St. Joseph’s College
“The Love of Christ Gathers Us into One”
St. Michael’s College
"Teach me Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge"
"Truth is the Source of Light and Charity"
This online exhibit, prepared in partnership with the Archives of the University of St. Michael’s College, the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loretto Sisters) and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto, celebrates “100 Years of Women’s Education at St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto, 1911 – 2011,” highlighting “the role of women’s religious congregations in the higher education of women at St. Michael’s College and the University of Toronto, and as advocates for women’s higher education in the 20th century.” (from Description of Project, Museums and Technology Fund, pp. 11-12).
With its Charter of 1910, the University of Toronto embraced a federation of four Arts Colleges, all of which enjoyed equal rights: University College, which was non-denominational; Victoria College, Methodist; Trinity College, Anglican; and St. Michael’s College, Catholic. The first three were co-educational, each maintaining a women’s residence in connection: Queen’s Hall, Annesly Hall, and St. Hilda’s College respectively. Owing to the principles of segregation which prevailed at St. Michael’s College, however, women were not admitted to registration (though they were free to register in any of the other three Colleges). While Catholic parents recognized the importance of a university education, and earnestly desired it for their daughters, their preference would have been to register in a Catholic institution.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto and the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loretto Sisters), two religious orders of women already recognized as prominent educators through their private women’s academies, had long desired to advance their students beyond the secondary level, and had taken measures to prepare them academically. Finally, in 1911 Catholic women could obtain a university education under Catholic auspices, either at Loretto College or St. Joseph’s College through St. Michael’s College. The religious orders provided Sister professors, classroom space and residence.
Female students now had the unique advantage of pursuing their studies in a Catholic College and Residence, and of obtaining their degree from the University of Toronto.
The support of the Government of Ontario, through the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, is acknowledged.
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