About Our School
St. Francis Xavier School was officially opened June 15th, 1947 and remains today as it was then, a standing reminder of the importance the people of Stoney Creek attached to Catholic Education. A Census taken in May of 1946, revealed many Catholic students attending local public schools where they received no formal religious instruction. A Separate School Board was formed and Mr. D. McMillan, Mr. F. Caffery and Mr. R. Dastous were the first trustees. Mr. Gordon Kappler, a member of the Hamilton Separate School Board and an ex-officio of the newly formed Board gave considerable time and effort to the planning and erection of the original school building. Pending completion of the school, fifty Catholic children were bussed to St. Anne's School in Hamilton Msgr. Englert helped make the arrangement possible.
The school was the last word in beauty and appointment at that time. It was a solid concrete construction, the first of its kind. There were provisions for four classrooms. One of the finest features was the heating plant which had heat radiating from the floor and the ceiling. The School Sisters of Loretto took charge of the building and school opened in September of that year.
In the words of Father Bodendistel, the first pastor, "It is our earnest hope and desire that every Catholic child in the parish will be in attendance on that first day. In many cases, because of the distance involved, this would mean effort and sacrifice". Our Catholic religion began with the sacrifice of Christ Jesus. So too, would the Catholic families of Stoney Creek, make sacrificing men, women, priests, sisters and laity. It must never be said that St. Francis people were an exception".
Father Bodendistel was the first of many to model these words. Fruitland was out in the country in an area of prime farmland. It was just after World War II. Many people were poor but hard working. Some of the first students walked or rode their bikes to school. The rest, from Winona, Holy Family Camp, Cherry Beach, Crescent Beach, Van Wagner's Beach and 20 Highway came on the school bus. Father Bodendistel drove the school bus, fixed the school bus, fixed the furnace and was generally a "Jack of All Trades".
In the first year, the school consisted of two classrooms on the top floor. The first floor was a chapel for the parish mass. Sister Syncleta was the principal and she taught Grades 5, 6, 7, and 8. Sister Anne Maire taught Grades 1, 2, 3, 4. These original classrooms are now occupied by our French classes in Room 24 and 25. Brass plaques on the classroom doors dedicate these rooms to Sister Syncleta and Sister Anne Marie.
The strong Catholic Education tradition continued over the next fifty years. Father Bodendistel would be proud of the Catholic schools in our parish. St. Francis Xavier, St. Martin of Tours, St. Agnes, St. Clare of Assisi, Our Lady of peace and Cardinal Newman Catholic Secondary School. It is a tribute to the strong faith foundation that took root under his leadership fifty years ago.
May the fine tradition of Catholic Education continue in his honour, may we continue to be a poeple of service in our community. May we always work together to porvide our children with an education deeply rroted in our Catholic Faith. An education that is not just about academics, but an education that encompasses the whole person on all forfur levels: spiritually, physically, emotionally, and psychologically. United we stand as we journey..."Together Towards God... Serving in Pride."