Founder of Catholic Education in Central Alberta
On November 11, 1908, a petition was sent to the provincial minister of education to create a separate school district in North Red Deer. On January 8, 1909, the North Red Deer Roman Catholic School District #17 was formally established. The first board of trustees consisted of Father Voisin, Joseph Alex Martin and Aubert Wiart.
The Fathers of Ste. Marie de Tinchebray built a large presbytery, which would serve as a residence for the priests and as the administrative centre for their missionary work.
Father Henri Voisin, the head of the order, also persuaded the Filles de la Sagesse (Daughters of Wisdom) to build a convent, which would serve as a boarding school for the children of the community.
When classes started in 1909, there were 18 pupils. By the end of June, 27 pupils had registered. At the start of the next term, enrollment increased to more than 50.
One of the biggest attractions was the boarding accommodations that the Sisters offered. Particularly for many families from rural areas, this meant that there was a safe, supervised place where they could send their children to get an education.
By 1912, the student population had grown so much that a large three-storey addition was constructed on the west side of the Convent. Meanwhile, the Tinchebray priests had been operating a school for young boys at their presbytery on the North Hill. In 1914, a new building was constructed for that boys' school, northwest of the Convent. This became known as St. Mary's Apostolic College.