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SMCS Student Life | Spiritual Life | Fr. Leung celebrating Mass
Student Life

Spiritual Life

The teachings and traditions of the Catholic faith form the foundation of school life at St. Michael’s College School. Spiritual Life is present, prioritized and practiced in myriad ways and is embodied in the presence of the Basilian Fathers.

Whether a student is Catholic or belongs to another faith group, he is encouraged to explore his own spiritual journey during his time at SMCS.

A dedicated Spiritual Life coordinator further supports faith formation and education by organizing masses, observances, celebrations, and other events that are tangible actions of faith in action.

The school’s spiritual life consists of daily school-wide morning prayer, daily classroom prayers, end-of-week prayer, a regular routine of liturgical celebrations (daily Mass, homeroom Masses, grade-level Masses, all-school Masses, penitential services, and community service celebrations), days of retreat and recollection for staff and students, volunteer community service activity days for staff and students, and ministry to the city’s needy through food drives and other fundraising initiatives.

Formal curriculum teaching includes courses in religious studies, world religions, philosophy and Catholic literature that all contribute in meaningful ways to a student’s understanding of values, moral and spiritual development.

SMCS Student Life | Spiritual Life | Students carry the cross during Mass

Spiritual Life at SMCS is a further extension of the school’s Mission and Vision as a leader in Catholic boys’ education in Canada.

Goodness is embodied in a Catholic, Liberal Arts education designed to help students discover that being fully alive includes being in a good relationship with God and with one’s neighbour.

Discipline is evident in the practice of faith morning prayer, daily and weekly celebrations of the Eucharist, and other sacramental gatherings. School Masses involve every student and staff member. School retreats, and spirit assemblies further the spiritual growth of each student.

The Spiritual Life Coordinator along with the Basilian Fathers are also available to each student for individual spiritual guidance, direction and counselling or for support with personal challenges. When necessary, the Office of Spiritual Life will work directly with families and make referrals to external agencies and professionals.

Knowledge of Spiritual Life is grown through academics and experiential education.

Every student at St. Michael’s College School is required to take a Theology course each year. Theology prepares him to understand and embrace the teachings of Jesus Christ, to live a complete Christian life, and to reflect meaningfully on many of the questions posed by the modern world.

The consistent practice of goodness, discipline, and knowledge at SMCS enable faith to underpin each student’s own spiritual journey.

Students are provided with many opportunities to encounter and deepen their relationship with God at SMCS, to help cultivate strong Catholic values of faith, character, and service for today’s world.

Basilian Fathers

The Congregation of St. Basil was established in France in 1822. As a result of the closing of seminaries in France during the French Revolution, two diocesan priests opened a secret school in the mountains of central France.

SMCS Student Life | Spiritual Life | Fr. May giving Communion to students

After several years of operation and following a change in French law, 10 priests serving there openly bound themselves into a religious community. They reasoned that the school, by then located in the nearby city of Annonay, would have a better chance of continuing if it were conducted by a religious congregation that could accept and train new members to continue the operation of the school after the founding fathers’ retirement.

The original members chose St. Basil the Great, a fourth century teacher, bishop and doctor of the Church, to be the namesake of the new community.

In the middle of the 19th century, the French Basilians came to Canada on invitation of Bishop de Charbonnel of Toronto who had been a student at Annonay.

They opened St. Michael’s College in 1852, offering, in the French style, a combination of high-school and university education. Today, the University of St. Michael’s College and St. Michael’s College School continue the work begun in 1852.

The Congregation grew in numbers and activities in the New World. Assumption College in Windsor, Ontario was opened as well as several parishes. Work in the United States began in a permanent way in 1886 at Ste. Anne’s Parish in Detroit, Michigan and by the end of the nineteenth century the community was working also in Texas.

SMCS Chapel interior empty

During the 1930’s the Basilians in Texas began to work with the Mexican people who had settled in the countryside to the southwest of Houston.

Gradually their small mission congregations developed into self-sustaining parishes.

In 1961 two priests were sent to open a parish in Mexico City as the first of many to serve in Mexico. In 1987, the Latin American apostolate expanded to include a parish, school, and health care centre in Cali, Colombia.

It is from these simple beginnings that the Basilian Fathers are inspired to continue to live and serve throughout Canada, the United States, Mexico and Colombia.

For more information on the Congregation of St. Basil, please visit



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