Mount St Mary's celebrate 175 years of excellence

Mount St Mary's students
Mount St Mary's students

Mount St Mary's is gearing itself up for a year of special events to mark the 175th anniversary of the college’s founding by Fr Randal Lythgoe SJ.

Having already celebrated a 'Grand Academy Ball 175' at the end of May, which brought together 600 guests from all around the world, the formal start to the celebrations will be in September, with a solemn Mass.

The 'Demisemiseptcentennial' academic year will finish next summer with a special ball and a reunion of former students, or 'Old Mountaineers' as they are called.

175 years forming minds and hearts in the Jesuit tradition is a notable achievement, although Jesuits were teaching clandestinely in Derbyshire long before that, notably nearby in Stanley Grange, until the school was discovered and dispersed by the authorities.   With the dismantling of the penal laws and the beginning of a series of Catholic Relief acts, Catholics were first allowed to own land, join the army and inherit property.

Then in 1782, parliament passed an act to allow Catholic schools to be established. Mount St Mary's was duly founded in 1842.

Over its 175 years the school has formed many notable alumni, including Hugh Lofting, the author of the popular ‘Doctor Dolittle’ books.  According to Peter McArdle SJ, the alumni include over 350 ordained priests, most notably among them Aston Chichester SJ, who was to become the first Archbishop of Salisbury, now Harare, in Zimbabwe. Famously he died at the age of 83 of a heart attack on the steps of St Peter’s in Rome attending the Second Vatican Council.

For more information, here's a link to Mount St Mary's webpage.