St Mary's School History
Te Whetu O Te Moana, Star of the Sea Parish was
founded in 1864. Father Seauzeau sm, the first Parish Priest, opened a building
in 1865 which served as both the church and the school. Mr Frank O’Sullivan was
the Schoolmaster. In 1872 the first purpose built Catholic school was opened.
The teacher of the school for girls was Mrs Mary Carrick. The Catholic Boys
School was opened that same year and Mr Joseph Ward was first teacher of that
school. In 1885 the Sisters of Mercy arrived in the Parish and took on the
teaching of St Joseph’s Girls School. In 1896 they took over St Mary’s Boys
School. As the Parish expanded so did the educational requirements. In 1903 the
Convent High School was opened for girls’ secondary education, with the
teachers being the Mercy Sisters. The De la Salle Brothers arrived in Blenheim
and began teaching the boys from standard one to standard six at St Mary’s. The
younger boys were taught with the girls at St Joseph’s. By the beginning of the
1970’s, the secondary school had closed and St Joseph’s and St Mary’s merged to
become St Mary’s Parish School Blenheim, as we know it today. It opened with a
lay Principal Mr Sullivan and caters for girls and boys from five to thirteen
years old, year one to year eight. St Mary’s Blenheim continues to provide high
quality education for its students, within the context of the Catholic Faith.
Two religious orders have had a major influence in our school, The Sisters of Mercy and the De la Salle Brothers. These founding orders have an important role in determining the values we have as a school community.
Sisters of Mercy
The foundress of the Sisters of Mercy was the Venerable Mother Catherine Elizabeth McAuley. In September 1827 Catherine McAuley established a ‘House of Mercy’ in Baggot Street, Dublin, Ireland. There she and several companions provided food, clothing, housing and education for many of Dublin’s poor women and young girls. In 1831, with the approval of Archbishop Daniel Murray, she and her first companions founded the congregation of Sisters of Mercy, the house in Baggot Street serving as its first convent.
De la Salle Brothers
Saint Jean-Baptiste de La Salle or John Baptist de La Salle (20 April 1651 – 7 April 1719) was a priest, educational reformer, and founder of Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. He is a saint of the Roman Catholic Church and the patron saint of teachers.
He dedicated much of his life for the education of poor children in France; in doing so, he started many lasting educational practices. He is considered the founder of the first Catholic schools.
The purpose of the de La Salle Brothers is to meet the educational and welfare needs of young people, especially the poor. The Brothers live their Catholic faith through the values of love, compassion, justice and belief in the human dignity of each person.