"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
and according to the legal norms, pertaining to Educational Institutions of
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
is 'DIEU-ET-MON-DEVOIR': " GOD and MY DUTY ".
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."
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.
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
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".