from other surrounding parishes as well.
With the start of the 2014-15 school year, Holy Trinity Parish and St. Patrick of Merna Parish entered into a formal partnership for the school. As that partnership formed, it became apparent a new name was needed to reflect the unity of our school families and parishes. We are not simply families coming from several different parishes. We are not simply one school supported by two primary parishes and four different priests. We several parts, joined together to form one school family. "I am...We are the Body of Christ." Thus, a choice for the new name became clear: Corpus Christi Catholic School. To keep ties with our history, we have named St. Clare of Assisi as our school's Patron Saint.
With over 160 years of Catholic school traditions and history as its foundation, Corpus Christi Catholic School is a community rich in faith and tradition. Who are we? We are "The Body of Christ".
A Peek at the History of Our Teachers St. Joseph’s Academy was a Convent and Girls’ School, led by the Sisters of St. Joseph until 1876. Beginning in 1878, the Dominican Sisters have been a part of the tradition of teaching excellence. The Sisters of St. Dominic of Sinsinawa, WI, led the educational direction of the school which employed Sisters as well as lay teachers. From 1985 until 2006 Benedictine Sisters taught at Holy Trinity as well. Today’s Corpus Christi students are taught by lay-teachers who have some 500 years of teaching experience collectively.