History of Matignon High School

Matignon High School is named for Boston's pioneer missionary priest Father Francis Anthony Matignon.  Born in Paris on November 10, 1753, Francis grew up in a family of means, affluent, refined and cultured he went to the best schools and received a scholarly education. Because of his academic ability, he entered the seminary and was ordained into the priesthood, and was eventually sent to the newly formed United States to serve as a missionary.

Received by Bishop John Carroll of the new See of Baltimore, Father Matignon worked alone serving the small Catholic population of Boston in 1792. By his zeal and charity, Catholicism saw a rebirth of fervor. During his early apostolate, he lived on Congress Street near what is now South Station.

One of Father Matignon's most ardent hopes was to establish a Catholic school in Boston. In a letter to Bishop Carroll, Father Matignon wrote:
"Our only affliction here is our inability to finance a Catholic school, which is indispensable to us."

At the time of his death, in 1818, his dream of building a Catholic school was yet to be realized.  In 1945, some 125 years after his initial service to the community of Boston, Matignon High School was founded by then Archbishop of Boston, Richard J. Cardinal Cushing. It was entrusted to the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, the CSJ and still to this day has a member of the order on staff. On a bright September morning in 1947, Sister Magdalena, a Sister of Saint Joseph, called classes to order and Matignon High School began its tradition of excellence, providing the students of metropolitan Boston and the surrounding communities a rigorous college preparatory education.

The current school building is as it was in 1947, though it has seen numerous renovations and reconfigurations. In recognition of its service to the North Cambridge community, Guyette Road was renamed to its present, Matignon Road. While the majority of the current student body comes to the school from local communities like Cambridge, Somerville and Arlington, enrollment represents over thirty cities and towns throughout Eastern Massachusetts and even southern New Hampshire.

At the official laying of the cornerstone on October 6, 1946, Cardinal Cushing offered the following prayer:

"May Matignon High School ever send forth from its doors, graduates, both young men and young women, so burning to imitate Father Matignon's many virtues and cultivate his great learning and be so filled with his ideals of service that no cry of human need, no syllable of spiritual striving will ever fall unheeded on their ears. Thus and only thus will this be a fitting memorial for Father Matignon."

Since 1947 Matignon has proudly served the Greater Boston region as one of the Archdiocese’s premier co-educational Catholic schools. A school known for its academics in the classroom and athletic prowess in the Catholic Central League, Matignon has a rich heritage and proud history. Over the course of close to six decades a lot has changed, but the love of learning and the proud traditions of the school remain the same.

Ever faithful to its founding principles, Matignon continues to provide to the current generation of students, many the sons and daughters of alumni, a community based and faith focused mission, a challenging academic curriculum and an extensive co-curricular program with opportunities for all students. Since its founding, Matignon has proudly produced great leaders in our community. Matignon today continues its tradition of excellence, providing the young men and women of metropolitan Boston and the northern suburbs a rigorous academic program of which any person connected with Matignon must be proud.

Father Matignon's Obituary