Our Story

School Crest
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The crest designed and adapted for Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School combines both the symbols of its honorary patron, His Excellency Bishop J.F. Ryan, after whom the school is named, and of education, the purpose of the school.

Surmounting the school crest is a cross symbolizing Christ the King. To Him we pledge our allegiance as Catholic students.

In the dexterchief of the shield are the personal insignia of our Bishop's patron saint, St. Joseph. They are the lilies and the carpenter's square. Below these is a maple leaf for Ontario and Canada.

In the sinisterchief is an open book indicative of the search for knowledge and wisdom. The olive leaves beneath the book promise success and achievement through education. Below is the griffin, a mythical animal, which symbolizes great strength and vigilance.

From the very beginning, the school motto, rallying cry, saying and song have highlighted the Celtic spirit for which BR has been known throughout its history.


School Motto
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Virtus et Scientia

The original and official motto of the school, "Virtus et Scientia" or "Virtue and Knowledge", is adapted from the maxim of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. It serves as the guiding principle of these Sisters who are in charge of Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School and who offer it as an appropriate lodestar to their students.

Where Faith, Pride and Effort Promote Excellence

The school's "tagline" or sub-motto, "Where faith, pride and effort promote excellence", was the saying promoted by Mr. Ross Ferguson, guidance teacher and coach, and was placed over the entrance of the original Bishop Ryan site at 166 Queenston Road. This saying has become the de facto motto of the modern school.


Rallying Cry
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"WE ARE BR!" became Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School's rallying cry under our fourth principal, Mr. Peter Narduzzi (1984-85). The creation of this cheer is popularly attributed to John Pusztay, the Student Council President of the day and a long time teacher and school administrator with the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board.

The "We are BR" cheer is typically said three times successively.


School Song
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Walk into the building everyone is dressed,
Green and White’s the colour,
Better than the rest.
Students to the left, teachers to the right,
Faith, Pride and Effort, makes our future bright.


Rocking in the music room, jamming on the stage,
The voices of Xpression keeping us awake.
Wrestling on the mats, going for the gold,
Football, soccer, basketball, we’re never growing old.


Believing, Achieving, and always succeeding,
and loving, and praying and serving each other,
Cause we are a family who’s living every day,
In a Christ-like Way.

Repeat Chorus


Composed and written by: Mr. Tabone, Karli Bortolotto, and Nancy Vincic May 2013


A History of Our School
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Bishop Ryan High School was built to ease the overcrowding of existing separate secondary schools, and was to serve students from St. Eugene's, St. Helen's, St. John's, Holy Family, Blessed Sacrament, St. Margaret Mary's, St. Francis Xavier, and those from Fruitland, Winona and Elfrida. The first sod was turned April 21, 1958, with Bishop Joseph Ryan officiating; the corner-stone was laid on October 3, at 3 p.m. Until the official opening on April 16, 1959, grade nine classes for 166 students were held using five classrooms and a transformed gym at St. Eugene's School, and there was also a shift system. The first staff consisted of the following members: Sister Mary Joan Boyer (Principal) Sister M. Raphael Arnold Sister M. Clarice Missere Sister Frances Cabrini (Gamma Golino) Mr. Geraid E. Ward Miss Sandra Agro.

The capital outlay for the new school was in the neighbourhood of $1,000,000, and the building was erected on Queenston Road. in an astonishing eleven months. Constructed to be efficient, with low-cost maintenance, the school featured many innovative aspects: there was no plaster used, but prefabricated concrete slabs; the Senior Science Labs had the teacher's table at the width end of the room, so the instructor could be closer to the students and readily view their work at a glance; the heating system was arranged so that clean, fresh air was brought into the building through two penthouses, was tempered, heated, and distributed throughout the building, while the old air was dispelled by means of grills in the doors leading to the corridors, from which the air was suctioned to the outside; also there was unique radiant heating in the basement floor and the gymnasium.old BR photo

The new school had twenty-three classrooms, four Science laboratories (two junior, two senior), a chapel, library, nurse's room, gymnasium with sliding sectional door, and cafeteria, a bookstore, guidance room and three teachers' rooms.

In light of the school's more recent history of over-population, a newspaper clipping which stated that the school "will expand gradually until the eventual target of 800 students is reached" proved to be very conservative indeed. The demand for Catholic Secondary education broke all expectations and Bishop Ryan has been a veritable fortress in meeting the need.

(And then we moved to Albright Rd. in 1990-91...)


A History of Our Principals
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Many superb nuns, priests and lay men and women have led Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School as Principal since its inception in 1958. These leaders were often responsible for Bishop Ryan's continued existence in the midst of funding for Catholic Education in Ontario and helped the school to flourish in times of strength. Below is the list of Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School Principals:

Sister Mary Joan Boyer, 1958-1962
Father R.J. Cote, 1962-1975
Jack Curtis, 1975-1984
Peter Narduzzi, 1984-1985
Ray Griffiths, 1985-1987
Theresa Mazza, 1987-1992 and 1997-2001
Larry Scholes, 1992-1997
Lou Friscolanti, 2001-2007
Hermon Mayers, 2007-2014
Emidio Piccioni, 2014-2019
Michael Lawlor, 2019 - present




Bishop J. F. Ryan
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Bishop Joseph Francis Ryan

Born: March 1, 1897
Died: March 22, 1990

Our Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School Community considers it a great honour and privilege to be named after Bishop Joseph Francis Ryan, the sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Hamilton.

