Our History

A Brief History of Saint Mary School

Reverend Edward J. Duffy became pastor of St. Mary Church in Ridgefield, CT in January 1951, and just a short time later in September 1951 Father Duffy purchased a property that was converted to a convent for the Marianiate Sisters of the Holy Cross, who arrived in Ridgefield a few years later in April, 1954. At that time, the Club House became a temporary school, and 87 students in Grades 1-3 were led by Sister M. Helen. That same year, the church received a generous donation of five acres of land on which to build a new school. With the support of Bishop Lawrence J. Sheehan, Father Duffy embarked on a $115,000 School Building Fund Appeal. Construction began in 1955, and in September 1956 the new Saint Mary School building was opened with four grades, with a new grade added on each year until the first graduation in 1960. The school was built to house 400 students. In 1963 an addition was completed under the leadership of Rev. James McLaughlin.


The Marianite Sisters of the Holy Cross was founded in Le Mans, France in 1841 by Blessed Basile Moreau. The charism is to educate in faith. Moreau felt this education in faith required the development of the mind, the cultivation of the heart, the enkindling of a zeal for service, the encouragement of hope in the cross, and the uniting with others as family. Unfortunately, due to a lack of vocations, Pastor Martin O’Connor announced that the teaching nuns would be leaving, and the school closed in 1971.


Saint Mary School was closed for 24 years. Pastor Robert Morrisey opened a preschool, and three years later in September 1996 a Kindergarten was opened with 20 students. One grade was added per year, and in 2005, the first Grade 8 class of the “new” Saint Mary School graduated. Soon after the re-opening in 1996, the priests moved out of the school building and into the new rectory, and the vacated space because a library. In the summer of 2002, the school went through a renovation of the classrooms which allowed for the addition of a computer lab, science lab, and music and art classroom. The most notable change was the addition of the gym – the Nancy Bossidy Recreation Center was formally dedicated in 2004.

During the 2016-17 school year, the Saint Mary community celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the re-opening of Saint Mary School. And at the start of the 2017-18 school year, a strategic planning process, We are Called, was begun to ensure the future success of Saint Mary School.While the COVID years were challenging, our school thrived rather than just survived.  


In May, 2024, Saint Mary School successfully received a 10-year re-accreditation certification from NEASC (the New England Association of Schools and Colleges) after completing an 18 month intensive review.  In June 2024, the 20th class graduated from the re-opened Saint Mary School.  Those classes are comprised of 339 graduates.