Remembering Our Lady of the Angels

On December 1, 1958, a fire broke out at Our Lady of the Angels School in Chicago, Illinois. Ninety-two children and three nuns died in the fire that occurred 52 years today. Afterwards, sweeping changes were made in fire codes across the nation and firefighters in training still study the OLA fire so that something like it cannot occur again. There is a poignant website in the memory of the children and sisters. Today please remember them in your prayers.

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Vince Killoran
7 years ago
Thanks Bill-a hear-wrenching event that defies adequate words.  It reminds me of New York City's Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911 which  also resulted in significant labor and safety reforms.

I taught at a Catholic school in the 1980s and some of the wonderful nuns on staff spoke about the fire and how it moved them to be more assertive to penny-pinching pastors about school building safety. 
we vnornm
7 years ago
Vince,

The effect of the fire continues to reverberate today, as it did in the 1980s, although the changes in ssafety codes came about at a cost too great to bear. amdg, bill
we vnornm
7 years ago
Kevin,

Happy birthday to Mr. Andy Clarke today!

My grandfather, Ferdinand Phillips, served on an engine company 5 miles north of OLA in 1958.

amdg, bill
we vnornm
7 years ago
At times Haiti seems so far away, and Kevin, as you point out, the stories on the OLA fire are "too completely sad to read."

But the stories are similar ones.

I was five when the OLA fire occurred, an despite efforts of everyone to shield us from what was going on, we knew it and it affected us. Dr. Pat Fosarelli has a good article on helping children and others (don't we all sometimes regress to child-like responses) when tragedy happens:

http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=12253

bvo
RUTH ANN PILNEY
7 years ago
I was a 12 year old Chicagoan who didn't live far from Our Lady of the Angels in 1958.  The tragedy touched everyone whether or not we had friends or relatives at OLA.  Every day the newspaper delivered to our home had news articles and features about the tragedy.  It was a constant topic of conversation among both adults and children for months.  I've visited the website in the past and could not help but shed tears.

we vnornm
7 years ago
Dear Ruth Ann,

An extremely sad day. amdg. bill 

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