Jaffna Holy Family Convent Past Pupils Association United Kingdom
Who we are
On the 8th of June 1861, Bishop Semeria received the joyful news that the Sisters belonging to the congregation of the Holy Family of Bordeaux, have been named for the mission in Ceylon. The six missionaries were selected: Three French Sisters: Marie Xavier Marchand, Marie Liguri Rojer, Marie Joseph Maroille,, two Irish: Marie Stanislaus Quinn, Marie Helen Winter, and one Dutch – Marie Therese Van Meur. These generous and valiant women surrendered themselves totally to God and their superiors.
In August 1862, they set sail from the shores of Marseille in France, the party consisting of the six sisters accompanied by the Bi shop and Priests. They arrived in Jaffna on Nov 2nd, 1862-the very first nuns to set foot on this island. Their aim with the aim of fostering the Christian formation of young girls, caring for the orphans and providing education to the youth.
Though they were welcomed with music and garlands their work was by no means easy. During their missionary endeavours these sisters had to encounter many deprivations, difficulties and opposition. Despite adverse climatic conditions, poor facilities, language difficulties and cultural barriers they carried on with immense courage – all for the Glory of God.
They had one advantage, however as there was already in existence a seminary for girls, founded by Mgr. Bettacchini and managed by an Irish lady named Mrs. Anne O’FIannagan. The nuns took over the responsibility of running this seminary, which was in a house near the rest house in Main Street. But as the establishment expanded and the nuns began to take in orphans, larger and more spacious premises were needed. So, the foundation for the new convent was laid by Bishop Semeria in the present location. It appears that the famous Tamarind Tree’ of the convent was even then in existence, and the land was known as Puliyadi Valavu. ‘
The New Convent was completed in I869. Holy Family Convent was the first girls’ school in the island to form the St. John’s Ambulance Cadet Division. It was at the time of the Second World War when air raid precautions and first aid were important.
The education imparted to the girls, besides giving them a good moral and religious formation, was chiefly aimed at giving them an all-round training, fitting them out to be good home – makers and equipping them with the social graces required in an elite society. But from 1930 onwards a new dimension emerged. There dawned a new era ushering in the age of the career girl. Many of the stalwarts who served on the staff were students of the 30’s.
Past pupils of proud Holy Family Convent Jaffna are now living and working all over the world, proud to be called the old girls of our dear Alma Mater. They have formed charity organisations around the world to continue to show the love, dedication and gratitude to our school by raising money year in year out to contribute to the consistent growth and development of the students.
Hence the birth of Jaffna Holy Family Past Pupils Association UK. We pledge to continue with the tradition and to support the school tirelessly to raise funds, to help our Alma Mater to enhance and improve the educational needs and experience of the sutdents.