School Album

École Sainte-Famille, institution founded in 1951, Richmond, Quebec.

In 1951, the Richmond School Commission decided to build a new school because the overpopulated Mont Saint-Patrice Boarding School could no longer accommodate the town’s large student population. At the request of Most Reverend Philippe Desranleau, Bishop of Sherbrooke, the school was built in Richmond’s Sainte-Famille Parish. The Congrégation de Notre-Dame, which was already directing the Mont Saint-Patrice Boarding School, agreed to administer the new Sainte-Famille School. It thus became a branch of the boarding school. Two teaching sisters, Sister Saint-Jean-Guy (Thérèse Pépin) and Sister Sainte-Marie-de-la-Victoire (Marie-Reine Giguère), founded this mission under the direction of Sister Saint-Jean-Baptiste-du-Sauveur (Marie-Claire Lemieux), superior of the boarding school. Two lay teachers made up the rest of the teaching staff. On September 10, the school received about one hundred students. One month later, Father Zotique Letendre, Vicar General of Sherbrooke, blessed the school; a large crowd was present for the ceremony. During the school’s second year, the academic performance of the grade 1 students dropped because there were too many children in the same class. The School Commission was obliged to open a second class which was headed by a lay teacher. In 1953, students from the different grades presented a recital in order to demonstrate what they had learned in the diction classes which had been implemented at the beginning of the school year. In 1954, the establishment of a transportation system for about thirty students from rural areas resulted in an increase in registrations. That same year, Sister Saint-Benjamin (Alvina Lupien) was named the school’s director.

In 1955, the sisters from Sainte-Famille School were asked to establish Notre-Dame-des-Écoles mission in Richmond; they were replaced by lay teachers until 1957, when the Richmond School Commission requested that the Congrégation de Notre-Dame once again assume the responsibility of the school’s direction. Sister Sainte-Bibiane (Léona Gauthier-Landreville) was named director; she was accompanied by one teaching sister and four lay teachers. In February 1958, the government launched an immunization campaign against poliomyelitis; the children were vaccinated free of charge by the doctor of the town. In November, a rotary telephone was installed in the school; the sisters were happy with this new device and interested in learning how to use it. In 1962, a kindergarten level was opened to receive forty-four children divided into two groups; it was led by one lay teacher. In 1963, the Department of Public Instruction established a new regulation; directors of schools which had only six classes had to teach in one of the six. The Richmond School Commission complied with this new regulation; however the General Council of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame considered that this task too arduous and thus, on that same year, decided to withdraw the sisters from the school.

NB: This text was written using documents found in the archival holdings in our possession and does not constitute a complete administrative history of the teaching establishment.