Felician sisters posing with Bishop after the anniversary mass on May 29. Photo by Bianca Reátegui

Felician Sisters mark 50 years in education

By  Bianca Reátegui, Youth Speak News
  • June 5, 2015

BRAMPTON, ONT. - The Dufferin-Peel community celebrated 50 years of Felician education on May 29-31. The milestone anniversary was held in honour of the Felician Sisters’ groundbreaking contribution to Catholic education in Ontario.

Half a century ago, the Felicians were instrumental in introducing Catholic secondary education in the region west of Toronto. The Sisters founded Mississauga’s Holy Name of Mary in 1964. It was the first Catholic high school in the Dufferin, Peel and Halton regions. The school eventually was relocated to Brampton in 2008 as Holy Name of Mary Catholic Secondary School, but the former school has lived on as a private Catholic high school, renamed Holy Name of Mary College School.

Students and staff of the two schools participated in a Mass at St. Maximilian Kolbe parish in Mississauga on May 29. The Felician Sisters were presented with a papal blessing, and congratulatory letters from Cardinal Thomas Collins and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

While the Felicians no longer have an official presence at either school, their influence is still felt.

Marilena Tesoro, principal of Holy Name of Mary College School, said the Felician Sisters are still deeply rooted in every aspect of the school.

“In the early years, the Sisters did everything in the school,” said Tesoro. “They were the custodians, they were the cafeteria service, they cleaned the floors, they taught the girls. They served where there was a need and they served because they were passionate about girls’ education.”

Fr. Janusz Błażejak OMI, pastor at St. Maximilian Kolbe parish, said that the parish’s relationship with the Felician Sisters is very long and very rich.  

“From the very beginning, for over 30 years, the Felician Sisters have worked very closely with us,” said Błażejak. “We are very grateful to them for what they have done (for) the Polish community and to the parishes where we worked together.”

Other events held over the weekend included an open house at the Brampton school, an anniversary Mass and a banquet at Speranza Banquet Hall in Brampton on May 30. An alumnae tea at Holy Name of Mary College School was also held May 31.

(Reátegui, 17, is a Grade 12 student at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Secondary School in Brampton, Ont.)

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