Schools of the World
St. Joseph's Balika Kegalle, one of the leading girls' schools in the country, started in 1909

St. Joseph's Balika Kegalle

One of the leading schools in Sri Lanka, is celebrating it's golden anniversary in year 2009.

On December 18th 1908 at 9 o’clock in the morning the sisters destined for the mission left Galle escorted by Mother Tiburce.

This is taken from a letter written by Mother Tiburce :-

“We arrived at Polgahawela at 5 in the evening; Rev. Fr. Closet was waiting for us at the station. He installed us in a carriage drawn by two horses. The Catholics from Kegalle had sent the carriage decorated with flags and greenery. For as hour and a quarter we traveled along wonderful scenery to reach the place where the reception was to taken place.

The whole population of Kegalle and its surroundings was there. After giving us an exquisite bouquet of flowers the procession started. At the head twelve trained elephants, then followed a group of dances, a long line of carriages, the alter boys and the school children, boys girls with banners and baskets of flowers.

At the foot of the parish Church, His Grace Mgr. Van Reeth gave us his paternal blessing with some kind words of welcome. We mounted the 46 steps between two rows of curious onlookers. In front of the church raise our beautiful convent like a strong fortress. The convent is built in pavilion style. The center is the convent, around it the Sinhalees and English schools, the bordering is the orphanage.

After the ceremony in the church, we went to the boarder’s playground. There the dancers performed to the sounds of tom-tom. When the darkness put an end to their entertainment, the fir works began. It was so beautiful.

The solemn blessing of the convent took place on the following day. After the ceremony the Bishop, the Father and the Catholic notables assembled in the boarder’s large hall. There we were presented as a sign of welcome; a beautiful statue of St. Joseph’s which was already installed in the front piece of our house, a good bell for our chapel and a carriage for the use of our school or for special circumstance. The rest of the morning was spent giving large portion of rice, bananas and sugar to a large number of poor people.”

At its inception the school had only eight pupils. One of them is Mrs. Gunarathna. The Sisters began including their students, the intrinsic worth of moral values and good manners, while impacting to them the benefits of formal education in the English medium.

The number of students swelled with surprising rapidity and vicinity, the parents who wanted to give their daughters this type of education, consisted themselves extremely lucky for at that time such private schools were few and far between.

As the school gained wider recognition the demand arose for a school boarding. Once this was started students from far and near flocked to St. Joseph’s convent. Canon Van Rechem superior General of the Congregation visited Kegalle on 13th of January 1910 and installed Mother Christine as the first Mother Superior of the community of six Sisters at St. Joseph’s Convent, Kegalle.

1911 – 1925 Rev. Sr. Wilmer
Miss Hace

1925 – 1932 Rev. Sr. Angles

1932 – 1934 Rev. Sr. Lutgardis

1934 – 1939 Rev. Sr. Columba

1939 – 1945 (Many acting principals)

1945 – 1953 Rev. Sr. John of the Sacred Heart

1954 – 1965 Rev. Sr. Mary Paul

1965 – 1966 Mrs. Abesekara

1966 – 1970 Mrs. Wijesinghe

1971 – 1975 Mrs. A.G. Perera

1975 – 1982 Mrs. D.N. Liyanage

1983 – 1998 Miss Sheela Rathnayaka

1998 – 2001 Mrs. R.M.C.K. Athapattu

2001 – 2003 Mrs. G.G.S. Dassanayaka (Acting)

2003 – 2004 Mrs. W.M.W. Wickramasinghe

2004 – Now Mrs. R.M.C.K. Athapattu

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St. Joseph's Balika Kegalle, one of the leading girls' schools in the country, started in 1909 (Schools of the World)    -    Author : St. Joseph's Balika - Sri Lanka

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