Gainer Sisters Earn Mother McAuley Leadership Award 

Growing up in Beverly/Morgan Park, the five daughters of Gerry and the late Bill Gainer probably didn’t envision standing together at a gala event to be recognized by their high school for becoming such accomplished people. But that’s just what’s happening on Feb. 1 at the Mother McAuley High School Celebration Gala. 

On that evening Bridget Gainer ’86, Nora Gainer Doherty ’88, Maureen Gainer Reilly ’93, Mary Gainer, MD ’96, and Sheila Gainer ’99 will receive the Catherine McAuley Leadership Award. 

Bridget is the oldest Gainer sister and the first to attend Mother McAuley. She went to college at the University of Illinois and joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps after graduation. After receiving her MBA from the University of Chicago, Bridget joined Aon to work with governments around the world to co-lead their climate strategy. Since 2009, she has served on the Cook County Board where she has focused on reducing vacant land, increasing homeownership, and working with the Cook County Jail and Juvenile Detention Center. 

Nora currently serves as the head of civic relations and partnerships at the Art Institute of Chicago and credits her liberal arts education for igniting an early love of art and culture. She attended the University of Illinois and co-owns Farm Bar Lakeview and Farm Bar Ravenswood restaurants with her husband, Ferdia Doherty. 

Maureen is an executive coach working with industry leaders across the globe, after attending University of Illinois. Leading GO Consulting & Coaching for over 10 years, she leverages the skill of asking powerful questions to evoke real and lasting change. Further, she serves on the Leader Council of Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, the board of the newly formed Catherine’s Caring Cause, which provides support, resources, and empowerment to asylum seekers, and works with Discerning Deacons, a group advocating a greater role and acknowledgement of women in the Catholic Church. She lives with her husband Eamon Reilly and their children in Beverly/Morgan Park.  

Mary runs two community health centers, seeing families from five counties, in rural West Virginia. She studied engineering and pre-med at University of Illinois and joined the Peace Corps after graduation, where she experienced first-hand the grave effects of communities that lack access to healthcare. Mary graduated from Loyola Stritch School of Medicine and chose a residency in family medicine at West Suburban Hospital on Chicago’s west side. 

Sheila is Organizing Director with UNITEHERE Local 1, the hospitality workers union, teaching non-union housekeepers, servers and hospitality workers how to find their voice and use their collective power to improve their lives and the lives of their families. After graduating from University of Illinois, she joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in New York City which led her back to Chicago where she began her professional career in organizing. She lives with her husband Patrick Griffin and their children, right next door to Sheila’s sister Maureen.  

“The Gainer sisters are a beautiful example of the legacy of sisterhood within the McAuley family,” said Carey Temple Harrington ’86, president of Mother McAuley. “Not only are each of them examples and inspiration to our current students and their peers, but together, their family legacy truly embodies the vision of Catherine McAuley and our school’s mission to prepare our students to respond compassionately to the needs of our communities and assume roles of Christian leadership as shown by these five women.” 

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