The Daughters Foster the Arts: From Marillac High School to MSV

Program Spotlight: Art Expressions!



On Waukegan Road in Northfield, the C Building at Marillac High School was the epicenter of creative expression. Our talents were discovered and honed in fine art classes by teachers, including Ms. Entrup and Ms. Platner. We gained confidence and found our young voices in drama classes with Ms. Mackey and other instructors. Under the direction of Ms. Bernstein and fellow dance teachers, we learned to use our young bodies to express ourselves with strength and grace. Marillac’s annual plays and musicals were perfected in rehearsals in the high school’s beautiful theater.  Anyone remember Bye Bye Birdie? Anything Goes? Hello Dolly? Anticipation for these top notch productions was always great. Our talented classmates practiced their instruments and vocals in the music room. Who could forget the beautiful performances of Marillac’s Dance Troupe?

The Daughters of Charity knew the important role that the creative arts play in developing the whole person. As Marillac alumni, we are fortunate that they understood a love of the arts should be fostered at a young age and nurtured through the school years. Creative activities are some of the building blocks of discipline. Learning to create and appreciate visual aesthetics is very important in child development.

Marillac St. Vincent Family Services has been offering our Pre-k and school-age children the opportunity to participate in Art Therapy for over 25 years, thanks to the generosity of a very special couple who have been funding this program.

Eden Stern provides art and art therapy at Marillac Social Center and Jill Jeffrey is at St. Vincent de Paul Center. They work with small groups of children exposing them to the wonders of art and the experiences of learning to express themselves through the art they are creating. These opportunities can be healing and life enhancing for our children. Both Ms. Eden and Ms. Jill share their talent and creativity with our children.

Our programs reinforce what research has shown that art has many developmental benefits. These benefits include:

·       Motor Skills: Many of the motions involved in art are essential to growth of fine motor skills in young children.

·       Language Development: Opportunities to learn words for colors, shapes and actions.

·       Decision Making: Strengthens problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

·       Visual Learning: Helps develop visual-spatial skills.

·       Inventiveness: Art encourages children to express themselves and take risks in creating art.

·       Cultural Awareness: Children are exposed to the different cultures through art.

·       Improved Academic Performance: Studies show that there is a correlation between art and academic achievement.

In June 2017, both centers presented Art Fairs for our children and families. The theme of the Marillac fair was the 1960’s, and St. Vincent was a circus theme. The rooms at both centers were turned into art galleries for several days. The art was amazing, and the children and families were very proud of their work. Thank you so much to Ms. Eden, Ms. Jill and to our wonderful donor for giving our children the gift of art.


Kudos to Marillac St. Vincent Family Services for incorporating the creative arts into their programming, just as the Daughters did at Marillac High School. We alumni are better people for our exposure to the arts, and the children at MSV will be too.

By Loretta O'Connell O'Malley '83