St. Vincent's Alumnae Association
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St. Vincent's Alumnae Association



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History

A Brief History of St. Vincent's Alumnae Association

St. Vincent's Alumnae Association was founded in 1902 by Rev. Sister M. Francesca M.A., Principal of St. Vincent's High School at that time.  She created St. Vincent's Alumnae as an organization to foster the "educational, cultural and social advancement of its members."  It is an organization which has been in continuous active existence since it was founded and has supported the school and its graduates in these fields for over one hundred years.

Sister Francesca was "an outstanding educator, a dedicated person of inspired vision, tireless energy, and infectious ambition."

Given that women were not even considered "persons" under the law until 1929, creating an organization encouraging women to grow socially outside the home and participate in activities to support their communities, as well as to grow intellectually, was an endeavor well before its time.

St. Vincent's Alumnae represents a large membership - all graduates of the years 1899-2002. Membership is dependent solely upon a standard of scholarship: having attended or graduated from St. Vincent's High School.  St. Vincent's has carried on the tradition established by Sister Francesca, who believed strongly in the capabilities of young women and in training them to fulfill any function in society. Our graduates have had, and are at present enjoying distinguished careers in many fields.


Activities

During its over 100 years of uninterrupted service, the members of St. Vincent's Alumnae Association (SVAA) have tirelessly supported numerous social, educational and spiritual activities throughout Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada and countries throughout the world.

When St. Vincent's High School opened in 1919, the Alumnae produced the musical "HMCS Pinafore" as a fund-raising project and presented over $2000 to the Bishop, as well as providing a $50 award at that time.

St. Vincent's Alumnae was a pioneer for women's organizations in Atlantic Canada. In 1917, St. Vincent's was the "first alumnae in the Maritime Provinces to affiliate" with the Washington D.C. based International Federation of Catholic Alumnae. Again, in 1931 when the Canadian Federation of Catholic Alumnae came into being, St. Vincent's became a participating member, remaining as such until the dissolution of the Federation in 1976. Partnering with these organizations allowed the members of SVAA to foster their spiritual beliefs and community service.

In 1931, the members first observed Mary's Day, on the Saturday preceding Mother's Day. This was a spiritual endeavour of the Association in collaboration with all other Alumnae Associations throughout Canada which were members of the Canadian Federation of Catholic Alumnae.

For many years, a Mass for deceased members was held annually in November.

During World War II, members of St. Vincent's Alumnae acted as hostesses at the Catholic Sailors' Club in West Saint John. Here the women, in partnership with the Knights of Columbus arranged entertainment and social gatherings for members of the Armed Forces fighting in the war.

One of the most active groups of St. Vincent's Alumnae over the years was the Marathon Bridge Committee.  Since 1953, when the Marathon Bridge originated as an Alumnae endeavour, this group raised thousands of dollars for educational purposes.

The Annual Tea was an event which had been an activity of the membership for many years. Funds raised from this social event were used for educational commitments, as well as for defraying expenses of the current graduating class.

As a way of keeping in touch with such a large and diverse membership, graduates gather annually in Saint John for a Reunion Dinner. Those who are celebrating reunions have been known to travel across the continent in order to attend. Some members have celebrated 60th and 70th reunions and it is not uncommon for three generations of one family to be present!  At the Dinner the members welcomed the most recent graduates into the Alumnae and exchanged memories and stories of days gone by with friends from the past.

Since 1907, graduates of St. Vincent's High School have been receiving awards and financial contributions from St. Vincent's Alumnae Association in recognition of their educational achievements and in support of their educational pursuits. When being an educated girl was the exception rather than the rule, awards given to graduates were highly prized by the women and their families. Though today it has become more common for women to pursue and complete their education, the awards provided by St. Vincent's Alumnae are still sought after by the graduates.

Currently the Scholarship Committee manages assets in the amount of over $190,000. The interest earned annually from the investment is paid to graduates and their direct descendants in scholarships. Funds are raised primarily through the contributions of members using such things as memorial cards, bequests and other donations.

For further information on the history of our scholarships please click on "Scholarships" link on this website.


