"What greater work is there than training the minds and forming the habits of the young."
-Pope Pius XI quoting St. John Chrysostom
In his Encyclical Letter on Christian Education of Youth
Achille Ratti was born in Desio, Italy in 1857. At age 22 he became a priest. After serving many years in the Vatican Library, he was named a cardinal in 1921. Elected Pope in 1922, he was the 11th man to choose Pius as his papal name. He was a man of simple character and strong integrity. While quite a scholar, he was a firm believer in physical exercise and was an excellent mountain climber. Pius' 17 years as pope were dedicated to achieving peace and reordering the Catholic Church. He improved the Church's relations with other nations, gave vigor to foreign missions and signed the Lateran Treaty, establishing the present Vatican City. Pius also authored many encyclicals including "Divini Illus Magistri," which laid the foundation for a truly Christian theory of education.
When searching for the name of a new high school scheduled to open in September, 1930, it was only natural to think of Pius XI, the scholarly type who championed the cause of Christian education and who had just celebrated his Golden Jubilee in the priesthood. So Pius XI High School was established, named after a great man, and its sports teams have been called the "Popes" in honor of the school's namesake.