École normale de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame

Institution founded in 1954, Victoriaville, Québec.

In 1937, steps were taken for the creation of a normal school for young women in Victoriaville, but the school only opened in 1954. Sainte-Victoire Boarding School, located at 131 Notre-Dame Street West, housed the new normal school which provided teacher training for young women who wished to teach in Quebec public schools. The classes were completely independent from the boarding school and benefited from the advantages all normal schools received from the Council for Public Instruction. The founders were: Sister Sainte-Marie-de-l’Incarnation (Berthe Racine), the superior and Officer of the Order of Academic Merit, Sister Sainte-Françoise-du-Sauveur (Françoise Bastien), the principal, Sister Sainte-Thérèse-de-l’Immaculée (Thérèse Pilon), Sister Sainte-Bernadette-de-Nevers (Maria Dubuc), Sister Sainte-Madeleine-de-la-Foi (Madeleine Leclerc), Sister Sainte-Marie-Thérèse-d’Avila (Thérèse Bédard) and Sister Saint-Jean-Marcel (Fernande Blais). A lay teacher was also part of the teaching staff and Father Maurice Desfossés was named principal-founder. At the beginning of the 1954 school year, École normale received eleven student teachers and twenty-two grade 10 and 11 students. Of these thirty-three students, twenty were boarders. From 1954, the education program required that each student be graded on her personality, in accordance with the following criteria: femininity and refinement, loyalty to the rule, self-giving, Christian spirit, responsibility, language, sociability, neatness, punctuality, spirit of initiative, intellectual creativity, etc.

On December 2, 1954, at the request of the Department of Public Instruction, the Continuing Education Program was officially opened. Teachers who wanted to obtain a complementary or advanced degree in Education registered at the boarding school for one or more classes: ethics, logic, psychology and pedagogy. On January 7, 1955, École normale students began a film course in the auditorium of Collège Sacré-Cœur. This course was taught by professors of Office catholique du film, otherwise known as Rex Film. During 1955, the normal school’s administration acquired audio visual equipment that was used as pedagogical tools: a record player, a film projector and a screen. In July 1955, a fire, possibly caused by a short circuit, broke out in a class on the third floor of Sainte-Victoire Boarding School. The fire destroyed only one class but the water seeped in everywhere and flooded the basement. On December 17, 1955, the new student newspaper, L’espoir, published by the second-year students in the Education Program, went on sale. In February 1956, the first and second year students in the Education Program began their teaching practice with students from grade 4 to grade 7 in Saint-Wilfrid and Saint-David Schools.

In January 1957, students were able to skate to music coming from a loudspeaker which was connected to the record player in the music room. In September 1959, an “activities room” was set up on the same floor as the classrooms so that students could gather between classes. In July 1957, the dormitory was reorganized. On one side there were three rooms for the sisters and thirty-three units for the students; on the other side, four rooms and twenty-two units. On August 5, 1964, Sister Sainte-Françoise-du-Sauveur (Françoise Bastien), who was one of the founders, was the first sister to become the principal of École Normale in Victoriaville. In January 1965, the superior general of the Congrégation asked Mr. J.-Wilfrid Caron, the director general of normal schools at the Quebec Ministry of Education, to authorize the sisters’ withdrawal from teaching at École normale in Victoriaville at the end of that school year. Given the new demands on teachers, she felt that it was urgent to withdraw a certain number of sisters so that they could begin or continue advanced university studies on a full-time basis. She also felt that it was too onerous a task to adequately renovate an 1881 structure that would house equipment indispensable to teaching. In April 1965, the General Council proposed to use École normale in Victoriaville as a residence for the sisters who were teaching at École secondaire régionale des Bois-Francs (for girls) and living at École Saint-David.

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.

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École normale de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame

École normale de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame

Victoriaville, Quebec

Institution fondée en 1954

Dernière adresse : 131, rue Notre-Dame

131, rue Notre-Dame