Re-dedicating the Glorious Past to a Radiant Future

By Sr. Molly Fernandes sfn

Anjuna - Goa, Jun 18 : The exuberance, energy and vigour of St. Michael’s Convent High School (SMCHS) dressed with the jerseys of SMCHS Diamond Jubilee Logo, at the rally was manifested on the countenance of the students, teachers and management on the streets of Anjuna –Vagator. Because it was ‘Re-dedicating the Glorious past to a Radiant future’!

Goa witnessed a dynamic star –‘a supernova’, when the Church in Goa was going through the dark ages in the person of Rev. Fr. Faustino de Souza, son of the soil, from Anjuna. who soon after being ordained a priest in April 1919, was posted as a chaplain at Duler-Mapusa, after serving as an assistant at Guirim Church. Within fifteen years of his ordination, the Lord through him did the daunting task of giving the Archdiocese of Goa, a Congregation of its own – Named Holy Family Sisters of Nazareth, on 16th June 1935. This day being the 87th Foundation day of the Congregation, to mark this day, a milestone within the milestone was unveiled.

After 27 years, Founder Fr. Faustino having opened houses in the South and Ilhas Talukas of Goa, opened a house in his own home town, Anjuna-Vagator, with the aim of providing Education for the villagers as there were no schools nearby. St. Michael’s Convent was founded on 3rd June, 1962. The school had its first admission done on 11th June 1962. 26th June three sisters and an inmate started to teach. On 7th July another teacher joined the school. The beginnings weren’t easy…, but the sisters never lost sight and vigour enthused by the Lord!

The sisters had to face a lot of difficulties, as they had nothing in the house including the furniture. Even water facilities were not available. When the school started the children were flocking for admission, so much so the Principal of Arpora got angry. The Patriarch and Fr. Antonio Athaide Lobo, who was in charge of schools in Goa settled the matter.

The sisters did not have a proper place to stay, they ran helter-skelter and finally the Vicar of Vagator handed over the keys of Dr. Albuquerque’s house to settle where they are residing till date.

Today as they look back, they count the blessings of the Lord and the wonders He worked through them in uplifting the people and the students of the village. The shackles of ignorance, yes, of those living on the fringes and the other vices! It was the Lord’s doing and the hard toil of the sisters to face the trials and walk against the current.

The place known for its rave parties and a hot destination for tourists besides the Big events like ‘Sunburn’, the Wednesday flea market and now the Saturdays market, the school attendance on Wednesdays was low. Today though the situation is different, the sisters trust in Divine Providence to protect the cream of the society from the alluring passions and enticements.

The school management toiled hard to keep the attendance by organising various activities and regular visits by the sisters. So too through the curriculum besides karate, music and dance classes, in the second half of the day. Today St. Michael’s Convent High School is a name earned through hard toil, dedication, passion and responsibility. That’s the power of the Lord working in the Teachers, Management, students and the support of parents and well wishers.

16th June 2022, saw ‘re-dedicating the glorious past to a radiant future’ on the glorious occasion of the Diamond Jubilee of the esteemed institution thanking God with a prayer service and prayer dance as the curtains were opened of the ceremony ‘Glorifying Supernova’ at the hands of different representatives of the Institution like Managers, Teachers, Students, Parents and the President of the Holy Family Educational Society Rev. Sr. Berna Rodrigues sfn.

The highlight of the day being the thanksgiving Eucharistic celebration con-celebrated by priests from the neighbouring parishes along with the main celebrant Rev. Fr. Joseph Tony Salema, the Manager of St. Xavier’s College, Mapusa.

Fr. Salema, connected the long six decades of the journey of sisters in this land as being in the sunshine through an anecdote…of a businessman who wanted to gift his wife a precious stone and goes to the shop and buys it though expensive but love counts no cost. It was all glowing and mesmerising. After coming home he wanted to give his wife the gift so he opened the box. But to his dismay, the stone was black! There was neither shine nor any glow. He went to sleep disturbed and next morning as soon as he got up he took the box to check again. And before opening he read what was written: "if you want the stone to glow, keep it in the sunlight".

So, Fr. Salema concluded: If the sisters here in the school, have glowed and rendered services, for the last six decades to the students, the villagers, made sacrifices, it is because they kept themselves in the sunlight. And that sunlight is Jesus. The Saviour and Redeemer who leads and guides them…

The choir enthralled the audience with melodious singing and at the end the theme song.

After mass everyone returned home having served themselves but the students, teachers and sisters warmed the streets of Anjuna-Vagator, donning the Diamond Jubilee Logo jerseys through a rally reminding the villagers of their glorious past and a radiant future ahead.


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