- Our School
- Our Foundress
- Daughters of the Cross
- Great F.C Missionary of India
- Aim of the Institution
- School Anthem
After 1857, the British were consolidating their hold on their Indian Empire. The hill stations were developed and Panchgani’s bracing climate made it a popular health resort and an educational centre. The St. Joseph’s Convent School was started towards the end of 1895 under the patronage of His Lordship the Bishop of Poona and the Roman Catholic order of nuns, known as The Daughters of the Cross. It is one of the oldest existing schools in Panchgani. It incorporated all the best elements of British education of that era, making it much better than other schools in India.
10th grade students take the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education examination.
The subjects that are offered are divided into three groups. Group I includes Compulsory Subjects – English, History, Civics & Geography, and Indian Language, Group II which includes any two from Mathematics, Science, Environmental Science, Computer Science, Agricultural Science, Commercial Studies, Technical Drawing, A Modern Foreign Language, A Classical Language and Economics, and Group III has any one from Computer Applications, Economic Applications, Commercial Applications, Art, Performing Arts, Home Science, Cookery, Fashion Designing, Physical Education, Technical Drawing Applications, Yoga, and Environmental Applications. All subjects have components of internal assessment, that are carried out by schools, on the basis of assignments/project work, practicals and coursework.
Inspired by Jesus the Divine Teacher, gripped by the Spirit of Mother Marie Therese, We, Daughters of the Cross will:
- Impart quality education
- Promote life and dignity of the child
- Build a world of justice, peace and harmony.
Guided by the Holy Spirit we forge ahead courageously to co-create a just and self-sustaining world, with a focus on women and children.
- Provide a multi-dimensional education for the girl-child
- Form our students to respect persons and live in harmony with all
- Achieve excellence
- Foster a sensitivity to care for the earth and ensure sustainability
- Prepare our students to be self-motivated for social transformation.
Panchgani is a Hill Station 20 k.m. away from Mahableshwar Bus Stand about 1293 mtrs. above sea level. Its climate is one of the best in Maharashtra. The School is in close proximity to the second largest plateau in Asia popularly known as Tableland which is 4550 ft above ground level.
St Joseph’s Convent School is a Catholic Educational Institution conducted by St. Joseph’s Education and Medical Relief Society, with its Head Office in Bandra, Mumbai.
The Society is registered under the Societies Registration Act, XXI of 1860
Registration No.: Bom.41/66 G.B.B.S.D. and under the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950 (Bom.XXIX of 1950).
Registration No.: F 1374 (Bom.)
The School is open to girls of all communities. It caters to the educational needs of Boarders from Std. III to Std X and Day Students from Pre-Primary onwards.
School Address: St. Joseph’s Convent School,
Panchgani – 412805, Dist. Satara, Maharashtra.
Contact Nos. : 02168 – 240323, 241031, 240343
Website : https://sjcschoolpanchgani.org
Blessed Marie Thérèse (Jeanne Haze),
the foundress of the Daughters of the Cross of Liège
Jeanne Haze was born in Liège, Belgium, of M. Louis Haze and Ms. Marguerite Tombeur on 27th February 1782. She came from a loving, traditional Christian family to whom the Faith was a living reality. Their father gave importance to educate his children and he supervised it himself. They developed strong faith, union of hearts, understanding to withstand all difficulties and trials. Her first experience of suffering came as a result of the French Revolution when Jeanne and her family were exiled to Germany. During the exile the family lost their father, later their only brother and bread winner. The family lost their house and all their belongings during the revolution. The mother and the girls took to sewing for their survival.
