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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Centenary Celebration of Presentation Convent School, Rawalpindi - (1895 - 1995) (1995-13)

On September 8,1895 the first Presentation Convent School in the Punjab was opened by 3 Irish Sisters and three pupils were enrolled that day. Today, in Pakistan there are many branches of this school catering for the educational needs of a total of thirteen thousand children, approximately, rich and poor alike, in Urdu and English-medium schools. These schools managed by Pakistani and Irish Sisters are under the administration of the original Rawalpindi school.
Their aim is to enable each individual to become aware of the dignity and value of each person and the interdependence of the human race. They have therefore a vital role to play in community and nation-building. There are Presentation schools in Rawalpindi, Murree, Jhelum, Sargodha, Chak 59 MB. (Khushab Distt.), Wah, Peshawar, Risalpur, Mingora (Swat) and in Sindh.
The Presentation Convent Schools of Pakistan had their origin and inspiration in the Ireland of the 18th Century where the first Presentation Convent was founded by an Irish lady, Nano Nagle in 1775. The eighteenth century was Ireland\'s darkest hour. The Penal laws which were then in force reduced the majority of the people to poverty and ignorance. Into this scene came Nano Nagle, who, appalled by the evils of ignorance which she experienced, resolved to redress these ills by opening schools to teach the children the rudiments of education. She thus became one of the pioneers of popular education in Ireland.
To ensure the continuity of her work of education Nano founded the Congregation of Presentation Sisters whose name today is synonymous with education in its broadest sense and whose educational institutions are known in all five continents.
The commemorative stamp shows a part of the first Presentation Convent School in Pakistan. Sr. Ignatius McDermot was an Irish woman who with Sr. Evangelist Coatsworth and Sr. Xavier Lonergan founded Presentation Convent, Rawalpindi in 1895. The portion of the school shown in the stamp is now the Sisters\' private residence. It stands today much the same as it was a hundred years ago. The lantern in the foreground, recalls pictures of Nano Nagle which nearly always depict her carrying a lantern which lighted her way to the hovels of the poor, the sick and the most neglected. It symbolises the light of hope which dispels the darkness of ignorance, poverty and indifference.
There are many outstanding and famous names on the school admission registers and there are also the names of the humblest and least known of persons. People, not status, is the factor in the Presentation outlook on life, irrespective of class or creed. A past pupil of Presentation Convent, Rawalpindi has written \"The thousands who have passed through the gates of Presentation Convent have belonged to all religious denominations. Many of them are amongst the pioneer women who contributed to the uplift of society through their respective vocations.
They are today\'s doctors, nurses, teachers, some in government service, some in the armed forces as well as being wives and mothers. The students who entered as little girls and left as assured, confident, tolerant-minded young women were not perhaps aware that they owed their foundations in learning to an enlightened woman in Ireland, Nano Nagle.\"
(Contributed by: Presentation Sisters Pakistan, Rawalpindi)
To commemorate the occasion Pakistan Post is issuing a stamp of Rs. 1.25 denomination on September 8,1995.