My Name is Woman

“My name is Woman. So that you can know me from other women, I am called Rosalie Muschal-Reinhardt”1.

My Name is Woman, Personal Reflections

If you explore the Women and Leadership Archives and come across the finding aid for the Rosalie Muschal-Reinhardt Papers you will discover boxes of materials, including Box 1 Folder 9 Personal Reflections. Leafing through this folder you will the find reflections of teacher, mother, wife, activist, and religious leader Rosalie Muschal-Reinhardt, who dedicated her life towards, “the elimination of Sexism, Racism, Classism, Heterosexism and Ageism in our society”2. Born on June 23rd, 1933, Rosalie knew as a teenager that she wanted to be a teacher, a wife, and a mother. She achieved all of these goals and more. 

Rosalie, in middle wearing black, running for President at Cathedral High School, 1949. Rosalie Muschal-Reinhardt Papers, Box 10, Folder 3.

 In 1954, Rosalie earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Education from Rider University. She achieved her first goal through becoming a business teacher, and teaching Confraternity of Christian Doctrine classes, providing lessons on Catholicism to youth not attending Catholic school. In July of 1955 Rosalie married Alfred “Al” Reinhardt, writing that she fell in love with a man who was, “gentle, sensitive, and treated me with dignity”. Later, Rosalie was able to fulfill her final dream of being a mother, becoming pregnant with her first-born son Alfred. Overjoyed, Rosalie writes that she, “felt so connected with life, with God, with Al, with the universe”3 . She felt that her and Al were co-creating with God, bringing new life into the world. While the birth of Alfred brought Rosalie so much happiness, it also caused one of her first moments of dispute with the Catholic Church. Rosalie went to her local parish to arrange Alfred’s baptism, a sacrament of initiation into the Catholic Church. There she was told by a priest that she had to be churched. This was a practice in Catholicism to purify women postpartum, to give thanks for the safe delivery of her child, and was officially dropped in the 1960s after the Second Vatican Council. Rosalie was shocked and firmly told her priest no, “I was co-creating with God…I would not submit myself to something (that I was dirty) that was not true”4 . Rosalie would give birth to three more children, Erika, Kurt, and Michael. At the age of thirty she found that she had become everything she wanted to be. Yet, she yearned for more.  

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T-Shirts in the Archives 

Archives can hold a wide range of items. There are, of course, documents, photographs, and copies of publications, but you’ll also find artworks, VHS tapes, toys, and CDs. Sometimes you’ll also find one of my favorite things to come across: clothing. For this post, I’d like to talk a little bit about the clothing items in the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation collection at the Women and Leadership Archives (WLA). 

The National Women’s Martial Arts Federation (NWMAF) is a non-profit organization that promotes the involvement and empowerment of women in martial arts and self-defense. Active since 1979, the NWMAF provides support to women in these spaces through their offerings of martial arts and self-defense classes and certification and professional development programs for instructors.

From the organization’s preamble: “The National Women’s Martial Arts Federation (NWMAF) is an organization of women martial artists whose purpose is to share skills and resources, to promote excellence in the martial arts, and to encourage the widest range of women to train in the spirit of building individual and collective strength. All women will be welcome regardless of lifestyle, sexual preference, race, color, creed religion, class, age, or physical condition.” 

The organization puts on an annual Special Training where women from all around the country come together for four days of trainings, workshops, meetings, community building, and fun activities. 

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Mandala College: Experimental Education at Mundelein

At the end of the 1960s, Mundelein College* was in the midst of a cultural crisis. A changing social landscape accompanied by financial and enrollment struggles pushed the college to reevaluate their educational point of view. Historian Tim Lacy writes, “Catholic women’s colleges in the United States juggled a series of sometimes competing, sometimes complementary interests. Faculty and students juxtaposed their Catholic identity, the progress of feminism in American culture, pedagogical innovation, and the increasing presence of laity in administration.”1 Mundelein was far from the only Catholic women’s college to experience a cultural shift at the time, but the school’s reaction to this tension was particularly unique.  