Jeanne was conscious of her vocation very early in her life. After the death of their mother Jeanne and her sister Ferdinande settled down in the parish of St Jean. Swarming all around them in their new home were the poor, the suffering, the needy in soul and body as the result of the revolution. They spent their extra time in caring for the sick, poor and teaching little ones. With the help of a friend and the parish priest they started a school for the poor children at Potay. Besides the responsibility of the school, they advanced in prayer, earning their daily bread and almsgiving. M. Canon Habets was their spiritual director. With the direction of M. Canon Habets four of them started living a community life. The Constitutions of the future “Daughters of the Cross” was drawn up with the help of M. Canon Habets. On 8th September, 1833 the four sisters pronounced their vows and were clothed in black habit, scapular, veil, rosary, cloak, and black cross with an ivory crown at the Church of our Lady of Mount Carmel, at Potay, Belgium. Jeanne and her sister made their perpetual vows and took the names as Mother Marie Thérèse and Mother Aloysia. Two other companions, Sisters Clara and Constance, made their temporary vows for one year and two postulants entered the novitiate.
Thus the Congregation of the Daughters of the Cross was born in the Carmelite Church of Potay, next to their own little convent.
Mother Marie Therese fell asleep for good on 7th January, 1876.
Blessed Marie Thérèse was beatified on 21st April, 1991
The Daughters of the Cross (Les Filles de la Croix)
In this Sign, thou shalt conquer
On a beautiful summer evening of 1833, Jeanne Haze and Virginie Soroge were crossing the courtyard of the Carmelite order and their house. Suddenly they saw a large black Cross adorned with a white circular crown etched against the sky with each detail clearly visible. The Cross disappeared, leaving an indelible impression on the young women.
For Jeanne the cross was to be the standard of her Congregation; hence she chose the name “Daughters of the Cross”. Jeanne Haze founded the Congregation – “Filles de la Croix” – the “Daughters of the Cross” – on 8th September, 1833 at Liege in Belgium. They were clothed in long black habit with a black head dress lined in white and the Cross. The first five sisters were:
- M/s Jeanne Haze – Sr Marie Therese (The Foundress)
- M/s Ferdinande Haze – Sr. Aloysia
- M/s Virginie Soroge – Sr. Constance
- M/s Jeanne Lhoest – Sr. Clara
- M/s Marie Ancion – Sr. Julienne (A Novice)
For these sisters the ‘Cross’ was the very life of their existence. Looking at the great love of the Father in sending Jesus to redeem humanity, they were inspired to uplift the weakest and the most suffering, especially women and children. They took care of the orphans, neglected children and women, prisoners, war victims, old incurables, penitents – all felt their healing touch of love and service.
These pioneer sisters had their share of crosses in abundance, but, these did not deter them from spreading their wings to various parts of the world – Belgium, Germany, England, Ireland, Holland, Italy, North and South America, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Africa etc. Wherever they went they always had a special preference for those who were poorest and weakest. They undertook a variety of works of mercy – Teaching, Nursing, Social Work. These works include schools, orphanages, homes for delicate children, hospitals, hospices, refugees, sanatoria, epileptic homes, the Prison for women in Liege and Missions in India and Africa.
The ‘Daughters of the Cross’ in India are spread over various states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Goa, U.P., West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Nepal, New Delhi and Orissa. They take care of the sick and the aged, abandoned children, battered women, the socially deprived, local pastoral work and the various needs of the Church. Many sisters are involved in awareness and developmental programs of backward villages in the interior areas of our country. They work with Tribal and scheduled Caste, encouraging them to be educated and making them aware of their basic rights and improving their status.
The Daughters of Mother Marie Therese flourish in her love and vision, centuries down the line, throughout the world.
Marie Caroline, the sixth daughter of Mathew Mevis and Marie Jeanne Malherbe was born on 18th February, 1832 in Tongress. Marie lost her father at the tender age of two years due to an illness in 1834. The poor mother was left with six daughters and had to shift from their house and move to the neighbourhood of Liege. Since their income was very low the elder daughters started working outside for the livelihood. In spite of poverty their mother gave them good education. Later the elder daughters left home after marriage. Marie Caroline alone remained with the mother and became a loving companion. She had a lovely disposition- cheerful, kind, prayerful and compassionate. She heard her call from her master, Jesus to be a religious at the age of eighteen.
