For Notre Dame Grads and Friends

The 40’s

imageJuly, 1941:

“Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame are invited to open a school for girls in the east end of Toronto.”


The Congregation of Notre Dame de Montreal, at the invitation of Archbishop Neil McNeil, sent Sisters to Toronto in 1932 to engage in  elementary school education. Although during this time the Sisters made a notable contribution in parish schools such as St. Brigid’s, the dream of a high school for girls in Toronto’s east end was still premature.

Soon after, the then Archbishop McGuigan invited CND to send Sisters to Toronto to open a girls’ high school in the east end. Sister Kathleen Garvin (Mother St Gabriel) and Sister Annie McDermott (Mother St Elizabeth Marie) were missioned to open a school for September, 1941.  They arrived on August 15!

In a collaborative effort between the Archbishop and Father Thomas Manley, pastor of St. Brigid’s and a member of the School Board, Dr. John Bennett, school inspector and trusted advisor on educational matters, and Father Denis O’Connor, pastor of St. John’s parish, a decision was made to open two classes in a building in St. John’s parish that had formerly been used as a parish hall.

An announcement to this effect was made in the parishes on Sunday, August 24, and a week later on Tuesday, September 2, 1941 Sister St. Gabriel of the Angels and Sister St. Elizabeth Marie welcomed seventy-five young women from ten different parishes into the new-born Notre Dame High School.

(adapted from ‘The Daughters of Marguerite Bourgeoys
in Toronto 1932 – 1982′ by Sister Calista BEGNAL, CND)

Watch the following Video on The Birth of NDHS:

“So faith, hope, love remain, these three;
but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13).


A pioneer is not only one who goes before and shows others the way to follow, but she is also one who is deeply rooted in all three of the above virtues. Faith: The gift of faith gives the pioneer the strength and courage to move forward and unearth new ways of living out her call. Hope: A pioneer hopes for a brighter future, a better way, peace and understanding, and a purpose to risk it all. Love: A pioneer lives by charity.  She may endure hardships unmeasured and set backs at every corner, but still she presses forward for the sake of others and for her desire to live out God’s dream.

We, the Alumnae of NDHS, are deeply grateful for the vision and courage of our pioneers, our foremothers, the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame, who have come before, making us stronger, healthier, happier, and wiser women.



Mother St. Gabriel of the Angels Principal 1941 - 47


Mother St. Stephanie Marie Principal 1947 - 50


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