In the fall of 1969, the Curriculum Committee of Mundelein College’s Faculty Senate arranged a three-day Conference on Curriculum, known as Con-Cur, for the following January. The conference was designed specifically to receive and respond to the needs of the Mundelein community. The invitation for the event strongly emphasized that this was a conference for students, faculty, and administration to share their ideas for the future of Mundelein College. Classes were suspended at Mundelein on January 15th and 16th, the first two days of the conference, to encourage student participation.  

The invitation for Con-Cur gives a clear idea as to what the organizers had in mind for this conference. Questions listed at the end of the invite ask, “How would you incorporate opportunities for non-cognitive learning, within or outside formal course structures?” and “How, concretely, would you structure a general education program?” Mundelein College was looking to adapt, and the school needed the input of its students to successfully evolve.  

1969 Invitation to Curriculum Conference. Mundelein College Records.
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Parietals Debate at Mundelein

Dialogue was first published in 1972 to give Mundelein College* students a voice to discuss their concerns in a public forum. The first publication lists “the communication of ideas” as Dialogue’s “most important function.” The staff kept folders for submissions in multiple locations so members of the community could raise their concerns anonymously.  

Dialogue, February 28, 1972

One of the very first issues raised was that of the dorm “parietals,” in Mundelein’s case, the rules regarding men visitors to women’s dorms. Many of Coffey Hall’s residents felt that the current regulations were unfair and outdated. Incoming freshmen felt that “they should be permitted to entertain friends in their ‘homes’, and to deny this right is unfair, a violation of personal rights.” Students bemoaned the fact that they were legal adults who were allowed to vote but not allowed to have male friends over.  

The third issue of Dialogue announced that the issue of parietals was going to be brought before the college senate by the “parietals committee” composed of concerned students who had, the week before, polled and interviewed dorm residents to get their opinions and discuss parietal hours. The committee urged students to show up to the meeting and share their thoughts.  

The next issue fails to mention parietals, which might seem like it is suggesting a failure to implement any changes. However, in the final issue of the 1971-72 school year, Dialogue released a revised outline of the parietals policy as follows:  

1) Coffey Hall – non-visitation areas: floor 1 and west wing on floor 2 

2) Coffey Hall – visitation hours for weekends only on floors 3, 4, and middle and east wing on 2. 

3) Northland – visitation seven days a week 

Dialogue, May 18, 1972

This wasn’t a free-for-all. Even when visitation was allowed seven days a week there were still hours to abide by. 

Coffey Hall: Friday 6pm-1:30am, Saturday 12pm-1:30am, Sunday 12pm-10pm 

Northland: Monday-Thursday 4pm-11:30pm, Friday and Saturday 12pm-1:30am, Sunday 12pm-11:30pm

Residents were responsible for monitoring their guest. As these rules list, “Males on the floors must always be in company of a resident,” and “She must ask him to leave if his conduct disturbs the other residents.” Residents’ penalties for their guests overstaying their welcome included a two-week suspension of visiting privileges and, if repeated often, would require an appearance before the Hall Judiciary Board. 

Residents could be suspended from the dorm for: 

a) guest’s illegal entry; b) failure to sign a guest out; c) having male guests in non-visitation room or area 

Dialogue, November 17, 1972, page 7

These rules were polished and put in place in October 1972. Dialogue staff interviewed Mary Lou Stege, Director of Residence, who was pleased with the new parietals. She said that she’d “rather see girls bringing their guys into the relatively safe atmosphere of a dorm [than] have them walking around Chicago streets at night.” Once the novelty of male visitors decreased, the pace slowed considerably. In addition, there was a noted noise level decrease in the dorms. As the writer said, “Mary Lou attributes this quieting effect to the fact that ‘the residents are not as prone to rowdiness in the halls with guys around.’” 

Mundelein’s parietal rules continued to be mentioned in later issues, such as this article from 1973 discussing Coffey Hall’s tenth anniversary.  

