Our School

At St. Monica Catholic School, we are called to celebrate and nurture the God-given talents of each student as we serve with excellence in the light of Christ. We recognize our call to love and serve from our Master teacher Jesus Christ, and we are committed to creating a Catholic learning community under the protection of Mother Mary.

The Catholic Graduate Expectations are our foundation as we strive for academic excellence and the acknowledgement of those who achieve it. We recognize God as the source of all life and actively work to focus on social issues within our local and global communities.

We celebrate the diversity within our community with a collaborative approach to learning, in cooperation with parents, the Catholic faith community, and other organizations that recognize the value of our mission. Within the context of Catholic teaching and Sacramental living, our school community strives to demonstrate respect and reverence for all life, thus nurturing a safe, Christian environment for the entire school community.

School Year Calendar 
Our board's School Year calendar is now available. We encourage parents and guardians to stay informed of upcoming school events, we ask that you please subscribe to our school calendar web page to receive the latest updates and emails on activities happening at school.  
Child Care Services 
We are pleased to partner with YMCA to provide before and after school care at St. Monica Catholic School. Call our child care partner at 289-923-1382 to learn more about our services. 
School Hours 

Our school hours are as follows:

8:25 a.m. - School begins
9:50 to 10:05 a.m. - Morning recess 
11:10 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. - Lunch
1:35 to 1:50 p.m. - Afternoon recess
2:55 p.m. - Dismissal


Some facts about our school include:

  • Year Built: 1987 - Addition Completed January 2003
  • Num. of Classrooms: 19
  • Actual Enrollment: 426
  • Child Care: YMCA Before and After School Program
  • Parishes: St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church and Holy Redeemer Catholic Church
Patron Saint 

Our patron saint is St. Monica. She is remembered as a model of patience. Her long years of prayer, coupled with a strong, well-disciplined character led to the conversion of her son, Saint Augustine.

St Monica was a widow; born of Christian parents at Tagaste, North Africa, in 333; died at Ostia, near Rome, in 387.

We are told but little of her childhood. She was married early in life to Patritius who held an official position in Tagaste. He was a pagan, though like so many at that period, his religion was no more than a name; his temper was violent and he appears to have been of dissolute habits. Consequently Monica's married life was far from being a happy one, more especially as Patritius's mother seems to have been of a like disposition with himself. There was of course a gulf between husband and wife; her almsdeeds and her habits of prayer annoyed him, but it is said that he always held her in a sort of reverence. Monica was not the only matron of Tagaste whose married life was unhappy, but, by her sweetness and patience, she was able to exercise a veritable apostolate amongst the wives and mothers of her native town; they knew that she suffered as they did, and her words and example had a proportionate effect.

Three children were born of this marriage, Augustine the eldest, Navigius the second, and a daughter, Perpetua. Monica had been unable to secure baptism for her children, and her grief was great when Augustine fell ill; in her distress she besought Patritius to allow him to be baptized; he agreed, but on the boy's recovery withdrew his consent. All Monica's anxiety now centred in Augustine; he was wayward and, as he himself tells us, lazy. He was sent to Madaura to school and Monica seems to have literally wrestled with God for the soul of her son. A great consolation was vouchsafed her in compensation perhaps for all that she was to experience through Augustine Patritius became a Christian. Meanwhile, Augustine had been sent to Carthage, to prosecute his studies, and here he fell into grievous sin. Patritius died very shortly after his reception into the Church and Monica resolved not to marry again. At Carthage Augustine had become a Manichean and when on his return home he ventilated certain heretical propositions she drove him away from her table, but a strange vision which she had urged her to recall him. It was at this time that she went to see a certain holy bishop, whose name is not given, but who consoled her with the now famous words, "the child of those tears shall never perish." There is no more pathetic story in the annals of the Saints than that of Monica pursuing her wayward son to Rome, wither he had gone by stealth; when she arrived he had already gone to Milan, but she followed him. Here she found St. Ambrose and through him she ultimately had the joy of seeing Augustine yield, after seventeen years of resistance. Mother and son spent six months of true peace at Cassiacum, after which time Augustine was baptized in the church of St. John the Baptist at Milan. Africa claimed them however, and they set out on their journey, stopping at Civit Vecchia and at Ostia. Here death overtook Monica and the finest pages of his "Confessions" were penned as the result of the emotion Augustine then experienced.

St. Monica was buried at Ostia, and at first seems to have been almost forgotten, though her body was removed during the sixth century to a hidden crypt in the church of St. Aureus. About the thirteenth century, however, the cult of St. Monica began to spread and a feast in her honour was kept on 4 May. In 1430 Martin V ordered the relics to be brought to Rome. Many miracles occurred on the way, and the cultus of St. Monica was definitely established. Later the Archbishop of Rouen, Cardinal d'Estouteville, built a church at Rome in honour of St. Augustine and deposited the relics of St. Monica in a chapel to the left of the high altar. The Office of St. Monica however does not seem to have found a place in the Roman Breviary before the sixteenth century.

