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Toronto Catholic District School Board

School History And Tradition

Jean de Brebeuf

The name Brebeuf was chosen for the new Toronto Catholic High School that opened its doors to the first students in 1963 for three reasons. One of Ontario's most illustrious and heroic pioneers was Jean de Brebeuf who first came to Canada in 1625, only 17 years after the founding of this country by Champlain's French colonists in 1608. Brebeuf journeyed to the area around the present-day Midland, Ontario and introduced Christian values to the Huron Indians of that area.

A second reason for selecting the name Brebeuf was that Jean de Brebeuf was a French Jesuit priest and the priests who founded Brebeuf College School in 1963 were the Jesuits of the Upper Canada Province. Brebeuf High School's first principal was Father Robert Meagher, S.J., a native of Montreal and a follower of the Loyola tradition in that city. Brebeuf's first staff consisted of 8 Jesuit priests, 1 Jesuit brother and 6 laymen.

The third reason the name Brebeuf was chosen for this high school was to provide each student and staff member with a person to emulate in his daily life. As is well known, Jean de Brebeuf was a giant among men, not only physically with his six-foot plus posture, but also academically with his exceptional linguistic skills, and more so spiritually with his dedication, zeal and courage. In 1649 Brebeuf was martyred after serving for 16 years among the Hurons.

Jean the Brebeuf died at the age of 56 years for the faith he hoped to implant in the hearts, minds, and the souls of his Huron brothers. In 1956 his grave was discovered by Father Denis Hegarty, S.J. at the present site of Ste.-Marie-among the Hurons, near Midland, and a simple, hand-etched lead plaque told the story of this heroic life:

P. Jean de Brebeuf
Brûlé par les Iroquois
Le 17 de Mars, 1649

This school named after the Jesuit missionary, Jean de Brebeuf, opened with one hundred Grades 9 & 10 students in September, 1963. Their Excellencies, Bishops Philip F. Pocock and Francis A. Marrocco presided at the official opening and solemn blessings on January 5, 1964. Brebeuf's first graduation class in 1966 consisted of 30 students, among them Mr. Michael Daoust presently the head of mathematics at Brebeuf. The 1967 year had 74 graduates, one of whom was Mr. Robert Lato presently the head of guidance at Brebeuf.

Father Jean de Brebeuf who spent three periods of his life in Huronia in the 17th century (1626-29, 1634-42, and 1644-49), less than 150 miles from the present site of Brebeuf College School, is now honoured permanently as patron of Brebeuf College School.
 
Crest & Motto
 
 

 

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The Brebeuf Crest was designed by Father Robert Meagher S.J., Brebeuf's founding Principal. It symbolizes the rich heritage and history of Brebeuf.

The black bull is taken from the family coat-of-arms of St. Jean de Brebeuf.

The cross of St. George and maple leaves are taken from the arms of the Province of Ontario.

The blazing sun forms the arms of the Society of Jesus who founded the school, and of which Brebeuf was a member. The flames on the circle symbolize the infinite love of Christ, and the little cross, the pinnacle of that love. The Greek letters "iota", "eta," and "sigma" are the first three letters of Jesus's name.

The angel's wings behind the large cross are those of St. Michael, the patron saint of the Archdiocese of Toronto. The five small crosses on the larger cross represent each of the five Canadian Jesuit Martyrs (Jean de Brebeuf, Gabriel Lalement, Antoine Daniel, Charles Garnier, and Noel Chabanel).

The Latin motto "Studio Gradum Faciant" is translated "To win merit through study", emphasizing the academic nature of the school.