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Under the Management of
' The Daughters of the Cross '

now
 
 

"St. Helen's Secondary Boarding School", fondly hailed as a "Lovely Mountain Home", is a "Minority, Catholic Educational Institution", owned and administered by the Congregation of the Daughters of the Cross, under the Article 30(1) of the "Constitutions of India" primarily for children of Christian Minority: But other students are also admitted, irrespective of caste, creed, race or language, on merit, and according to the legal norms, pertaining to Educational Institutions of Minorities.

The Foundations Stone of " St. Helen's Secondary Boarding School " was laid in April, 1890. The School began with Twelve Boarders on 15th April, the same year Sister M. Winifred was the first Superior & Headmistress of the School. Mother Marie Provincial and also President of the School chose as the Patroness of this Educational Establishment, St. Helen, a British Princess, mother of the Great Constantine; and discoverer of Cross of Christ. The motto of the School is 'DIEU-ET-MON-DEVOIR': " GOD and MY DUTY ".

 

Historical Note:-

Two hundred years ago, a valiant woman, Jeanne Haze was born in Liege on February 28th 1782. Her early life was marred by The French Revolution. Her Father, worn out by anxiety and fatigue, died in exile. The Mother and daughters worked very hard for their existence, and struggled relentlessly to survive in that war-torn society.

But her acceptance of suffering, gradually ennobled her character. Years later, inflamed by the love of Christ, she founded the "Congregation of the Daughters of the Cross" on September 8th 1833. Jeanne Haze henceforth was known as Mother Marie Therese.

The aim of the Congregation is "To understand and to proclaim to others, "The Love of God" that has been revealed to us in the most striking way, in the passion and death of Jesus. Their response to this love, is to glorify and honour Christ, by loving and serving Him, above all, in his weakest and most suffering members."

The Congregation continues to spread, and to respond to the many needs of Society. Her daughters arrived at Kurseong in 1890.

In April 1890, the first School Building consisted of a rented house "Charleville",  situated above the Clarendon Hotel. A School with 12 pupils on the roll was established by the Provincial, Mother Marie with the help of other Sisters. They named the School St. Helen's School. By November 1890, the number of pupils had risen to 39, and it became evident that a larger building would be required. The Sisters bought a fairly large property "Helensborough" from the Jesuit Fathers of St. Mary's Seminary, in April 1891. In May 1891, a happy procession of 60 children and 6 Sisters, set out for their new abode, which was two miles away below the Railway Station, and considerably larger than Charleville. Nine happy years were spent on this site, and during the adolescent years of St. Helen's existence, high-spiritedness, simplicity, sincerity and earnestness in all their activities were the characteristics of this budding generation. The pupils were presented for the Government Middle School, and High School Examinations, and they did credit to the efficiency of the Teachers.

    The first Superior and Principal of St. Helen's School, Sister M. Winifred left for Europe on July 1st 1895, to recoup her health, but she was destined never to come back. She passed away in the year 1911.

    The breakout of Diphtheria in November 1896, and the great earthquake of June 1897, proved that a larger building and a more salubrious spot would have to be acquired. In this predicament, Mother Marie's greatness of soul asserted itself, and she went forward with a holy audacity. Several free-hold building sites were for sale, and Mother Marie eventually bought a large property, "Caledonia", on which the present day school stands. But to build a large Boarding School on a shapeless rocky mountain, was an appalling task. The whole mountain side had to be cut and borne away, and blasting of the hard rocks had to be resorted to, continually. All the heavy iron material had to be brought from Calcutta, 400 miles away. Mother Marie proved equal to every occasion, and, in February 1900, the Sisters made their entrance into St. Helen's at Caledonia. Consequently the School doors were opened on the 19th February 1900, to the overjoyed pupils and teachers, with Sister Marie Aimee as the new Superior.

And today, 116 years since its inception, St. Helen's Secondary School stands in all its glory, determined to maintain its glorious tradition. Jubilant songs of praise and thanks giving, fill the hearts of those who have lived through these years, with untold peace and happiness. Under the able guidance of the present Superior - Sr. M. Rufina, F.C., and the Principal - Sr. Dominica, F.C. there  is an enthusiastic resolve never to slacken the pace, and ever to be true, to the School Motto - "DIEU ET MON DEVOIR".

 

 
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