This year is a special one for Our Lady of Schools, as it marks the 60th anniversary of the proclamation of Our Lady of Schools as Patron of Schools and of Students for all of Canada.
A history compiled about Our Lady of Schools states that this year’s anniversary stems from November of 1952, when Pope Pius XII granted a general request that Our Lady of Schools be officially proclaimed the Patron of Schools and of Students for the entirety of Canada. In effect, this year’s event is marking the extension of liturgical privileges to the whole nation, which were granted solely to Quebec in 1947. That meant that when assembled, educators across Canada could celebrate a Mass of the Holy Virgin.
CCSTA has been supportive of the request to mark the 60th anniversary.
“The 60th anniversary of the national proclamation brings with it a great deal to celebrate,” said John Stunt, executive director of CCSTA. “CCSTA feels this is an important milestone because children are at the root of both Our Lady of Schools and the Canadian Catholic School Trustee’s Association.”
Plans are reportedly already in the works for a variety of celebrations marking the anniversary. Archbishop of Quebec, Gérald Lacroix, has agreed to say mass on Oct. 20, 2012, the Feast Day of Our Lady of Schools, at the Notre-Dame de Quebec Cathedral in Quebec City.
In information sent to the CCSTA, Marguerite Bourbeau Kussmaul, president of the Association Notre-Dame des Écoles/Our Lady of Schools, reported through correspondence with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops that a full-day celebration has been proposed with a religious concert, meditation on the rosary and more.
Back in October of 2007, Quebec celebrated its own 60-year milestone of Pope Pius XII’s declaration specifically for that province. At the celebrations five years ago, his Eminence Marc Cardinal Ouellet, primate of Canada, celebrated a Mass at the same location, blessing a statue of Our Lady of Schools.
According to historical information from Bourbeau Kussmaul, Our Lady of Schools dates back to 1894. This mission was brought to Canada around the turn of the last century by the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame. In 1905, Pope Pius X approved the image of Our Lady of Schools. Just 10 years later, Archbishop Paul Bruchesi blessed its original marble statue. During this time, the Sisters established a teacher’s college in Montreal. It was the college which facilitated Our Lady of Schools to spread across Canada.