At the heart of the Saint Mary's School legacy is our rich Episcopal heritage, which informs our values, calls us to respect the dignity of every human being and strive for justice and peace among all people.
Since our founding in 1842, Saint Mary’s School has been an Episcopal school. The Saint Mary’s Chapel, a National Historic Site, is the center of the school’s spiritual life and community. As an Episcopal school, Saint Mary’s:
Celebrates God’s love for neighbor and for self
Saint Mary’s School affirms God’s love for all people and all of creation. Jesus says the greatest commandment is as follows:
Jesus said to [the lawyer], ‘“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40, New Revised Standard Version)
Our love from God and God’s love for us leads us to be a community of honor, integrity and service.
Values reason and education as a means of transformation
Since human intellect is a gift from God, Saint Mary’s values and seeks opportunities for growth both inside and outside the classroom. Academic discourse does not need to be explicitly “religious” in order to be formative in life giving ways to students of any or no particular religious affiliation. At the same time, all students take a religious studies course during their junior or senior year to provide opportunities to study religion or philosophy in a more focused way.
Upholds the value of worship as a way to come to know God
All students and their advisors gather in Chapel twice a week to worship through song, prayer, silence and reflection. Boarders also attend a Sunday night vespers service, to which all are invited. The chaplain, an Episcopal priest, and a student-led Vestry oversee these thirty minute services, which are based on the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer. As a wide variety of people speak during Chapel, a variety of perspectives are expressed, though all tend to affirm an understanding of something larger than ourselves. Chapel strives to gives students, faculty and staff time to consider what it means to be a child of God and a member of the SMS and global communities. Opportunities for small group study or worship are also available as options.
Strives to be inclusive and respectful
All who learn, teach and work here - Christian and non-Christian, Episcopalian and non-Episcopalian, those of any religious affiliation or no religious affiliation whatsoever - are respected and valued members of this community. Though the worship services are Christian, the experience is unique and different from a community organized around religious belief in that Chapel is meant to be welcoming and inclusive. In this increasingly small world, Saint Mary’s School is strengthened by considering a variety of viewpoints, which helps prepare young women for college and life.
For more information, please visit What are the qualities that distinguish a school as Episcopal? or Principles of Good Practice for Chapel and Worship in Episcopal Schools. Both websites are published by the National Association of Episcopal Schools, of which Saint Mary’s School is a member.
As an Episcopal school, Saint Mary’s School strives to offer opportunities that allow girls to consider themselves, our community, and the world from different perspectives. Through hearing how other students, faculty, staff, and community members make sense of their own lives, we are all informed and inspired.
As is our custom, Saint Mary’s School welcomes guests from the community in chapel each year. By welcoming many voices into chapel, Saint Mary’s School continues to more fully embody our identity as an Episcopal school, honoring and embracing difference.