Dialogue, May 11, 1973, page 4

Mundelein College, founded and operated by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM), provided education to women from 1930 until 1991, when it affiliated with Loyola University Chicago.

Sources: Mundelein Now, Mundelein College Paper Records: Digitized files mc_now_0006, mc_now_0014, mc_now_0018, mc_now_0025.

Brooke is a first-year student in the Public History MA at Loyola University. She has a BA in History from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her research interests include medical history and women’s history. Her non-history hobbies include quilting, hiking, reading, and her pet snails.

Loyola University Chicago’s Women and Leadership Archives Blog is designed to provide a positive environment for the Loyola community to discuss important issues and ideas. Differences of opinion are encouraged. We invite comments in response to posts and ask that you write in a civil and respectful manner. All comments will be screened for tone and content and must include the first and last name of the author and a valid email address. The appearance of comments on the blog does not imply the University’s endorsement or acceptance of views expressed. Questions? Please contact the WLA at

Affiliation: Through the Eyes of a Student 

The Mundelein Scholar, April 23, 1991, Page 3

“Place” is an important concept to everyone. Yes, it is true that home is where the heart is, but it is undeniable that physical location also means a great deal to individuals. In a society of constant progression, loss of physical and emotional spaces is something many can identify with, including myself. In recent years, the number of private schools and colleges closing or affiliating with one another has sadly grown to become a frequent trend. Common reasons for this outcome include both low enrollment and lack of resources and funding, which may sound familiar to most. Mundelein College* confronted this challenge in the spring of 1991 when their affiliation with Loyola University Chicago was announced. The shock brought forward every emotion possible and sparked an immediate response from the community. The Mundelein Scholar, a student-run newspaper, captured the reactions of students and faculty in real time and forever preserved their efforts to save the last private women’s college in Illinois. 

The Mundelein Scholar, April 23, 1991, Page 2

Anyone who has been in this situation can recall the halo of energy cast over the entire community following an announcement that will alter the fate of their beloved school. The Scholar dedicated an entire issue to stories on the affiliation, providing us with a glimpse of how these students felt in the weeks leading up to April 23, 1991. Labeled as a “take over by Loyola” by students at the time, protests were organized along Sheridan Road and sit-ins held on the steps of administration offices. Supported by staff and faculty, students used the skills they had acquired at Mundelein to voice their concerns as board members deliberated on the future of the school. Action took the form of speak-out rallies, letter writing, and telephone campaigns to alumnae to show that the student body is real and not an abstract idea written on a piece of paper.  

The Mundelein Scholar, April 23, 1991, Page 2
The Mundelein Scholar, April 23, 1991, Page 2

One quote from student Meg Ivo read, “We had one last chance to grow together as a group and it gave us solidarity”, which many students seemed to identify with. Some students took the lead and fought with all their might. Others reacted differently to the situation and did not want to partake in some of the student-led efforts. Some felt shame as they thought they had let down their community and supporters, including the school’s namesake, Cardinal Mundelein. What makes Mundelein’s fight so unique and admirable is how students responded to each other in this sense. The publication acknowledged that the affiliation brought forward many strong feelings and reassured students to process this change in any way they felt natural. It was understood that reactions were neither black and white nor strictly conservative or radical, but a blend of sadness, anger, contentment, and confusion. Despite the upsetting news, students still celebrated with one another at the Fifty Days party, an annual event for graduating classes, and used it as an opportunity to connect as students one last time. It’s quite commendable that students amid such uncertainty could see so clearly that any reaction was acceptable and treated each other so carefully with compassion. Clearly, Mundelein succeeded in their mission to guide these strong and educated women who embraced the challenge before them with grace and understanding. 

