St. Mary's Convent High School is under the management of the sisters of the Congregation of Jesus, founded by Mother Mary Ward - an English lady, in the 17th century. The sisters of this Congregation started working in Patna in 1853. The then superior of St.Joseph's Convent Patna, Mother Salesia Reiner, planned a foundation in Nainital to help the sisters whose health had suffered hazardously from the heat of the plains.
Nainital was the summer capital of the North Western Provinces and during the summer months was frequented by tourists as well as civil and military officials. The presence of the sisters solved the problem of education for both the local people and the regular visitors. After overcoming the initial difficulties, a team of 8 sisters started a school with a few day-scholars in the month of May 1878. By the close of 1878 the school had 40 boarders and a number of day-scholars. The sisters taught scholastic subjects in the school as well as fine arts and languages.
During the formative weeks, Mother Salesia realized the necessity of buying an estate where a convent and school could be built. Eventually her search led her to Ramsay Park, the property of Sir Henry Ramsay, the commissioner of Kumaon. She recognised the place as the one she had seen in a dream while still at Patna and immediately requested an interview with Sir Ramsay and concluded negotiations for its purchase. On 4th January 1879, the sisters moved into the newly acquired estate. Concomitanly, a chapel was set up, but it soon proved too small and on the 2nd of February 1880, the foundation stone of the present church was laid.
The estate Ramsay Park is now known as Ramnee Park and the school is also popularly known as Ramnee School. The name Ramnee is a corruption of Ramsay, as the servants working on the estate, unable to pronounce the name correctly, called Sir Ramsay, 'Ramnee Sahib'. This name was also attached to the estate, which continues to be called Ramnee Park to the present day. The bungalow and the cottage were far too small for the steadily increasing number of boarders and Mother Salesia was determined to build a school to house two hundred boarders. The project was aided by friends and benefactors, both in India and abroad. Eleven years after the sisters arrived in Nainital, on the 12th of May, 1889 the vision was realized and the school was solemnly blessed by the Bishop of Allahabad, in the presence of the nuns, many priests and a great number of well wishers.
Today, the school caters to the education and all round development of about 1100 girl students from all walks of life – irrespective of caste, creed and religion. St. Mary's Convent High School, Nainital belongs to the Delhi Province of the Congregation of Jesus (CJ).