Ursuline schools began over 560 years ago. In the year 1535, the Order of St Ursula was founded by St Angela Merici, in Brescia, Northern Italy. St Angela saw her task as the formation of educated Christian women. She encouraged her sisters in faith, and St Ursula’s School is one of the wonders brought by such faith, effort and confidence.
The history of the Ursuline’s is one of pioneering and adventure – they were the first female teaching order to venture out into the New World, as missionaries. Today there are Ursuline schools in 26 countries all over the world, which means that we are part of an international community of private, Catholic schools.
In 1895, the first group of six Ursuline sisters from Sittard, Holland, arrived in Mozambique. They made their way to Barbeton where they started a school, with great success.
In 1902 a second group left Sittard. They started an additional private Catholic school in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, which flourished. Continual requests were made to open an Ursuline school in the small mining and farming town of Krugersdorp, on the West Rand.
In 1903 circumstances made it possible for the sisters to buy 13 acres of land in Krugersdorp North, and this is where St Ursula’s School stands today. The property consisted of an old farmhouse standing on uncultivated veld and was purchased for 7500,00.
St Ursula’s School opened on the 9th February 1904, with five boarders and 12 day scholars.
St Ursula’s School offers an Ursuline education that is rooted in a tradition of formation and innovation which dates back to 1535, when St Angela Merici founded the Ursuline Sisters in Brescia, Italy.
Inspired by the call of the Gospel and challenged by the needs around her, Angela reached out in service and love to rich and poor alike. A true educator, she sought to “draw out” the giftedness and potential in each person. Her writings offer a philosophy of formation and education which is personal, attuned to the needs and situation of each individual, and committed to equity and to the promotion of self-discipline through encouragement rather than compulsion, and all of this in an atmosphere of unity, mutual love, and respect.
Ursuline Sisters and their collaborators in ministry continue this approach to a Catholic education and formation, which draws its life and vision from St Angela’s spirit and philosophy. Ursuline education at St Ursula’s School is rooted in the following core values:
- Education for Excellence.
- Respect for the Uniqueness of the Individual.
- Development of the Whole Person.
- Development of Community/Family Spirit.
- SERVIAM – “I WILL SERVE”
Sing we a song of service,
honour and truth and praise,
Ours is a royal watchword, ours will be loyal ways,
Bright as the badge we carry, gemmed with the guiding stars.
And ‘neath the cross’s banner,
The claim to service ours.
Eyes on the stars that beckon,
Travelling the roads that climb,
We’ll only stoop to offer a helping hand in time,
So those who on life’s journey, the path with us have trod,
Can say we kept our watchword,
Our Serviam for God.
*Sir Michael Edgar*
Our Serviam Badge
The Serviam Badge bears a field of silver stars against a green background which, in heraldic language, signifies the heights to which we must always aspire. The constellation of stars is that of Ursu Minor or the Little Bear.
Ursu Minor recalls the name St Ursula, patroness of learning and education, and our patroness. Ursu Minor points towards the Pole Star, the star towards which travellers looked for direction.
St Ursula challenges us to make every effort to reach our Pole Star, Christ. The cross calls us to be faithful to the teachings and principles of Christ, while the colour green signifies vitality and growth. The motto “Serviam” means “I will serve”. We serve both God and our fellow human beings.