The Mundelein Scholar, April 23, 1991, Page 7

While reading this publication, I found myself identifying with every emotion and being able to relate closely to the situation. I have witnessed my suburban grade school, St. Cyprian, and high school, Guerin College Prep, formerly Holy Cross High School and St. Mother Theodore Guerin High School, follow the same path as Mundelein College. While the grade school still stands abandoned, my high school met the wrecking ball, completely erasing the physical memory of the school. The memories that resurfaced from my experience were not negative or bitter, but rather I was reminded of the strong communities who came together to grieve and support one another in this change. I am just one of the thousands of people who can relate to Mundelein’s story and found peace in solidarity. Passionate communities such as these extend over physical boundaries and through time. When I arrived as a freshman at Loyola, I had no knowledge of the affiliation but through my years on campus, Mundelein’s history found me. I believe it has been an important element of understanding my place on this campus, just as Mundelein students once did. As a young woman studying and working in the same buildings that they did for six decades, I understand that I am not alone here. The brave students of Mundelein did in fact save their school, perhaps just not in the way they had originally anticipated. 

Mundelein College, founded and operated by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM), provided education to women from 1930 until 1991, when it affiliated with Loyola University Chicago.

Sam is a student in Loyola University Chicago’s Public History Graduate Program. She graduated with a BA in History in 2022, with minors in Anthropology and Art History. She volunteers at The Village of River Grove’s historical house and is in the process of creating a village archive. When not exploring local histories, she enjoys spending time with family, friends, and her two dogs, Khali and Lola.

Loyola University Chicago’s Women and Leadership Archives Blog is designed to provide a positive environment for the Loyola community to discuss important issues and ideas. Differences of opinion are encouraged. We invite comments in response to posts and ask that you write in a civil and respectful manner. All comments will be screened for tone and content and must include the first and last name of the author and a valid email address. The appearance of comments on the blog does not imply the University’s endorsement or acceptance of views expressed. Questions? Please contact the WLA at

A Year of Digitizing Mundelein History: Students Reflect on the Mundelein at 90 Project 

Throughout the last academic year, a talented group of graduate students have worked at the Women and Leadership Archives as part of the Illinois History Digital Imaging Grant project. These Digitization and Metadata Assistants, all pursuing degrees in Loyola’s Public History master’s program, have worked diligently on digitizing materials from the Mundelein College* Collections, writing transcriptions, and creating metadata for the Mundelein at 90 digitization project. As their time at the WLA came to a close, they each shared a little about their experiences engaging with the Mundelein College Collections and archival work. The images and digitized materials in this post will be added to the Mundelein College Collection on the Illinois Digital Archives.

Mundelein students attend Winter Weekend, undated. Mundelein College Photograph Collection.

I immensely enjoyed being a part of the IHDI grant for the better part of this year. I’ve had the opportunity to scan and digitize numerous photograph collections, transcribe student publications and scrapbooks, and re-folder collections to make them more accessible to the public. Working on each of these projects has allowed me to see the project from many angles. Thus, the experience has been well-rounded and fulfilling. I encountered a variety of archival work which in turn exposed me to a potential career path. The Mundelein at 90 collection is extensive and impressive. The vast number of items displays a full picture of Mundelein’s history, which is enjoyable to behold as a student worker and as a member of the public. Through my time with the IHDI grant, I gained a great appreciation and understanding for Mundelein College.  

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May Crownings, Mundelein College, and Mid-Century Women’s Catholicism

The May Crowning ceremony originated in the 16th century as a papal tradition and spread as a form of public veneration for the Blessed Virgin Mary until the mid-20th century, where it reached peak popularity in the United States.i The ritual was often celebrated in schools and parishes concurrently with Mother’s Day or First Communion ceremonies to celebrate the role of women in the Church.ii Young women were chosen from among their peers as most deserving of the honor of placing a crown of flowers atop a statue of Mary. The ‘May Queen’ and her attendants would dress in white and process around the campus or church grounds while other students, teachers, and parents gathered to watch and sing devotional hymns.  

Figure 1. Sodality prefect and May Queen Joan Haron crowns a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary with attendants Mary Agnes Moran and Marilyn Cuccio at Mundelein College’s 1954 May Crowning. 

