St Mary's Blenheim

St Mary's Blenheim

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.

Founding Orders

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.