Principals of St. Mary’s

Sister Mary Lioba

Sister Mary Petranda

Sister Mary Alberta Boegemann

Sister Mary John Hartleib

Sister Antoinette McCarthy

Sister Euphrasia Balge

Mother Loretto Gies

Sister Mary Stella Murray

Sister Mary Antoinette McCarthy

Sister Mary Carmelita Farwell

Sister Gemma Golino

Sister Barbara Frank

Sister Maureen McGoey

Gary Leduc

Bernie Farwell

Cathy Horgan

Theresa Horan

Gale Daly

John Dietrich

Deanna Wehrle


St. Mary’s High School has undergone many changes throughout its history. From its beginnings as a convent school, St. Mary’s has transformed itself many times. Not only has the focus and purpose of the school evolved over time, so has its physical shape changed.

The evolution of the school has been traced below. But this in no way is a complete history. The full history of the school lives on in the memories and legacies of former students. The spirit and traditions of the alumni continues in the students of St. Mary’s today. We honour the sacrifices and the dedication of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, the founders of St. Mary’s High School.

The History of St. Mary’s High School
(updated November 2021)

The Story of St. Mary’s High School
(as recorded in the SMH Yearbook, 1961)

St. Mary’s High School, at the corner of Weber and Ontario Streets, Kitchener, offers a Catholic High School Education to prepare students to continue their education at college, to enter the professions or the business world; in short, to make worthwhile contributions to sound Canadian Catholic life.

How did this institute come into being and develop to its present status? Originally, the school was established as a preparatory school for girls interested in becoming School Sisters of Notre Dame. However, from the very beginning, it also admitted Catholic girls interested only in obtaining a Catholic High School Education.

The school first opened under the name St. Anne’s Convent School. Sister M. Lioba, the first principal, laid the foundation of St. Mary’s High School which has continued uninterruptedly to offer the opportunities of a Catholic high School to girls of Kitchener.

The opening of Notre Dame Academy, Waterdown, offered superior facilities to the students attending St. Anne’s School. The school was transferred to Waterdown on February 14th, 1927.

In September 1928, Sister Mary Petranda, the principal of St. Mary’s High School, realizing the need for secondary school education for girls in this city, offered the Grades 9 and 10 courses until better accommodations were available. Two years later, St. Mary’s Parish placed at the disposal of the Separate School Board, 4 classrooms, which had been added to St. Mary’s Parish Hall and gymnasium. This allowed grades 9 to 12 courses to be taught at the “new” facilities. Sister Mary Alberta, the first principal of this new unit saw the school grow in numbers, but also in facilities. In 1938 Commercial, and in 1939, Home Economics were added.

Other principal’s who gave leadership to the school were Sister Mary John, Sister Mary Antoinette, and Sister Mary Euphrasia. Two additional classrooms were provided in 1944. Ever widening facilities were added from year to year. The first formal graduation exercises gave tangible evidence of the high standards, which the school maintained.

St. Mary’s High School which had uninterruptedly served the Catholic parishes of Kitchener for 48 years, enlarged its accommodations and added to its curriculum as the need arose and standards of education advanced. But the mounting enrollment figures taxed the second unit beyond capacity, so that an additional building became imperative. Accordingly, the board of Governors, consisting of the pastors of the Twin-City parishes, provided a new building, which, on December 13, 1955, was blessed by his excellency, most Reverend J.F. Ryan, Bishop of the Diocese.

The new building contained 12 regular classrooms, a small library, a principal’s office, 2 teacher’s rooms, and a bright, spacious lower-floor cafeteria able to accommodate 450 persons. The home Economics and Commercial Departments as well as the Science Laboratories were enlarged, equipped and modernized in keeping with the trends in education and business.

No one was happier on this occasion than the principal, Sister M. Loretto, who had served the school for 20 years, first as a teacher, then as a principal. When she was elected Provincial Superior of the school Sisters of Notre Dame in Waterdown, in 1956, Sister M. Stella, the present principal, was named her successor.

The final stage of a long-range plan to connect all buildings compromising St. Mary’s was reached, when, on September 18, 1961, Reverend R.M. Haller, representing his Excellency, Bishop Ryan, cut the ribbon at the Ontario Street entrance of the new wing of St. Mary’s High School.

Pastors and parents had made a superlative effort to provide adequate classroom space, enlarged and improved facilities in the library, the science labs, the guidance and commercial departments. The intercommunication system, a gift of the students, which had been installed in the 1955 addition, was enlarged to connect to all units of the school. All these improvements are in keeping with the aims of St. Mary’s –to give its students the best in academic proficiency, in moral excellence and in social amenities.

Much of St. Mary’s High School story will never be recorded. It is, however, being written in the lives of its graduates, who are continually spelling out our motto, “VIRTUS ET SCIENTIA.”



St. Ann’s Convent School. Preparatory school for candidates interested in becoming School Sisters of Notre Dame and girls eager to obtain a Catholic High School Education. First class opened with nine students in the Old Pierce Terrace(White House) later referred to as the Choir Studio.


First Graduating Class prepared for Teacher’s College


School transferred to the new Mother house Academy at Waterdown, Ontario.


Grades 9 to 12 opened in St. Mary’s Elementary School. Classes were also taught at Sacred Heart and St. Louis Schools.


Grades 9 to 12 accommodate in four classrooms offered to the Separate School Board by St. Mary’s Parish. These classrooms had been built above the Parish Hall and Gymnasium.


School became known as St. Mary’s High School and opened its doors to 45 students


Grade 13 established with Grade Nine graduates.


Commercial Department incorporated onto the curriculum