Our Founder – Monsignor ‘Père’ Athol Murray

Monsignor 'Père' Athol MurrayNotre Dame College rose out of the prairies to become the institution it is today because of Monsignor Athol Murray’s determination, intelligence, high ideals, and above all, his unwaivering belief in God and the primacy of the spiritual.

Born January 9, 1892 in Toronto, Athol Murray (better known as Père, or Father) was educated in the classics and the liberal arts at Montreal’s Loyola College, Toronto’s St. Michael’s College, St. Hyacinthe College in Quebec and Laval University. While studying law at Toronto’s Osgoode Hall, he read the words of St. Augustine of Hippo:

“To him who does what in him lies, God will not deny His grace.”

These words impacted his entire life. He entered Toronto’s St. Augustine’s Seminary, was ordained in 1918 and sent to Regina in 1922 “on loan” from the Diocese of Toronto. One of Murray’s first acts was to start an athletic club for boys. When he was appointed to St. Augustine parish in Wilcox, Saskatchewan in 1927, 15 boys followed him – the original Hounds. Through Père Murray’s teachings and coaching, youths learned life-altering lessons, spiritually, academically and athletically. Taught in the disciplines of the liberal arts, Père believed in building young minds through teaching the classics; constantly challenging his students’ intellect and feeding them a steady spiritual diet. His goal was for Notre Dame students to be able to apply their keen minds and steadfast characters to whatever they wished to master. Murray authored the motto for Notre Dame:

“Luctor et Emergo” — Struggle and Emerge.”

The Order of Canada, our country’s highest honour, was bestowed upon Père Murray in 1968. He was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1972. On November 16, 1998, Father Athol Murray was posthumously inducted into the Hockey Hall Fame in Toronto, Ontario.