In 1850 there was established at Notre Dame de Sion at Paris an Association of Christian mothers under the patronage of St. Monica; its object was mutual prayer for sons and husbands who had gone astray. This Association was in 1856 raised to the rank of an archconfraternity and spread rapidly over all the Catholic world, branches being established in Dublin, London, Liverpool, Sydney, and Buenos Aires. Eugenius IV had established a similar Confraternity long before.

Our History 

St. Monica Catholic School, located at the corner of Altona Rd. and Sheppard Ave./Twyn Rivers Dr., was built to address the needs of the growing community in West Pickering. It opened in 1987 at capacity, and an addition was built in 2003. This added a new staff room and a wing that presently holds the primary division; the office is where the previous staff room was located. Due to a growing community, a new Catholic school, St. Elizabeth Seton, opened in Northwest Pickering in 1995, and the boundaries of our school community were changed.

Enrolment has ranged from a high of 750+ students to where it stands now, at 388 students. Over 70 percent of our students are bused to school, due to our close proximity to the main railroad line and the large catchment area, which extends from Hwy 2 in the south into the Concessions beyond Taunton Road in the north.

Our school parish is Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, but many in our catchment area are registered parishioners at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church.

Parent Involvement
St. Monica has always had an open door policy towards the parent community. Hundreds of parents have volunteered over the years, especially in the Kindergarten and Primary classes.

The Parent Council has been very active over the years, assisting with school policies, religious events and school-leaving ceremonies, as well as huge fundraising ventures. The annual Spring Fun Fair was a big success for many years. St. Monica parents also ran community Bingo nights and held the first Krispy Kreme donut fundraiser in Canada, selling approximately 5,000 dozen! The dance-a-thons have been well organized and are extremely popular. In 2001, a 'Kiss n' Ride' program was implemented by a group of concerned parents and it is still running successfully.

Every year, the parents are recognized for all their efforts at a Parent Volunteer Tea, which is always well received. The annual Mother's Day Tea and Father's Day barbecues are a big hit every year as well.

Over the past 24 years, St. Monica has enjoyed many guest speakers for parents and students. Author Eric Wilson, City TV's Marilyn Smith, anti-bullying presentations and Boys Adrift are just a few of the memorable ones.

Drama/The Arts

Theatre productions have been a big part of this school. The students have entertained with many talent shows, Folk Dance Jamborees and skipping presentations. Our school has entered (and won) the Durham Region Choir Festival many times. The choirs have also performed at Regional Council meetings upon request.

In the past, the school has put on productions of Grease, The Wizard of Oz, Amahl and the Night Visitors, as well as The Nifty Fifties. In 2000, the Millennium Production had every student in the school participating, as did our Disney Showcase in 2005.

In 2011, St. Monica was excited to offer instrumental music to our Grade 7 and 8 students, and they were thrilled to perform at the Showcase of the Arts in May 2012.

Reading for the Love of It, an hour where everyone in the school reads alone or in small groups, has been enjoyed here for over 20 years, beginning in the early 1990s under the direction of our beloved librarian Jackie Johnston. School Book Fairs are held at least twice a year and are very well received.

Program Support

The Program Support department has always been a strong team at our school, under the leadership of a few very competent teachers. Over the years team has worked out of two portables, a port-a-pac room, the Health room, the girls' change room, the supply room, the French office and two different classrooms! The students have enjoyed many excursions, shopping trips, swimming, a special needs sewing club and life skills classes. Trips to the corner store and BBQs at the local park have been organized and enjoyed by the students and their committed educational assistants. St. Monica students have been involved in Fitness Friends since its very first year.

Parish Involvement

When it was first built, St. Monica was extremely lucky to be under the guardianship of our beloved Father Jack Culnan at Holy Redeemer Church. Through the years, the school and church have worked together to form a great bond. Starting in 1988, the students would act out the nativity scene every Christmas. Masses have been celebrated at the church and many times in the school gym over the years. Our school graduation/leaving ceremonies were celebrated at Holy Redeemer Church every June until 2005.

Many teachers have worked collaboratively with the church to enhance their classroom programs. Mike Hyland was known throughout the Pickering area for his class portrayal of The Washing of the Feet. Mary Ann Joseph's class always put together Passover Seder suppers, and every year Jerry Georgiadis's classes enjoy his Christmas Around the World unit.

The Knights of Columbus are known at St. Monica for their involvement at our School Kickoff Family Barbeque night and are a great help with pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. The annual K of C Free Throw Competition is an event enjoyed by all students in grades 4 to 8 every year.

