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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

125 years of Convent of Jesus & Mary Lahore. (2001-14)

Drawing inspiration from the Foundress of the Sisters of the congregation of Jesus and Mary, Saint Claudine Thevenet, who said, "Let us so form these children that they may be regarded as a blessing in every house they enter", the Convent of Jesus and Mary started serving the cause of education in the city of Lahore in November 1876 in the Anarkali district south of the city wall. The School received official recognition in 1881, but by 1913 due to the congestion of the area and the fear of its being completely enclosed by the Bazaar, the property was sold to the Government and a site on Durand Road was chosen for the new building. Its healthy situation on Durand Road, spacious playing fields, wide and airy classrooms and homely atmosphere, drew greater numbers every year. After the Independence in 1947 the number of pupils greatly increased. In 1956 it was decided to open an Urdu Medium School to relieve the plight of many poor Christians and Muslims in the area who couldn't afford any education. A modest beginning was made with two rooms erected at the end of the school compound, facing Habibuilah Road, Fatima Urdu Medium School for girls began in this way with nine pupils. Fourteen years later a fine nine room building with classes from KG to Matriculation was built. Now it has about 500 pupils.

As the number increased of children seeking admissions increased, it proved difficult to provide better facilities in view of the Congregation's policy of self- support within the country and consequently no foreign aid. Government grants were hard to come by, so when the Parent Teacher Association was formed in 1968, one of its first aims was to improve and extend existing facilities and provide new ones. The Management was keenly interested in providing better science facilities, as well as training in Housecraft and Home Economics for the pupils - the future mothers of Pakistan. So with generous contributions by the parents and doubling of the funds by the Saigol family the science and domestic science block was opened on 7th November 1970. In 1976 the school celebrated its centenary in educating the youth of Lahore. In January 1998 it was decided to include, among the educational services, a centre for children with special needs. The Centre started in some spare rooms at the back of the Mariam Hall on February 3rd 1999. On July 22nd 1999 construction of Thevenet Center began, and it was officially opened on February 3rd, 2000. The aim of the center is to provide services that enable these children to realize their fullest potential and live the most independent lives possible. It now has about 50 pupils. Now in 2001 the school is celebrating its 125th year of educating the youth of Lahore. Date of Issue (November 15, 2001)