In tandem with the grand opening of the new, state-of-the-art high school for the upcoming new year, the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE) has announced that Kingston’s École secondaire catholique Marie-Rivier is being officially renamed following the canonization of the Blessed Marie Rivier by Pope Francis in May 2022.
According to a release from CECCE, as of the coming school year, the school will be rebaptized École secondaire catholique Sainte-Marie-Rivier in honour of the woman who dedicated her life to educating children and women in need.
“The names we give to our schools are an important part of their identity,” said CECCE Chair Johanne Lacombe.
“The board of trustees is proud to rename this school in honour of Saint Marie Rivier, who devoted her life to teaching children and was recognized by the Vatican for performing a miracle by healing a newborn baby with a severe birth defect,” added Trustee Michel Charron. “The school’s new name reflects the dedication, service and compassion that Saint Marie Rivier embodied throughout her life.”
Director of Education Marc Bertrand emphasized how important the name change is for the school community, noting, “The CECCE knows that the school’s new name will inspire students to follow Saint Marie Rivier’s example and become thoughtful, dedicated leaders who are ready to make a difference in their community.”
CECCE provided the following biographical information on Marie Rivier:
Marie Rivier was born on December 19, 1768, in Montpezat-Sous-Bauzon. Her life was one of suffering and charity. In 1770, at only 16 months of age, she fell off her bed. The resulting hip injury severely impacted her growth and development. For years, she could not even stand up. It was not until 1774 that she was able to stand with the help of crutches. Three years later, her recovery was complete. Her ordeal awakened her desire to dedicate her life to God. In 1786, she opened a school and dedicated herself to caring for the poor and sick. In 1801, the Bishop of Vienna approved her proposal to create the Congregation of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary. Within a few years, she had opened 46 houses. Marie Rivier died on February 3, 1838, in Bourg-Saint-Andéol. Pope Saint John Paul II beatified her on May 23, 1982.
The school board noted that these are important milestones in the history of both the school and Kingston’s Catholic community, “milestones well worth celebrating.”