We're Back!

When news came to us on the afternoon of Thursday, March 12, that all publicly funded schools in Ontario will be closed for two weeks in response to the emergence of COVID-19, few would have imagined the length of the closure.
Today, 185 calendar days later, we begin welcoming students back in each of our elementary and secondary schools. “Welcome we truly have been waiting for you.”
Very special thanks are extended to our central, professional and support staff in Business Services, Facilities Services, Human Resources, Innovative and Collaborative Technology Services, Learning Services and Director Services and to our front-line support staff, educators and administrators who have worked tirelessly preparing for this opening week. Your efforts are appreciated by all and have not gone unnoticed.
To our students new and returning, in person and fully remote, we look forward to working with you as we provide for your academic, mental, and spiritual wellbeing needs this academic year.
To our parents and guardians thank you for your patience and understanding in working with us during this time of re-opening.
Today as we re-open 53 of our ‘brick and mortar’ schools we also welcome students to our three new virtual schools in place for 2020 – 2021:
  • St. Isidore of Seville Virtual Catholic Elementary School (JK – 3)
  • St. Angela Merici Virtual Catholic Elementary School (Gr 4 – 8)
  • St. Josephine Bakhita Virtual Catholic Secondary School (Gr 9 – 12)
The following provides background on these outstanding women and men.
St. Isidore of Seville
In 1997 Pope John Paul II declared Isidore of Seville the patron saint of the internet. Saint Isidore died in the year 636, long before the first host-to-host ARPANET connection in 1969. But Isidore did try to record everything ever known in an encyclopedia that was ultimately published after his death.
St. Angela Merici
An Italian religious educator, she founded the Company of St. Ursula in 1535 in Brescia, in which women dedicated their lives to the service of the Church through the education of girls. From this organisation later sprang the monastic Order of Ursulines, whose nuns established places of prayer and learning throughout Europe and, later, worldwide, most notably in North America.

St. Josephine Bakhita
Born in the Darfur region of southern Sudan, Josephine was kidnapped at the age of 7 and was sold and resold into slavery. During a court case, the judge ruled that she had never legally been a slave and was free. She then entered religious life. A student once asked: "What would you do, if you were to meet your captors?" She responded: "If I were to meet those who kidnapped me, and even those who tortured me, I would kneel and kiss their hands. For, if these things had not happened, I would not have been a Christian and a religious today"
This year we continue to put into action our board’s Vision, “Inspired by Christ. Learning Together, Serving Together.” Our work continues to be inspired by two key gospel stories: The Good Samaritan and The Road to Emmaus.
The gospel story of The Good Samaritan asks us to reflect on “Who is My Neighbour?” Henry Nouwen responds to the question: “We become neighbours when we are willing to cross the road for one another.”
The other key gospel story is that of the Road to Emmaus, where the Risen Christ meets the two disciples on the road and begins to walk with them. Pope Francis in a reflection on the Road to Emmaus uses the term ‘patient accompaniment’. Like the disciples, we are sent forth to patiently accompany one another along the journey as God accompanies us.
This year, may we continue to seek out those opportunities to ‘cross the road’ for one another and ‘patiently accompany’ each other along the journey.
Wishing everyone a great first week!