The History of St. John’s Catholic School


"We believe that children are not only gifted with intelligence, but that they have also received from God the great gift of free will, the awesome gift that makes it possible for them to choose what their lives will be... on them depends the future of the race; they are the hope of their families, the hope of the civil and Christian society, the nation perpetuating itself. They are, indeed, heaven foreseeing its elect."
St. John's Creed of Education

From the very beginning of the development of St. John the Baptist parish (now All Saints Parish), its families gave proof of a profound conviction that a Catholic school was to be an integral part of the life and mission of the total parish. That same spirit continues today. The people of St. John's have always cherished their school and worked hard to maintain its high standards of excellence.

The commitment of the parish to educate its children is evidenced from the beginning. In 1882, Fr. James Gorman organized a school in the old church building on Federal Street; the first St. John's Catholic School of Brunswick. The school was then staffed by lay teachers as it is today. When the new church was completed, Fr. Gorman had two rooms partitioned off in the basement to serve as classrooms.

In 1893, Fr. Sekenger, then pastor, chose the acquisition of his first project to acquire better accommodations for the children. He bought a site for a school and convent on Oak St.; four blocks from the church. At that time, eight Sisters of Sion came to take charge of the educational program. Applications for enrollment were so numerous that the pastor had to build a temporary school building behind the convent. This affectionately became known in history as "the little school."

In 1911, under the direction of Fr. Remy, a spacious school building became his first priority. Land had been purchased and plans were drawn up. Contracts were about to be awarded when a fire struck at the church. While laying foundations for the new church, the foundation was also placed for the new school. March 17, 1913 became the dedication date of that new school! From 1913 to 1915, the school was under the direction of the Sisters of Mercy. The Ursuline Sisters from Waterville became the administrators of the school in 1915 and stayed until 1998. During that time, a third story was added to the building in 1929. Sadly, a fire in 1943 badly damaged the building. The students were divided among the town's public schools. Due to the war, repair work was severely limited. The school basement was remodeled in the 1950's; extra classrooms were added and the entire interior was refinished. It stood then much as it does today.

At one time, there were over 700 children enrolled at St. John's Catholic School. Now, total enrollment hovers around 100 in the pre-kindergarten through eighth grade school. The teachers' dedication and the students' enthusiasm make the St. John's School a lively place.

Children from Bath, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Brunswick, Durham, Freeport, Georgetown, Harpswell, Lisbon Falls, North Yarmouth, Topsham, and many others are passing through our doors. The blending of various locales and of Catholic and non-Catholic students has added a wonderful diversity to our school.

St. John's Catholic School offers an academic curriculum in a values-oriented environment. The ministry of the school, faculty, and staff serves to support the family by assisting parents in the academic, social, and spiritual formation of their children.

The belief that a strong sense of self, fostered by a well-balanced academic program, gives each child his or her best chance for success. Setting goals and providing the tools to reach those goals creates an environment that encourages success. By loving the child into learning during their formative years, we are contributing to the development of caring, intelligent, Christian adults.

With this, we are building the foundation of our future together... Our Children!