In 1924, two Marist fathers, Père Henri Gerard, S.M. and Père Louis LeBihan, S.M., founded Ecole Notre Dame des Victoires. Acting upon the encouragement of Archbishop Edward J. Hanna, they were eager to establish the school as a center of French culture – a Catholic school where students would learn French as well as English. The school, located at the site of the church for which it is named, opened on January 24, 1924 with a small enrollment.
Although Notre Dame des Victoires began with these fourteen students, the formal opening of the school took place on August 18, 1924 with an enrollment that had grown to 123 students. At this time, Sister Mary Charles Lirette, C.S.J. was appointed principal. She remained in that position until 1946. The school was entirely staffed for many years by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange (CSJ). Today, while sisters are no longer present; however, the all lay staff continues to embrace the CSJ charism through their participation in the CSJ Educational Network which promotes Catholic identity, fosters personal and professional excellence, reverences the dignity of all persons, and educates for justice.
In 1949, Père LeBihan, S.M. expanded the school to include five additional classrooms, a library, science laboratory, as well as a convent.
In May 2006, the church of Notre Dame des Victoires celebrated its one hundred fiftieth anniversary. The school now has an enrollment of approximately 300 students, drawn from the greater Bay Area and representing many diverse ethnic backgrounds.
Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange
The formal opening of Ecole Notre Dame des Victoires took place on August 18, 1924 with an enrollment of 123 students. At this time, Sister Mary Charles Lirette, C.S.J. was appointed principal and remained in that position until 1946. The school was entirely staffed for many years by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange (CSJ). Today, while the sisters are no longer present, NDV continues to embrace the CSJ charism through our membership in the CSJ Educational Network which promotes Catholic identity, fosters personal and professional excellence, reverences the dignity of all persons, and educates for justice.
Core Values of the CSJ Educational Network
- Catholic Identity – We support a curriculum and environment based on Scripture, tradition, the teachings and lived experience of the Catholic Church.
- Justice – We are called to participate in the mission of Jesus by reaching out to the global community and our earth with compassion and responsibility.
- Excellence – We foster personal and professional development, accountability, innovation, teamwork, and commitment to quality.
- Dignity – We live and work in a manner that is deeply respectful of the uniqueness and intrinsic value of each person.
Ecole Notre Dame des Victoires (NDV) is a Marist School of the North American Province of the Society of Mary. The Marist Fathers and Brothers at NDV are actively involved in the life of the school. With Mary as their model, Marists live compassionately and mercifully as the mother and first disciple of Jesus.
All Marists are engaged in the “Work of Mary” as understood by founder Jean-Claude Colin (1790-1875). In everything they do, they reflect Mary’s spirit. They strive to live the Gospel as Mary lived it; to think, judge, feel and act as Mary in all things. In an effort to strengthen our school’s identity with a more Marist way of being, NDV offers teachers, parents and students opportunities to deepen their understanding of Marist spirituality in a variety of ways:
- Teachers participate in meetings and workshops with other Marist Schools.
- Parents and staff are encouraged to attend gatherings on Marist Spirituality offered once a month at the NDV rectory.
- Students learn about Marist spirit throughout the year. Marist Week, once known as St. Peter Chanel week, is celebrated the last week of April. St. Peter Chanel was the first Marist martyr and an example of an individual who patterned his life after Mary.
- The school also has a chapel dedicated to St. Peter Chanel which is open to students throughout the school year.
- The annual Mission Carnival is held on the school playground in May. Proceeds are sent to St. Joseph’s, a Marist School, located in Raratonga, Fiji in the South Pacific.
More About NDV
Providing a rigorous academic program and nurturing environment, NDV has maintained its status as one of the most desirable elementary schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. Its dedicated faculty and its spirited school community draws students from every San Francisco neighborhood, as well as from nearby counties. NDV cultivates in its students a compassionate world view, a personal sense of purpose, and a joy of learning. It remains true to its mission to support the spiritual, intellectual, physical, emotional, and social development of each of its students as preparing them to matriculate to the top local high schools, both Catholic and independent and the most competitive universities throughout the country.
Nestled in San Francisco’s French Quarter, near the portals of Chinatown, and minutes from Union Square and Nob Hill, NDV offers its students an ideal location for cultural and historical enrichment. Its proximity and easy access to nearby museums, theaters, and landmark attractions provide a unique educational advantage to all students.
Remaining true to its French-Catholic heritage, NDV also recognizes the value of instilling in its students an appreciation of other cultures, as well as the acquisition of a second language. NDV enjoys the singular status of being the only Catholic elementary school in the San Francisco Archdiocese to offer daily instruction in the French language, Kindergarten through eighth grade. It is our belief that few skills will better prepare them to be active contributors to the world that awaits them. In addition to the study of French language and culture, NDV students enjoy ongoing interaction with the local French community.
Contact NDV School
Ecole Notre Dame des Victoires
659 Pine Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
Contact NDV Church
Eglise Notre Dame des Victoires
566 Bush Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
NDV is a member of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the Western Catholic Educational Association, the CSJ Educational Network, and the Society of Mary.