What’s in our Name?

How St. Francis of Assisi Church got its Name

When I started planning Forest Hill Village in the mid 50’s, I required access to Queen Street via Blueridge Avenue, and made a trade of land with the Kitchener Separate School Board, which resulted in an enlarged school site which could later accommodate a church. In 1956, when I started construction of houses on Blueridge Avenue, existing Catholic schools were some distance away. In an effort to have one constructed on the Blueridge /Gatewood site, I met with Sister Aloysia, Supervising Principal of the Kitchener Separate School Board, in an effort to convince her that a new school should be built. I explained that I had built 500 houses in Kitchener and Waterloo over the previous four years, and that, based on this output, the School Board should presume that a large number of homes would be built in Forest Hill during the next few years. Sister Aloysia agreed to make the survey of the number of existing and anticipated pupils in the area to ascertain whether a new school was warranted.

A few months later, I again called on Sister Aloysia and she informed me that her figures indicated a need for a school, and that she would recommend early construction.

I then questioned Sister as to whether any thought had been given to a name, and she advised me that none had been considered. I suggested that since Frank Kraemer had acted as long time secretary to the Kitchener Separate School Board, and since I had made a favourable trade of land with the Board, and I was constructing a large number of houses in the area, the name St. Francis of Assisi, my patron saint, might be considered. (Frank is a derivation of Francis.) Sister Aloysia thought this a good suggestion, and added that since Bishop Ryan’s second name was Francis, this might be an additional reason for recommending the name. At a subsequent meeting of the Board of Trustees, the name was approved.

So the school, which started in 1958, was named St. Francis of Assisi School, and when the parish was established in 1959, it was given the same name.

And that is the story of how St. Francis of Assisi Church got it’s name.

Submitted by Frank Voisin, February 19,1984