Philosophy of Brebeuf College
BREBEUF COLLEGE SCHOOL is a community of faith following the traditions of the Jesuit Fathers and the Presentation Brothers. Brebeuf integrates Christian principles and Catholic values with all living and learning experiences in an environment recognizing the spiritual dignity of each individual as a child of God.
BREBEUF COLLEGE SCHOOL is a family of students, teachers, staff, parents, and alumni working
together to encourage excellence, integrity, responsibility, initiative, and respect for one another in the
classroom, on the playing field, and in the larger community of parish, municipality, and country.
BREBEUF COLLEGE SCHOOL stands for an education that develops soundness in mind, body, and
soul centred on academic and moral discipline. Brebeuf encourages the spirit to soar and the imagination to inquire. Brebeuf nurtures the sense of wonder in each boy’s unique development.
Brebeuf rewards hard work and eager application. Brebeuf expects all members of its family to realize
the fullness of the potential given by God.
BREBEUF COLLEGE SCHOOL believes that the way, the truth, and the life, informed by the teachings of Jesus, lead one to success, happiness, and to serve as Men for Others. Brebeuf's pillars are Faith, Excellence, Fellowship and Tradition.
Brebeuf College School is a Catholic school for boys inspired by the charisms of the Jesuit Fathers and Presentation Brothers. Brebeuf promotes the teachings of the Catholic Church in all learning and co-curricular experiences; and religious instruction, prayer, sacraments, and charity are integral to school life. Brebeuf looks especially to Jesus, Our Lady of the Presentation, St. Jean de Brebeuf, St. Joseph, and Blessed Edmund Rice as role models of faith.
Brebeuf College School believes that all students should strive for excellence in all things they do. All students should be challenged and supported to achieve their God-given potential in academics, athletics, the arts, and all aspects of school life. Brebeuf stands for an education that develops soundness in mind, body, and soul.
Brebeuf is dedicated to traditions that inspire our students to be Men for Others. These traditions encourage our students to be active leaders in the community always striving for the greater good for all. Brebeufians become proud alumni who actively support the Brebeuf community.
Brebeuf College School is a safe, welcoming, inclusive and diverse family of students, teachers, staff, parents, and alumni. Brebeuf creates unique bonds of brotherhood and friendships. Respect and acceptance is the heart of all relationships in the Brebeuf community.
History of Brebeuf College
The name Brebeuf was chosen for the new Toronto Catholic private high school that opened its doors to the first students in 1963 for three reasons. One of Ontario's most illustrious and heroic pioneers was St. Jean de Brebeuf who first came to Canada in 1625, only seventeen years after the founding of this country by Champlain's French colonists in 1608. Brebeuf journeyed to the area around the present-day Midland, Ontario and introduced Christian values to the Wendat (Huron) people of that area.
A second reason for selecting the name Brebeuf was that Jean de Brebeuf was a French Jesuit priest and the priests who founded Brebeuf College School in 1963 were the Jesuits of the Upper Canada Province. Brebeuf's first Principal was Father Robert Meagher, S.J., a native of Montreal and a follower of the Loyola tradition in that city. Mr. Neil P. Gazeley, an alumnus of Regiopolis College in Kingston, was the first lay Vice-Principal of a Jesuit school anywhere in the world, and he held that position until 1991. Brebeuf's first staff consisted of eight Jesuit priests, one Jesuit brother and six laymen.
The third reason the name Brebeuf was chosen for this high school was to provide each student and staff member with a person to emulate in his daily life. As is well known, St. Jean de Brebeuf was a giant among men, not only physically with his six-foot plus posture, but also academically, with his exceptional linguistic skills, and more so spiritually, with his dedication, zeal and courage. In 1649, Brebeuf was martyred after serving for sixteen years among the Wendat.
St. Jean the Brebeuf died at the age of fifty-six for the faith he hoped to implant in the hearts, minds, and the souls of his Wendat brothers. In 1956, his grave was discovered by Father Denis Hegarty, S.J. at the present site of Ste.-Marie-among the-Hurons, near Midland, and a simple, hand-etched lead plaque told the story of this heroic life:
P. Jean de Brebeuf Brûlé par les Iroquois Le 17 de Mars, 1649
This school named after the Jesuit missionary, Jean de Brebeuf, opened with one hundred Grades 9 & 10 students in September, 1963. Their Excellencies, Bishops Philip F. Pocock and Francis A. Marrocco presided at the official opening and solemn blessings on January 5, 1964. Brebeuf's first graduation class in 1967 consisted of 30 students, among them Mr. Michael Daoust, formerly the head of mathematics at Brebeuf. The 1968 year had 74 graduates, one of whom was Mr. Robert Lato, the former head of guidance at Brebeuf.
Father Jean de Brebeuf, who spent three periods of his life in Huronia in the 17th century (1626-29, 1634-42, and 1644-49), less than 150 miles from the present site of the school, is now honoured permanently as patron of Brebeuf College School.
