About the “100 Years of Women’s Education at St. Michael’s College” Exhibit
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.
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 that 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.
Materials for the “100 Years of Women’s Education at St. Michael’s College” website, initially posted in 2011, was coordinated by Michael Bramah, Head of Technical Services, and assisted by Connie Lewin, Cataloguing Technician, for the University of St. Michael’s College (USMC) archives. Text and images supplied by Linda Wicks, archivist for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto (CSJT), and Sr. Juliana Dusel, IBVM, along with Michelle Anitra Pariag, archivists for the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loretto Sisters), Canadian Province. Website and graphic design by Sheila Eaton.
We acknowledge the support of the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture through the 2011 Museum and Technology Fund.