May Crowning ceremonies were celebrated at Mundelein College* from the early 1930s through the mid-1960s. A 1942 planning bulletin concludes, “Remember that Coronation is an act of RELIGIOUS HOMAGE… And be dressed becomingly”.iii While in some years, Mundelein College students elected the worthiest representative from their peers to serve as the May Queen and her attendants, other years the prefect of the Sodality Club, the school’s lay religious group, was given the honor automatically.  

Students would process from the Skyscraper building to the steps of the library (later known as Piper Hall), with the May Queen and her attendants leading the procession, all wearing white or light-colored dresses, and the seniors processing behind them in graduation caps and gowns.iv In later years, the ceremony moved to the auditorium to eliminate possibly inclement weather.v 

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Mercy for the Devil: The Later Career of Mercedes McCambridge 

I am a huge fan of the horror genre and one of my all-time favorite films is 1973’s The Exorcist directed by William Fredkin, based on William Peter Blatty’s novel of the same name (also a personal favorite). Recently, I was tasked with working on updating the WLA’s collections page when I made an amazing discovery: our archives held the collection of a major star of this film. 

Figure 1. Photo of Mercedes McCambridge from the Mercedes McCambridge Collection, undated.

Mercedes McCambridge, who often felt more comfortable being addressed simply as Mercy, is perhaps the most famous graduate of Mundelein College*. Many students who take classes in the Mundelein skyscraper today do not realize that the building’s auditorium played a crucial role in the education of an Oscar-winning actor. A few years ago, my colleague Nathan recounted the impact of Mundelein College on McCambridge’s career in another post on the WLA blog titled “Acting Up: Mercedes McCambridge and Sister Mary Leola Oliver.” At the WLA, we often speak about McCambridge’s Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, awarded in 1949 for her role as Sadie Burke in All the King’s Men. I have, on several occasions, had reason to hold her Oscar in the course of research and am always amazed by the oddly heavy trophy. It was not until I was rewatching the 1973 horror classic that I realized that I had heard Mercy’s voice before I even knew what the WLA was. This discovery sent me on a journey of researching Mercy’s storied life. 

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“A Community Dream:” The Extended Evolution of Chicago’s Broadway Armory Park

Solitary man in the enormous gymnasium of the Broadway Armory Park. In the 1980s, the massive structure was retrofitted into the city of Chicago’s largest indoor recreational facility. Photograph housed here at the WLA. Courtesy of Friends of the Parks.

When exploring the Edgewater neighborhood on Chicago’s north side, one would have a hard time failing to notice the Broadway Armory. This ornate, gigantic structure—first built as an ice-skating rink in 1916—takes up an entire city block. Repurposed as an armory in response to WWI and race riots in Chicago, by the 1970s and 80s the building was falling apart and barely used. What was to become of this gigantic building?  

Historical photograph of the Broadway Armory Park, located in Edgewater on the corner of Thorndale and Broadway. Courtesy of Edgewater Historical Society. – 5th image of slideshow
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Wearing Red and Gold: College Apparel and the Mundelein Spirit

Collegiate apparel is a booming industry, reported by Forbes in 2015 to be worth a whopping $4.6 billion dollars. Donning spirit-ware is a rite of passage for many college students, as they rush to buy new gear the moment they commit to their school of choice. This phenomenon is a continuation of a long history of representing your favorite university on your clothing, a tradition that Mundelein College* students participated in for decades. Journey through forty years of history as we ask the age-old question: who are you wearing?

Before printing your alma mater on your t-shirt came into vogue, Mundelein students found other pieces of memorabilia to show their school spirit. This group of ladies waved their goodbyes and their Mundelein pennants as they boarded an Eastern Airlines flight in 1960.

Mundelein College students smile and wave from the steps of a large airplane reading “Falcon Super Coach”. 1960, mc_travel_0158, Mundelein College Photo Collection
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