In May, 1983, Father William Ryan, the Provincial of the Jesuits, announced that the Jesuits were going to give up responsibilities for the operation of Brebeuf College School by June, 1984. This decision was made necessary by the steady decline of available manpower. Immediately, Cardinal Gerald Emmett Carter and the staff of the Archdiocese of Toronto began to explore the possibilities to ensure the continual operation of Brebeuf. In February, 1984, Cardinal Carter's office announced that the Presentation Brothers were willing to assume responsibility for Brebeuf College, and would officially take over on July 31, 1984. Brother Lawrence Maher, F.P.M. was the new Principal (1984- 1996).
The Presentation Brothers of Mary are a Religious Congregation founded with a single intention -- to work for the Christian education and the formation of youth. The Order was founded in 1802 in Ireland by Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice, a wealthy and well-educated businessman in the city of Waterford. By the age of forty, Edmund Rice was noted as a generous layman, particularly concerned with the nplight of the poor. After entering a monastery in Europe, he realized that his real vocation lay with the uneducated and poverty-stricken youth of Waterford.
It was in 1802 that Edmund Rice gave up his personal wealth and by 1822 he had become the Founder of the Presentation Brothers and the Congregation of Christian Brothers. Brother Edmund Rice died in 1844 but the work he began continued throughout the world. Today the Presentation Brothers operate elementary and secondary schools in the United States, South America, the West Indies, England, Ireland, Africa, and Canada.
In 2002, the Metropolitan Separate School Board announced funding for a new building to replace Brebeuf's outdated facilities. Under Principal Michael Pautler, the Brebeuf community was temporarily housed in the former Bathurst Heights Collegiate while the new building was being constructed on the original campus. On January 5, exactly 40 years after Bishop Pocock presided over Brebeuf College School's Solemn Blessing, staff and students began classes in the new state-of-the-art facility at the old campus.
In 2022, with the withdrawal of the Presentation Brothers, Brebeuf College School and the Jesuits of Canada entered into an Endorsement Agreement making Brebeuf a Jesuit school once again.
Biography of St. Jean de Brebeuf
St. Jean de Brebeuf, the patron of our school, was a Jesuit priest born in France on March 25th, 1593. On March 16th, 1649, he bravely died at the hands of the Iroquois Indians near Midland, Ontario. On Thursday of this week, we, the first students of Brebeuf, will journey to the Martyrs' Shrine at Midland to pay our tribute to this noble Jesuit missionary after whom our school is named. Who was this Brebeuf? From the size of his coffin discovered in 1956 at Fort Ste. Marie, we can conclude that he was a huge man well over six feet in height. The Huron Indians, with whom he worked, called him Echon, meaning "who carries burdens." Physically he was a giant of a man.
Spiritually, he was also a giant of a man. Living in the midst of a very different culture, he never forgot his God, his faith, or his fellow man. When the day came for him to die for his God, his Christian faith, and the Huron Indians, he wrote one of the most amazing pages in the history of Christian martyrdom.
The Iroquois revered him as a symbol of all that was noblest and best in the Huron. Therefore, on the day of his torture, they tried to make him cry out for mercy. If they could break this giant "Blackrobe" of the Hurons, they could humiliate the whole Huron nation.
Brebeuf was fastened to the torture stake. The hot coals beneath his feet began to burn his tender flesh. Iroquois knives delicately carved painful lines on his arms and legs. He didn't blink an eyelash. An opening was made in his wrist. A thin stick was pushed beneath the skin until it reached the elbow. Red hot tomahawk blades were placed around his neck. Still, Brebeuf showed no sign of pain. His Huron friends watched on proudly. The angry Iroquois torturers began to rage. They poured boiling hot water over his head in derision of Christian baptism. They punched him in the face. Then, Brebeuf did something that stunned the Iroquois. He opened his mouth and began to preach about the Christian God. The Iroquois, who admired oratory only second to bravery, were beaten at their own game. They rushed out and cut out his tongue. Brebeuf looked at them and seemed to speak with his eyes. They cut out his eyes and stuffed hot coals in the sockets. Then, knowing they had been defeated by this giant Blackrobe, they cut out his heart and drank his blood to share in his bravery, nobility, and courage.
This, students of Brebeuf, is the man after whom our school is named.
Crest & Motto of Brebeuf College
The Brebeuf Crest was designed by Father Robert Meagher S.J., Brebeuf's founding Principal. It symbolizes the rich heritage and history of Brebeuf.
The black bull is taken from the family coat-of-arms of St. Jean de Brebeuf.
(Top left) The cross of St. George and maple leaves are taken from the arms of the Province of Ontario.
(Top centre) The blazing sun forms the arms of the Society of Jesus, who founded the school and of which Brebeuf was a member. The flames on the circle symbolize the infinite love of Christ, and the little cross, the pinnacle of that love. The Greek letters "iota", "eta", " and "sigma" are the first three letters of Jesus's name.
(Top right) The angel's wings behind the large cross are those of St. Michael, the patron saint of the Archdiocese of Toronto. The five small crosses on the larger cross represent each of the five Canadian Jesuit Martyrs (Jean de Brebeuf, Gabriel Lalement, Antoine Daniel, Charles Garnier, and Noel Chabanel).
The Latin motto "Studio Gradum Faciant" is translated "To win merit through study", emphasizing the
academic nature of the school.