The school is under the patronage of Saint Francis de Sales – “The measure of love to love without measure”
The first Saint Francis de Sales School was opened by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart in Avon Street in Island Bay in 1905. Since that time there have been changes, including the naming of the school and its location.
In 1926 the school moved to a new site and the name changed to Saint Madeline Sophie in honour of the founder of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart.
During the 1960’s the school grew so large that it became necessary to relocate the junior classes to the school buildings at the Home of Compassion.
The school continued to be run by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart until 1979 when the first lay principal was appointed.
Integration with state system took place in 1983. The existing buildings were considered inadequate and plans were drawn up for a new school that would accommodate all students on one site. The new school, with eight classes, was built on the present Mersey Street site. As it was now next to the parish church it was decided to rename the school Saint Francis de Sales and in January 1985 the new school was officially opened.
In recent years the school has continued to grow. Additional classrooms have been built and the administration area has been upgraded.
The school that opened over one hundred years ago with a roll of nine students now has a roll that is capped at 290 with places for fifteen non-preference students.
As an Integrated school Saint Francis de Sales has its own Special Character, which must be understood and valued by all who join its community. This character is defined in terms of the school being a Catholic School.