The “Saint” Schools of Karachi

By Azra Malik
(Alumnus St. Joseph’s Convent School)

Locked down ! Sitting idle at home with not much to do, except reading and writing.
Thinking fondly about the past and looking back at the way things used to be. A stroll down memory lane. Happy memories of the past. As if film reel of the memories fluttering on the screen inside my mind.
Of the two schools in Saddar Karachi, close to each other, just like brother and sister. In between them there was a beautiful church, known as St Patrick’s Cathedral. Mostly the boys those days, who were admitted in St Patrick’s school, there sisters went to St Joseph Convent school. As it was not only convenient for parents but the standard of both the schools was more or less the same.
My Alma mater, St Joseph Convent Girls School ! Was founded in 1862 by Belgian Nuns. In more than 150 years of its, existence the school has been served by a great number of nuns, many of whom came from Europe, and the wonderful staff.
Some of them were very polite and kind like our English teacher Ms Deans, Ms Jehan and Ms Rasheed. And our Maths teacher Ms Aileen Soares, she was so dedicated, very hard working, so quick in her work. She was inspirational, Still remember how girls participated actively, during her period. She taught for over 58 years and was greatly admired by her student. I felt so sad when I read in Dawn about the news of her death. May she rest in eternal peace.
Teachers who were strict and got angry sometimes, were also very sincere, as their strictness was for our own good.
Our school not only imparted knowledge to the girls but also the golden rules !
“Here we are taught the golden lesson, How to sift our wrong from right
How to bear our crosses bravely , And to keep our goal in sight”

Came also on my mind’s screen, our mighty Hockey field! where we played and practiced games and the March past for Sports Day. The big Hall and the stage! The piano for singing ! Oh dear ! What can the matter be oh dear ! Christmas carols, Jingle bells jingle all the way!
And the young girls singing on piano, their eyes twinkling with hope of a happy future !
” Que Sera Sera , What ever will be , Will be ”
There were images of school buses , and girls waiting for the second trip. At Mr and Mrs Vellloze’s shop, the stationery items , biscuits, sweets and in a big glass jar were the unforgettable, everyone’s favourite Milk Toffees, still remember the taste , so delicious so addicting. And Abdullah’s canteen was also in the picture. How can anyone forget the poori with aalo bhaji, fresh cream roles and patties and even ice cones, we used to buy from Abdullah’s canteen.
Then coming back to reality! I sang quietly In my heart !
“Honour and glory to our school. Through out the years to come
Peace and success forever rule. Until the sands of life are run ”

St Patrick’s school located in Saddar Karachi. The school is one of the oldest in the city and is held in high esteem across the Globe. Established in 1861, it was founded and managed by the Society of Jesus
For over 150 years, the school has served the people of the Sub Continent and Pakistan by providing accessible education without discrimination. Patricians have made their mark all around the world, contributing in numerous ways to the progress and betterment of society.
The school has produced well known leaders and public figures, entrepreneurs, social workers, civil society leaders, top class sports people and athletes, high ranking officers in the Armed Forces and politicians. Source Wikipedia

Ref : TRIBUNE, Through hardships to the stars :,St Patrick’s High School turns 150 years today. May 2011
” Two presidents, two prime ministers, three governors, five chief ministers, three mayors . ……,,the list of leaders produced by St Patrick’s High School in Karachi reads the who’s who of Pakistan and is too long to decently fit into a Newspaper article’s introduction.
In 1961. under the Principal Rev Fr S Ráymond , a memorable centenary celebration was held to mark 100 years of St Patrick school, which was attended by the President Ayub Khan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and the Khan of Kalat.
Former President Pervaiz Musharraf was also a student of St Patrick School. Paying tributes to his teachers Father Raymond, Father Todd and Simon D’Lima he said.
” Their mentoring made a big difference in my life. My brother was a better student, so I would get punishment from Mr D’Lima for not doing well in maths. Later I excelled in it ……. thanks to those reprimanding reminders I got from Mr D’Lima” He even recalled the spanking he once received from Father Todd.

