The School Sisters of Notre Dame’s Ministry at St. Louis (1891-2005)
(A very brief sketch)
Sept., 1891 – 2 Sisters began teaching 53 pupils in the basement of the newly constructed St. Louis Church. For four and a half years they travelled daily by train from St. Mary’s convent in Berlin (Kitchener) to Waterloo.
Dec., 1895 – The Sisters moved into an eight room, two storey convent built by St. Louis. They were given permission to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in their chapel. (To accommodate more sisters, additions to the convent were needed in 1912 and 1953)
Nov., 1905 – Pupils and teachers walked from the Church basement into the new 4 room St. Louis School. By 1922, there were 315 pupils.
(Additions to the school were made in 1923 and 1961)
July, 1.909 – A lightning hit caused a fire in the Church. The Sisters ran over and rescued the consecrated Hosts. Although the choir loft was most affected, there was smoke and water damage to the rest of the Church. The Sisters helped with the clean up and a Sister Engelberta, from Milwaukee supervised the painting and redecorating, painting the portraits and figures herself.
1920’s -1970’s – During these years, the Sisters taught thousands of pupils how to read, write, calculate and how to pray. However as new Catholic schools opened in other parts of the city, enrollment dropped here, and with fewer vocations, Sister Clarice became the last Sister to teach at St. Louis retiring in 1976 – thus ending 85 YEARS of TEACHING MINISTRY. The school closed in 1983, but reopened for a few years as the St. Louis Adult Learning Centre. The Sisters helped out by teaching English to new Canadians.