Sunday, 20 October 2019

Loreto House - a Heitage school of Kolkata - first mission in SE Asia - early colonial period

In January 2017  Loreto  House, a group of heritage schools based in Kolkata, WB celebrated 175 years of excellent services to the society.  The grand ceremony was marked by a 'legacy walk'  from the Muhammadan Sporting club to the Middleton House  and later to the Governor's residence. About 2000 women participated in the long walk  and the West Bengal Governor  welcomed the gathering and their long march. He recalled the  spirit  and dedication of those nuns who established one of the finest institutions in India 175 years ago with one thing on mind - education and dedicated public services.  The Loreto nuns set the mission out side their home ground Ireland. Concerned about the education of  women from the Catholic community Chaplain Dr. Bakhaus made a trip to to Loreto Abbey, Rathfarnham, Ireland  to bring the Loreto nuns to start a mission in Calcutta (Kolkata) to engage them in quality school education. A team of 7 nuns and 5 postulants all in their 20s landed in Babughat, Kolkata on  29 Dec. 1841 led by Mother Theresa Ball and Mother Delphine Hart  with a distinct mission. They sailed from Dublin on first of Sept, 1841 on a ship named Scotia.
Loreto House, Kolkata youtube.com
Loreto House was established in  January 1842 in Calcutta, by the Sisters of Loreto belonging to the institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the beginning, they had 60 students. As part of the mission, some nuns visited the Portuguese Church in Moorgihata to  teach  poor children in that area. Thus came into being the first Loreto  Foundation in SE Asia.  The school instilled discipline and  devotion to duty for which the Lorato schools became famous. 
Lorato House, Kolkata, WBen.wikipedia.org/

Lorato House, main entrance, Kolkata tutorialathome.in
Loreto House Middleton Row, a nice 3-storey building  became the home of these nuns and it was the garden house of the Gov. General who was kind enough to allow the nuns to stay there and start the mission.  Besides famous occupants of this house, the  second Anglican Bishop of Calcutta, Bishop Reginald Heber stayed here after 1820s. Unfortunately, he died  on 3 April 1926 on a visit to Tiruchirapalli town, Tamil Nadu. A house for students was opened by Loreto in  2006 in this place, now a big city. The one in Kolkata is  the oldest and the first Loreto institution to be established in India, besides, it  was one of the few all-girls Catholic schools of that time. The old Loreto House was demolished between 1958  and 1961 as it became unsafe for occupation  and the present building on campus is part of the old one.

The early students  were taught at a house where nuns resided under Mother Delphine Hart, assisted by Sr. Teresa Mons and Sr. Martina McCann. The School was initially established for the education of Catholic girls. However, it has long admitted students of many religions 

 Tit-bits:
Siister Mary Ward, founder  Loreto mission,
Founded in Saint-Omer by a dynamic  English woman, Mary Ward, in 1609, the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary consists of members  who are  commonly known as the  ''Loreto Sisters''. It is  a Roman Catholic religious congregation of women dedicated to quality education and their dictum is 'discipline and devotion to duty'.  The congregation  adopts its name from the Marian shrine at Loreto in Italy where  Mary Ward used to pray.  It was  on 19 December 2009, Ward was declared Venerable by Pope Benedict XVI.  The Loreto Sisters use the initials I.B.V.M. after their names.

Today the congregation is engaged in a wide variety of new ministries, catering to the needs of the society. Activities include: literacy programs, spiritual education, counseling, managing shelters for homeless women, etc. Being active across the globe, the Loreto Sisters operate some 150 schools imparting education to over 70,000 pupils irrespective of creed, religion, etc.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loreto_Houseious beliefs.
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/kolkata-loreto-celebrates-175-yrs-of-excellence/articleshow/56408588.cms