There is a large Catholic Goan community in Karachi, that was established when Karachi infrastructure was developed by the British before the World War II
When Pakistan achieved independence in 1947, the organisation and activities of Christian community changed drastically. Christian in the Punjab and Sindh had been quite active after 1945 in their support for Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s league.
Christian have contributed as educationists, lawyers, businessmen and in Armed Forces. Source Wikipedia!

There are many educational institutions established by Christian community in Karachi!
Karachi Grammar School, the oldest school in Karachi, founded as the Anglo Indian school in 1847, it remained the only non-native school in the town until the founding of St Patrick’s Boys School in 1861 in Saddar and then St Joseph Convent School in 1862.

*St Lawrence Girls School Karachi was founded by the sisters of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. Mother Mary Britwald was its first principal.
*St Lawrence Boys School Karachi , owned by the Roman Catholic Archidiocese in1950
*St Peter’s High School Muslimabad Karachi , established 1978 by St Peter’s education Society.
*St Paul High School, run under the auspices of the Catholic Board of Education Pakistan. Founded in 1941
St Michael ‘s Convent School Karachi , established in 1986 under the founding Principal Bishop Anthony Theodore Lobo
*St Jude’s High School, a Roman Catholic School in North Nazimabad Karachi, was established in 1955 .
*Convent of Jesus and Mary Girls School, Clifton Karachi , is an educational institution established under the management of Sisters of Jesus and Mary , in 1952.
*American School, on Amir Khusro road Karachi, established in 1952 is governed by a seven member Board of Directors , elected for 2 year term.
*Trinity Methodist School Karachi, established in 1955, has been upgraded to intermediate college.
*Christ the King School Karachi and more.
Besides Schools there are colleges.
St Patrick’s College, Karachi
St Joseph’s College for Women Karachi.
St Lawrence Girls College Karachi.

The contribution of Christian Community in the field of education is enormous.
Last year, St Mary’s University in London announced that it was awarding the highest honour, the Benedict Medal, to the Rev’d Sister Berchmans Conway. The announcement was warmly received in Pakistan. Sr Berchmans came to Sialkot in 1856, established the first Convent School and dedicated to teaching girls irrespective of their caste and creed. Seventy years of her life to teaching, she spent most of her life teaching in Pakistan. She taught in Convent of Jesus and Mary, in Karachi , Lahore and Murree
Congratulations! Our Best wishes and prayers for her good health and long life.

These educational institutions in Karachi, established by Christian, Parsi, Hindu and Muslim, apart from academics studies, they were also character builders, they taught discipline, humility and encouraged independent thinking. The developed their skills to think independently and critically. To face courageously the challenges of life.

Hospitals established by Christian community in Karachi
*Holy Family Hospital Karachi.
Was founded in 1948 by the Medical Mission Sisters, a Roman Catholic , religious order. This was the time when health facilities were few in Pakistan
*Seventh Day Adventist Hospital Karachi, now Karachi Adventist Hospital,
established in 1950. When inaugurated was the most well- equipped and expensive hospital.
*Dr Ruth Pfau Hospital for Leprosy
She was German Nun of the Society of the Daughters of the Heart of Mary and a physician. She moved from Germany to Pakistan in 1961 and devoted more than 55 years of her life to fight leprosy in Pakistan. She died and is buried in Karachi.
*Darul Sakoon, a home for the abandoned children with disabilities was founded by a Dutch Nun Sr Gertrude Lemmen. She came to Pakistan as a visitor in her youth. She was so touched by the pathetic of the children with disabilities that she devoted all her life for the care of these children.

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About Amin H. Karim MD

Graduate of Dow Medical College Class of 1977.
This entry was posted in Contributions by Christians, Educational Institutions of Karachi. Bookmark the permalink.

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