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Dear Parents and Guardians,

The Catholic Education Foundation of Ontario has produced a 35-minute documentary, which celebrates the legacy of the many contributions of religious congregations to Catholic education in Ontario from the mid-19th century to today.  It is now posted to our Board website at:


The film features interviews with teachers, students, historians and members of Religious Congregations across Ontario, who help to tell the story of the over 70 communities and their formative influence on education in Ontario. This documentary explores the heroic history of these Religious Congregations, both English and French, as they built the infrastructure that was to become the Catholic School System of Ontario.

We witness students from Stratford who journey to Toronto to participate in the World Climate March. Students from Southern Ontario visit remote First Nations villages north of Superior to learn more about Indigenous culture as a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call for action.  These young people from the south experience the beauty of Native spirituality through smudging ceremonies and hoop dances. It is the story of heroic individuals, who were inspired to cross oceans and to live in hostile environments in service of their faith. And it is a story without an ending, as it will be the new generation of teachers, entering the vocation of education in the Catholic system who will write its next chapters. 

The producers of the film have provided the questions and information below to help guide your thoughts and reflections as you view the film.

Questions Before the Film

  1. What would be the defining characteristics of a school that you would want to be part of?
  2. In what ways can Catholic schools contribute to public betterment or social change?
  3. What do you know about the beginnings of Separate Schools in Ontario?  When were they officially recognized and who were the leading characters

Questions After the Film

  1. Name three images and three sounds that were memorable for you.  Would you share them with others who viewed the film?  Why are they particularly memorable to you?
  2. What does Prof. McGowan mean when he says “robbing Peter to pay Paul?”
  3. Is there anything that surprised you about the history of Catholic education in the province of Ontario?
  4. What are some of the new roles that Religious Congregations who staffed an administered Catholic schools are currently engaged in?  Are there examples in the film?
  5. What steps would you like to see taken by schools and boards to further the cause of reconciliation with Native people?
  6. What shoulders have you stood upon in your journey through Catholic education?

As we celebrate Catholic Education Week in Ontario, I encourage you to watch this important film with your family. It is a film for those who want to know more about the legacy of Catholic education in the province of Ontario; that we might know and appreciate on whose shoulders we stand. 


Deb Crawford

Director of Education

May 07, 2018