The story of St. Margaret’s beginning can be told. Reverend John McLaughlin with the approval of Right Reverend Patrick Phelan, Bishop of Kingston, visited the Marianites of Holy Cross in Saint-Laurent and pleaded with the Foundress, Mother Mary of Seven Dolors who had come from Le Mans, France, in 1849, for sisters for his Parish. The Order had been established in Canada barely eight years. There were only three sisters available, but so ardently did the pastor plead that a new foundation, the fourth of Holy Cross in Canada, was decided.
On January 21, 1856, three Sisters M. of the Heart of Jesus, M. of St Joseph and M. of St Hilary – left St-Laurent for Alexandria accompanied by the Foundress in person. The trip was made by train to Lancaster, the nearest railroad station, thence by sleighs, mostly through forests on a cold stormy day with the thermometer registering 7 below zero. As the sleighs approached their destination, the sound of the church bell was carried across the frozen fields pealing out a joyous welcome to the sisters.
On the first of February, the sisters opened the school with twenty pupils present. It was a small building situated more than a mile from their residence, which meant long daily trips in the severe weather, but the hardships, generously accepted, brought great blessings on the foundation. Large numbers of girls in the years ahead would profit by the sisters’ zealous teaching.