Mother Ignatius (Elizabeth) McQuoin, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy North Sydney, arrived in Sydney from Liverpool, England on 15 November 1865. She quickly established a school at St Patricks, Church Hill and began carrying on the work of Mercy.
In 1873, Mother Ignatius moved some Sisters to a cottage she rented on the corner of West and Carlow Streets – the first site of the College. On 1 April 1879 the College moved to its present site, to the house called Masalou previously owned by the Hon Francis Lord MLA and bought on behalf of the Sisters by George Whiting. The name was changed to Monte Sant’ Angelo. Mother Ignatius guided the College until her death in 1893.
1895-1912 was the golden age of the arts at Monte – art, needlework and music. Other subjects – English, Arithmetic, History and Geography, prepared girls for the life of the ordinary woman of the day. The main purpose of the College has not changed from that day to this: “to develop those qualities of mind and heart which would enable them to take their part in the world as truly Christian women.”
In 1912 Sister Ambrose Geary arrived as Principal, to set Monte on the path of academic achievement. She updated the old patterns and developed a more contemporary style. The twentieth century rolled on and Sister Clement Flanagan arrived at Monte in 1922 to foster the pursuit of academic excellence and sporting achievements. Monte continued to grow and in 1939 the Middle School block was added to the buildings of 1906.
Sister Baptista Rankin replaced Sister Clement as Principal in 1946 and faced the challenges of post-war education: the need for even more specialised accommodation for students who received the benefits of an ever-widening curriculum. By the mid-1950s Monte was well on the road to becoming a major force in Sydney education.
In 1973 Sister Maureen McGuirk AM became Principal and over the next 21 years continued the expansion of the curriculum and the updating of facilities and undertook a building program that has benefited the College community greatly.
Sister Sharon Price (1994-1999) continued the development of the College and was the last Sister of Mercy to lead the College. She was responsible for the establishment of the College Board, the Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College Foundation and Board of Directors and for the readiness of the College for transition to lay leadership.
Mrs Beverley Johnson (2000-2003) was the first lay Principal appointed by the College Board and the Trustees of the Sisters of Mercy. Under her leadership the College moved forward with innovative emphasis on teaching and learning and the integration of Information Communication Technologies to facilitate and enhance curriculum delivery.
Ms Catherine Alcock (2004 - 2014) came to the College with a philosophy of academic excellence. Under her leadership, the College introduced the Middle Years and Diploma Programmes of the International Baccalaureate.