Walking in the Light of Christ

The Rosary Apostolates arrive on a Wednesday morning every month to visit our classrooms and have always done a fantastic job of keeping the children involved. These volunteers have made their way to St. Monica for many, many years.

The St. Monica community has always been very generous towards our chosen charitable organizations. The students have participated in Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart since 1995. In 2007, they raised a whopping $13,119. The total amount brought in over the years is $120,949.60.

Our annual Terry Fox Walk has also been a popular fundraiser in the neighbourhood since 1997. The community has raised a total of $51,587 for this cause.

Other charitable organizations we have supported numerous times are Sleeping Children Around the World, Free the Children - Adopt a Village Program, Samaritan's Purse, Operation Christmas Child, Denise House Women's Shelter, Cornerstone Community Centre, St. Vincent Food Bank, Cure Foundation, Rose of Durham, and families in our own neighbourhood at Christmas.

A Citizenship Celebration at St. Monica

Mrs. Blanche Soans and her family were a few of the 31 people in the community sworn in as Canadian citizens at St. Monica Catholic School in November 1994. A number of trustees, principals of schools in Durham Region, and superintendents attended the celebration. Mrs. Soans was an English as a Second Language teacher at St. Monica at the time; as part of her role to promote "multiculturalism," she invited Judge Barosa to hold the ceremony and celebration at the school. Liz Jarrell, the principal, supported the entire event. Mrs. Soans still teaches at St. Monica today.

School Prayer 

Our school prayer is 

St Monica,
Help our school
To become a more loving community,
To show friendship as Jesus did.
Help us to live the way of the Lord,
To understand the power of God,
And to be kind to others in a peaceful way.
Pray that those who are challenged
Receive the courage and strength,
And others the insight to recognize
that challenge.
St. Monica, We ask for your prayers for our families,
Our friends, our homes, our school
And our staff.
St. Monica, pray for us.

Prière à Sainte Monica

Chère Sainte Monica,
Aidez notre école à devenir une communauté
Remplie d'amour et à montrer
L'amitié comme notre Seigneur Jésus l'a fait.
Aidez-nous à vivre l'enseignement de Jésus,
À comprendre la puissance de Dieu
Et à être gentils vers les autres
Dans une façon paisible.
Priez que ceux qui sont défiés de faire
Comme les autres qu'ils reçoivent le courage
Et la force, et que les autres reçoivent
L'aperçu de reconnaitre ce défi.
Sainte Monica, nous vous demandons
Vos prières pour nos familles, nos amis,
Nos foyers, notre école et pour nos professeurs.
Sainte Monica, priez pour nous.

Principals (Past and present) 

Past and present principals at our school include:

  • Alan Oerton (1987-1988)
  • Tim O'Connell (1989-1992)
  • Liz Jarrell (1992-1997)
  • Jamie Kettrick (1997-2001)
  • Catherine Hermans (2001-2006)
  • Michelle Langtaine (2006-2009)
  • Mike O'Neill (2009-2016)
  • Neil Boland (2016)
  • Jill Jacobson (2016 - 2017)
  • Lyn Wardle (2017 - 2022)
  • Chris Szent-Ivany (2022 - Present)

As Catholic educators, we live according to our Father's code and to lead our students, by example, to live the basic truths of the gospel message. This is an awesome, yet inspiring challenge which we share with the parents of our young men and women.

Children learn what they live. Each day we have the opportunity to teach our students:

  • to love by the way we love;
  • to be generous by our generosity;
  • to be passionate by our compassion; and
  • to be forgiving by the way we forgive.

However, a person cannot give what he or she does not have. Unless we are living the Gospel message, we cannot lead our students to do so.

There are many hallmarks of a Catholic educator, including:

  • Prayer - The challenges of our vocation, and indeed life in general, are great. To meet them we need to follow Christ's advice that we "ask the father in My name". Each Catholic educator has a duty to expose students to his or her particular style of prayer in order to assist students to recognize the value of prayer in daily life.
  • Eucharist - Parish, school, and staff liturgies provide opportunities to celebrate our faith. Our example can testify to the Eucharist as a joyful source of strength and community building.
  • Social Justice - This is the heart of the Christian message, that we "love one another as I have loved you". As our brother's and sister's keepers, we must be concerned about the aged, the poor, the oppressed, and any other marginalized group - both at home and abroad.

Below are links to resources to help you achieve success while at St. Monica Catholic School.

Contact Us

We welcome your questions, comments and concerns.

Principal: Chris Szent-Ivany
275 Twyn Rivers Dr
Pickering, ON  L1V 1E3
Phone: (905) 509-6691
Fax: (905) 509-5933

Follow us on Twitter @StMonicaCS