Future Direction of St. Vincent's Alumnae Association

In June 2002 St. Vincent's High School graduated its final class. This marked the end of the high school and this chapter in the history of St. Vincent's Alumnae Association; however, the existing members of the Association plan to continue as a women's organization. To achieve this, members of the Alumnae continue discussions on the future direction of the Association and its activities.  Our goal is to sustain the organization that has made such a valuable contribution to the communities and women it has served for many years to come.


Our Vision Statement

"A women's association fostering women's issues and education. We strive to promote a sense of community through life long learning, spiritual values and tradition, locally and beyond."


Presidents, St. Vincent's Alumnae Association

Mrs. Emily (Bardsley) Harrington

Charter

1902-1904

Mrs. Katherine E. (O'Neil) DeGrasse

Charter

1904-1906

Elizabeth F. McInerney

Charter

1906-1908

Isabelle Reed

1899

1908-1910

Ellen T. Reed

Charter

1910-1912

Mrs. Florence (O'Regan) Conlon

1904

1912-1914

Sister Agatha Gorman (Ethelreda)

1902

1914-1916

Mrs. Flora (McDonald) McMurray

Charter

1916-1918

Mrs. Clare (O'Connor) Conlon

1902

1918-1919

Mrs. Annie (Gosnell) Mooney

1902

1919-1921

Mrs. Muriel (Corkery) Ryan

1910

1921-1922

Mary M. Chaisson

1916

1922-1924

Catherine F. O'Neil

1903

1924-1926

Mrs. Ella (Stanton) Roderick

Charter

1926-1928

Kathleen Lundy

1913

1928-1930

Mrs. Dorothy (Kinsella) Henneberry

1911

1930-1933

Mrs. Mary (McGuiggan) McCafferty

1903

1933-1934

Mrs. C. Augusta (Ryan) Fewings

1911

1934-1935

Emma L. Huestis

1927

1935-1936

Mrs. Gerarda (Wilson) Keating

1925

1936-1938

Mrs. Angeline (Lynch) Horgan

1925

1938-1939

Mrs. Margaret (Burns) O'Brien

1923

1939-1942

Mrs. Nina (Burns) Poirier

1924

1942-1943

Mrs. Alice (Dever) Doyle

1929

1943-1944

Dr. Monica Mooney

1939

1944-1945

Augusta McGrath

1922

1945-1947

Mrs. Doreen (England) Sproule

1938

1947-1948

Mrs. Olive (Parsons) Dawson

1938

1948-1949

Mrs. Jean (Eldridge) Marry

1941

1949-1950

Mrs. Shirley (Britt) Dysart

1945

1950-1951

Mrs. Grace (Dever) McManus

1938

1951-1952

Helen E. Crowley

1920

1952-1954

Mrs. Agnes (LaRiviere) Keating

1930

1954-1956

Dr. Monica Mooney

1939

1956-1960

Ruth M. Tobin

1940

1960-1968

Mrs. Shirley (Britt) Dysart

1945

1968-1970

Mrs. Anna (Peterson) George

1945

1970-1972

Mrs. Alice (Lenihan) Montague

1939

1972-1973

Mrs. Mona (McDermott) Duffie

1940

1973-1975

Carey A. Ryan

1966

1975-1978

Lynne Montague

1964

1978-1980

Mrs. Rosemary (Trainor) Lahey

1956

1980-1981

Mrs. Joan (Doherty) Grant

1969

1981-1983

Mrs. Missy (McPherson) Boyne

1971

1983-1985

Mrs. Mary Anne (Creamer) Ketchum

1972

1985-1987

Mrs. Kathleen (Mooney) MacDougall

1940

1987-1988

Mrs. Nancy (Creamer) Ervin

1977

1988-1989

Marijke Blok

1979

1989-1991

Cheryl Doiron

1962

1991-1994

Mrs. Martha (Barry) Zed

1972

1994-1995

Mrs. Charlene (Boyle) Hayes

1977

1995-1998

Mrs. Donna (Holding) Schroeter

1964

1998-2001

Mrs. Janet (McNulty) Donahue

1971

2001-2003

Sister Mary Ann Maxwell

1960

2003-2006

Marilyn A. Upton

1968

2006-2008

Susan K. Moore

1993

2008-2010

Mrs. Suzanne (Stephen) Buckley

Greta (LeBlanc) Rogers

1984

1991

2010-2013

2013 -

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