How is it possible that a being
With such sensitive jewels as eyes,
Such enchanted musical instrument as
The ears, and such a fabulous arabesque
Of nerves as the brain cannot experience God
In the events of one’s life and in history
Such as St. Mary’s?
If one of our present students stood before the huge building in which the school operates and wondered, ‘Where did it all begin?’ she would feel that money had poured in from all sides and that the school had become a reality running for six decades and more.
And yet a stirring story it really is! It speaks of a few brave women who obeyed the call of God and ventured into a neighbouring state, then under foreign rule, to set up a school. They succeeded in this almost impossible mission of theirs only because of their simple childlike trust in the One, to whose service they had dedicated their lives. As the story unfolds we see the hand of God making moves across the chessboard Mapusa 1947, with its small town community which had only Portuguese studies/learning because Goa was a Portuguese colony. The need for English education was strongly felt by many. And the chess players? – The Apostolic Carmel Congregation, Mangalore with women of grit that meet this need.
Accordingly then, on January 1, 1948 with the approval of the Patriarch through Fr. Barreto, the Vicar General in the absence of the Patriarch, in the reign of Mother Josephine, the Superior General, Srs. M. Mercedes, Augusta, Nympha and Ephigenia came to Mapusa to become the pioneers of the school. Their courage, their perseverance, their confidence in the future and their total faith in God laid the foundation. They were housed in a small house and the school functioned in a building called the ‘Boat House’ for a long time. Basic amenities were nil, not even water and very little money. Times were hard and sacrifices were many. Don Caetano Menezes had handed over the English medium school which he was running to the Canossian sisters who in turn handed it over to us with 130 students on roll. In June 1949 we had only 187 students on roll.
In 1950 we opened a boarding house with 6 boarders. On July 28,1950, the Directorate of Education from Portugal visited our school and was impressed by the good work done by our sisters. On the 25th of August 1950, the school got its recognition. In September 1950 we inaugurated the House system and had our first Parents’ Day which was a hit, making it a talk of the town.
In January 1952, the first batch of 14 students appeared for their Matriculation examination. In April that year we almost closed down the institution due to several reasons, the main being financial and difficulty of obtaining a loan to buy the land to build a school.
1953 was evenmore crirical as the house had already decided to close it down with immediate effect. This news having fallen on the ears of the public, a deputation of Messieurs C. Menezes, L. Mendonca, V. Pinto, J. paes, Dr. Jose D’Souza and a few other prominent personages from the town met the Superior General and Sr. Carola on January 18, 1953 and spoke about our work here in glowing terms and assured financial support which they said they could do through raising the fees, having a paying concert and fete. The closure was waived off for the moment.
By 1962 the no. of students increased to 308 and on the 6th of August we shifted to the old Lyceum Building (Municipality Building) through the kind intervention of Dr. Pinto Rosario, the President of the Municipality with ample space for students, Sisters and Boarders too. The rent was fixed at Rs. 400/- per month. In the same year Guiding and Bulbuls got started.
In 1972, Sisters had their own convent built on a small plot which was bought from Mr. Minguel Braganza by Mother Victoire much earlier during her Superiorship here. The school however continued running in the rented building till June 16, 1991.
In 1976-77 the no. of students in all increased to 1100.
In December 1978, we had a Panel Inspection of 8 members headed by Mr. D’Cruz. The panel was pleased with the school, its staff and students.
God who was probably more interested in the school building than we were provided us with property which came over as a gift to Sisters Carmela and Rosanne in the year 1985. He could not have been more gracious to us at this point of time. We then needed 48 lakhs to build the school on the property that was gifted to us.
In 1989, Sr. Marcilia as Principal and Sr. Thelma as Superior put up the huge present structure in a record breaking time of just two years. The foundation stone was blessed by Fr. A. Pais, the Parish Priest on 19th November. The inauguration of the new building was at 4 p.m. on 3rd June 1991. Kudos to both of them. That year the PTA was also formed. Sr. Marcilia’s courage, intelligence, determination, perseverance, grit and drive, faith and confidence in God should not go unrecorded.
In 1990-91 the Government of Goa wanted to convert all the primary school to Konkani medium. Only those with Konkani medium would get the Salary grant. Our Primary school thus became a Konkani medium school.
Between 1998 and 2000, the adjoining land was bought through the efforts of Sr. Christalina, the then Superior of the convent to provide the school with a playground. The entire cost was a warping 30 lakhs including the cost of the land, taxes and the leveling of the ground into a play ground. It was put up during the Principalship of Sr. Mariola.
The present Computer Lab which was planned by Sr. Flavia, the Principal just before Sr. Mariola with a set of coloured monitors was also set up in August 1998 making the school High Tech in a small way.
In 2002, we gave over our Tenancy Rights over the Boat House and we compensated with 2 ½ lakhs.
In 2003 we decide to buy land from the Municipality at the rate of Rs. 500/- per square metre in exchange of the Primary School Building which we asked to give up. In 2004 , we laid the foundation stone for the New Primary School Building
2004 the Boarding was closed done and June 2004 saw the shifting of the Kindergarten department from Deshprabhu’s building to the boarding house above Sisters’ quarters.
In 2005, for the first time in the history of the Institution, one of our Senior most Teachers Mrs. Lira was acting for the Principal, since the acting Principal Sr. Regina Greta was on 10 months leave.
In 2007 Sr. Namika took over from Teacher Lira and with the help of the PTA a false ceiling was put up in our school hall to make it more convenient for our students as it would get heated up due to the asbestos sheets roof.
In 2008 we got an audio visual room made so that our children could have better facilities. The BMX donated us with an LCD projector.
In 2010 Sr. Eunicia the Superior put up the Pre Primary School building and in June 2010 the Kindergarten department was shifted from the convent building.
In 2011 with the helped of the PTA the convent and school entrance ground were paved to give the school a neater appearance. We also had a full time security guard for the safety of the students and the students were given identity card. The ABE worked very hard to make our Primary school English medium and thanks to them from June 2011 we started functioning as a Primary English medium school and we will continue getting Salary Grants.
In 2012 we bought a drum set to show case the talents of our students and today we have a lively school band under the able guidance of our teacher Sir Cleophas.
In 2013 CCTV cameras were installed for better security around the school campus.
We continue to organize various programmes to encourage participation, motivate interest, channelize energy fruitfully and develop self esteem among students.
The school hopefully under the able guidance of the Headmistress and Staff will always have the good of the students at heart taking it from strength to greater strength.
Long Live St. Mary’s High School