According to Father Ron Cote, "Bishop Ryan was a champion of Catholic Education. He especially believed that Catholic High Schools could prepare strong Catholic Leaders for society and for the Church." Bishop Emeritus Anthony Tonnos has stated that, “Bishop Ryan was a native son of Hamilton, an exceptional priest and bishop. There is not a Catholic in our diocese who has not been touched in some way by his foresight and strong leadership during years of great growth and change in the church. His devotion to Catholic education and to the poor, the needy and the unborn and elderly was his great gift to the Church and to all the people of our diocese, our province, and all of Canada.”


Bishop Joseph Francis Ryan was born in Dundas, Ontario, on March 1, 1897. His Irish family then moved to Hamilton, where he was educated at St. Mary's Elementary School. He later attended St. Jerome's College in Kitchener and St. Augustine's Seminary in Toronto. Bishop Ryan was ordained a priest in Hamilton on May 21, 1921, by Bishop Thomas J. Dowling. Shortly after being assigned to his home parish of St. Mary's Cathedral in Hamilton, he was appointed rector in 1925. In 1926, he went to Rome for two years of study in Canon Law and when he returned in 1928, he began to serve as secretary to Bishop Thomas McNally and as the Chancellor of the Diocese of Hamilton. When the new Cathedral of Christ the King was opened in 1933, he was named its first rector, and in 1937 was named a monsignor. When Bishop McNally was appointed Archbishop of Halifax, Bishop Ryan succeeded him as Bishop of the Hamilton Diocese on October 19, 1937. On that day, his consecration took place in the Cathedral of Christ the King.


The dominant characteristic of Bishop Ryan's long as the Bishop of the Diocese Hamilton was growth.
• Rapid population growth in Canada during his time as bishop required him to open more than fifty new parishes, doubling the existing number. Twelve of these were created to serve various ethnic groups who had arrived from eastern and southern Europe.
• Bishop Ryan devoted a considerable amount of time and much of the diocese's resources to promoting Catholic education. He expanded high school education throughout the diocese, created many new elementary schools, and helped to upgrade the status of St. Jerome's College in Waterloo to that of a degree-granting institution. He organized major fund-raising drives for Catholic High Schools in 1953 and 1959.
• He promoted and organized the Catholic Youth Organization in the Diocese of Hamilton, and opened a summer camp in Rockwood, near Guelph.
• In 1953, he established the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Hamilton-Wentworth.
• In 1961, he encouraged and assisted the St. Vincent de Paul Society in bringing the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd into the diocese. He was also active in mission work overseas and in 1964 established the Missionary

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 Co-operative plan to financially assist the work of the Church overseas.
• Bishop Ryan possessed a deep love for the Blessed Mother. One manifestation of this devotion was the annual Marian Day Rally, which continued for twenty-five years.

• Bishop Ryan attended all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council and skillfully guided the Diocese of Hamilton through the period of change that followed.
• Bishop Ryan generously responded to the appeals by Popes John XXIII and Paul VI for North American bishops to assist the Church in Latin America. A diocesan mission was established in Teculutan, Guatemala in 1963.



Once Bishop Ryan submitted his resignation as Bishop of Hamilton on March 27th, 1973, he returned to live in residence at his home parish of St. Mary's in Hamilton. He celebrated Mass there and became a familiar figure to many on his daily afternoon walk through his old neighbourhood. He passed away on March 22, 1990 at the age of ninety-three. His funeral was celebrated at the Cathedral of Christ the King on Tuesday, March 27th, 1990. This was an absolutely beautiful service attended by a delegation of Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School students. It was a beautiful tribute to a great man, and, in the words of Father Ron Cote, “May he rest in peace, and may his dreams continue to be realized in a special way within the walls of Bishop Ryan High School.”

Sources: Diocese of Hamilton.


Bishop Ryan Students' Prayers
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Ask, Seek, Knock

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you wi ll find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7)

Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School Prayer
By Miranda Cardinali, 2014

Lord God,
You are the true teacher of truth, love and wisdom.
Enlighten and guide us so we can achieve excellence through faith, pride, and effort in our academic, athletic, and co-curricular activities.
Enable all of us to learn and work to our full potential for Your glory.
Teach us to respect the dignity of one another while living the message taught to us by Your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Let us grow in wisdom and reflect Your Divine image in all we do here on earth.
Bless this school and all those who pass through the halls of learning.
May Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School always be a home of truth, wisdom, faith, and good will towards all, helping to build our inclusive school community.
Let us strive to be outstanding Catholic leaders like our patron Bishop J.F. Ryan,
so we too can reflect Your light and love for one another.
We ask this in Your name, our Lord,