St. Mary’s Academy is one of a network of schools in North America under the direction of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM). They were the first Canadian-founded teaching congregation, started in 1843 in Longueuil, Quebec by Eulalie Durocher, Mother-Marie Rose.
After six years as the first Superior, Mother Marie-Rose died on Oct. 6, 1849, on her 38th birthday. Her accomplishments during her short life led Pope (now Saint) John Paul II to beatify her on May 23 1982, as a woman for all times.
In 1874 the Sisters came to the new Province of Manitoba to assume responsibility for St. Mary’s Academy, a school started in 1869 by the Sisters of Charity of Montreal, more commonly known as The Grey Nuns.
St. Mary’s Academy continues as a Catholic school in the tradition of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. Mother Marie-Rose Durocher believed that education must be grounded in faith and centered in justice; that true learning happens in an environment where one’s potential is seen and nurtured; and that the Arts are integrated in education. She encouraged learning through self-expression. She took the time to dream. She believed that the future can become better than the present when it is embraced with courage and commitment. She believed that an entire society can be transformed if the minds and hearts of young women are nurtured. Mother Marie-Rose’s dream continues to inspire our work at SMA where we strive to nurture talents, hand on the faith, promote justice, celebrate the arts, and make a positive contribution to the broader community.
Sisters Pass the Torch
On September 12, 2022, the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, sponsorship of St. Mary’s Academy was officially transferred from the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) to St. Mary’s Academy Stewardship, a public juridic person (church corporation) established by Archbishop Gagnon. The purpose of SMA Stewardship is to further Catholic education that was originally undertaken by the SNJM in the Archdiocese of Winnipeg. It implements this purpose by exercising canonical Sponsorship over St. Mary’s Academy Inc. (the school) and the SMA Foundation Inc., through the appointment of the members of the School and the Foundation and the reception of their annual reports. The members of the Academy and the Foundation are accountable to the SMA Stewardship for ensuring the School and the Foundation are implementing their ministry in accordance with the Mission and Governing Philosophy of St. Mary’s Academy and the teachings of the Church.
St. Mary’s Academy Stewardship Current Members, 2023-2024
Back row l-r: Archbishop Richard Gagnon, Sr. Lorraine St-Hilaire, SNJM, Bob Puchniak, Reis Pagtakhan
Front row l-r: Sr. Catherine Laviolette, SNJM, Sr, Susan Wikeem ’63, SNJM, Sr. Edith Grenier, SNJM.