Same School, New Name

Signage is now showing the name change for the French-language Catholic secondary school in Welland, formerly Jean Vanier. The new name, École Secondaire Catholique Saint-Jean-De-Brébeuf is posted on both sides of the message signboard at the corner of River Road and Woodlawn Road, but as of Tuesday afternoon, had not been added to the sign on the front of the school. Brébeuf was a French Jesuit missionary who worked among the Hurons. He was martyred in 1649 at the hands of the Iroquois, the Hurons’ enemy, during war between the two. Canonized and declared a patron saint of Canada in 1930, his remains are buried at Martyrs’ Shrine near Midland. As written in the authoritative The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, A Spirituality for Real Life, Brébeuf’s “determination to understand the peoples with whom he ministered drove him to become fluent in the Huron language and compile that tongue’s first written dictionary.” Vanier, the disgraced Canadian who founded the nonprofit L’Arche to serve adults with intellectual disabilities, was found to have sexually assaulted six women (none of whom had intellectual disabilities) over a 35-year period. He died in May, 2019, aged 90. Several other schools across the country that bore Vanier’s name also have implemented name changes. (Photo by Joe Barkovich)

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