St Mary’s, Young has a proud history that has seen significant changes, even in its recent history. The current St Mary's Primary School site was once St Anne’s Infants School. The original St Mary’s was located on the corner of Dundas St and the Olympic Way. It is now part of Hennessy Catholic College. St Joseph’s Infants School was opened in 1934 where the Parish Centre for St Mary's Church is now located. St Joseph’s then combined with St Anne’s in Elizabeth St to become one Infants school. In 1978 the amalgamation of all three schools to the St Anne’s site took place and the name St Mary's was chosen.
St Mary’s was founded by the Presentation Sisters in July 1886. The Presentation Sisters were founded in Ireland by Nano Nagle, whose vocation was to educate, both spiritually and academically, the poor children in the city of Dublin. Her drive and belief in what she was doing soon saw it spread to other cities. Nano also cared for the sick and was often seen visiting dwellings at night to offer comfort to those that were ill. She became known as
‘The Lady of the Lantern.’
Nano Nagle died on Monday, April 26th, 1974 and her fledgling congregation struggled to survive for many years with few new ladies joining the community. In 1791 the congregation was given Pontifical status and their name was changed from Sisters of Charitable Instruction to Sisters of Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Gradually the numbers of sisters grew and their work expanded well beyond Ireland.
The founding community at Young consisted of Sr Francis Hayes who was appointed to lead the new community. She was born in Victoria in 1858. Other founding sisters included Sr Madeline Crowe who was born in Wagga Wagga in 1862; Sr Alphonsus Burke who was born in Ireland in 1860; Sr Agnes Keane who was born in Albury in 1853 and Sr Rose Adkin.
Eight Presentation Sisters who taught in Young were also born in Young. They were:
- Fraces Dwyer
- De sales Long
- Bernadette Wilson
- Hilary Graham
- Joachim Keane (Beryl)
- Clare O’Reilly
- Helen O’Connell and
- Gabrielle Cass
There are five Presentation Sisters buried in the Young Cemetery.
- Xavier Egan
- Alphonsus Burke
- Agatha Collins
- Philomena Duffy and
- Agnes Keane
The last Presentation Primary Principal was Sr Marie Titterton who was involved in a car accident in 1990 which saw an end to her role at St Mary's. Since then the role of school principal has been undertaken by the lay staff which reflects the diminishing involvement of religious orders in schools.
The last Presentation Sister actively involved with St Mary’s was Sr Philomena Sewell as a parish assistant.