- Date of publication 01-31-2013 January 13th. 1913 : a new school
January 13th. 2013 : 970 pupils
When the first five sisters arrived at Harrytown Hall, Romiley in May 1913 there was no Catholic parish, no church and no Catholic school. Sister Berthe Le Roy was the Superior. She was an intelligent and enterprising woman who had vision for the future. The Sisters of Evron were always concerned for the education of children especially in areas where there was little or no provision for it. With the insistence of Sister Leroy (Mere Le Roy) and her sisters the bishop of the diocese of Shrewsbury, Bishop Hugh Singleton, eventually gave his consent for a school to be established by the sisters. They enlisted the help of Miss Mary McCabe, B.A. who had recently graduated from Liverpool University and Notre Dame Training College and so on January 13th. 1913 a school with 11 pupils was opened. Over the years this school grew from strength to strength and on January 13th. 2013 the centenary was solemnly celebrated. There are at present 970 pupils on the register.
Bishop Mark Davies, bishop of Shrewsbury concelebrated the Eucharist with six priests and a seminarian who is due to be ordained in July at Romiley. The celebration took place in the school hall attended by nine Sisters of Evron and about 400 persons consisting of former members of staff, parents and a number of past pupils of all ages. The Mass was that of the Sunday, the Baptism of Jesus. The Centenary prayer, composed by present pupils and staff was recited before the celebration of the Mass.
The text is as follows:
Harrytown Centenary Prayer
Heavenly Father, we gather together
As one community in your name
Give us the courage to live our shared vision
That Christ is among us
At the centre of all we do.
Pour down your Spirit on Harrytown High School.
In our Centenary Year.
Renew in us
The simplicity to recognise your presence
At the heart of each person
And the humility to put others first.
Touch our lives with your love so that
We can share each day with each other and the wider world
in charity and service.
Unite us to live in the same spirit
That moved Jesus to give his life for others
So that ‘all may have life and have it to the full’.
We make this prayer through Jesus Christ, your Son.
The Mass was solemn and dignified. The bishop in his homily praised the Sisters for their courage and devotion to education. The Pope and bishops of the time advocated the building up of the Church though the education of children. The Sisters of Evron were courageous builders wherever they were established. (see homily)
There was a buffet meal, served in four different areas of the school where people could meet and spend some time together. Bishop Mark circulated among the people and greeted everyone. The atmosphere was very warm and friendly and many past pupils and members of staff were delighted to greet each other and the sisters. It was good to hear the various memories recalled and to renew acquaintance and reminisce together. The celebration will continue in various forms throughout the year.
There is a major project to be realised in the course of this centenary year that is the building of a school chapel. So there is much effort required in fund raising for this project. The present staff and pupils said that the school had a chapel from the beginning, so it is important to have that privilege again in the present time.
The original school badge and logo has been retained and valued but there is also a very strong effort to preserve and encourage the living out of Perrine Thulard’s testament. The art department of the school had devised a set of stained glass windows with the virtues of charity, simplicity, union, humility encapsulated in the design. These will be included in the new chapel which will be built in the course of the year. We are very impressed by the respect and appreciation given by the young people who reflect on Perrine’s prayer and try to live up to the values it conveys. The seed sown one hundred years ago has germinated and is producing fruit a hundred fold. We wish them ‘Ad Multos Annos’.
Anne Marie Crowley.
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