At Liege, Daughters of the Cross were doing a lot of good works and the whole countryside was ringing with the praises of these heroic sisters. They had just lost a sister who was helping the victims of Cholera epidemic. Marie Caroline was impressed by these heroic souls and joined them in 1850. On 5th February, 1851 she denounced the joys of home life, all the pleasures and ambitions of the world and put on the black habit and scapular, symbols of humility and death to self, and white guimpe and veil, symbols of the purity of those called to follow the Lamb forever. She had to forego her family name and took the name of Sr. Theodorine.
Sr. Theodorine grew strong in her faith and devotion to St. Joseph, Mother Mary and their divine Son, Jesus. She had a simple uncomplicated faith and a firm trust in God’s loving Providence. She was so good that Mother Marie Therese sent her as a Novice, to the House of Correction to reclaim the young girls who had been taken up by the police for petty offences. She worked along with the government as a superior of the House of Correction for 12 years and helped many young girls to live a normal fruitful life.
The next mission of Sr. Theodorine was to Aspel, Germany. The spirit of Aspel had been more contemplative in nature. Here she felt a little out of place as her ardent and generous nature sought to express its love in action. God recognized her earnest desire for active life and He prepared her for far distant apostolate which could satisfy her burning thirst for souls.
The first party of five Daughters of the Cross arrived in Bombay in February, 1862. They started their first convent in Sind, Karachi. The second group of sisters came to Bandra, Bombay in 1863. Sr. Theodorine headed the third group of five sisters to India. Her companions were Srs. Mary Patricia, Erasmus, Juliana and Imelda. Sr. Theodorine was 35 and in the full flower of her womanhood. Her cheerful temperament and joyful spirit helped her in her new mission. They arrived in Bombay on 24th January, 1868. Mgr. Meurin sent them, the same night, to join the sisters in Bandra. She was made the superior of this community until 1875, there after Provincial of the growing apostolate and communities.
At that time Bandra was a fishing village and they spoke Marathi. It was a cosmopolitan place with Muslims, Hindus and various sects of Christians. They started St. Joseph’s Orphanage and a Marathi school for the natives. Two Indian sisters joined them who knew various Indian languages which were a great help. Famine and epidemics like Cholera, Measles, Small Pox took toll on the lives of the people and the tropical climate on the sisters. Their work extended to Calcutta, Belgaum and Byculla. The beginnings of any mission is always hard, they did not have enough food clothing, money etc for their inmates. Her devotion to St. Joseph and trust in Providence doubled and her child like trust enabled many miraculous heavenly interventions through various benefactors. The main works in India were Schools, Hospitals, Dispensaries and Foundling Homes.
Sr. Theodorine was looking for a cooler place for her sisters to recuperate from the weariness caused by the hard work, epidemics and the climate. At the same time Fr. Mayer, Vicar General of Mgr. Beiderlinden urged Sr. Theodorine to start a school in Panchgani and to enjoy a climate very much that of Europe. Sr. Theodorine realized that it would serve as splendid sanatorium for the sisters.
Mrs. Higgins, an Irish Lady offered the sisters one of her houses to start the school. The new convent in Panchgani was started on 23rd September, 1895 and the school on 4th October with 8 pupils. Sr. Winifred was the first superior of Panchgani Convent. The devotedness and hard work of the sisters brought more students to the school and they have to change houses to accommodate them. Finally they settled in the present site. They bought the property from Mr. O’Brien for Rs. 5,000/- and the school was built in 1906.
Sr. Theodorine did not keep good health and spent many summers at Panchgani. Finally she was called back to Liege. Sister left India at the beginning of the year 1889 after 32 years of selfless service in India. She reached Mother House on 5th April, 1889. After regaining health sister worked for 12 years more at various jobs. Slowly her health started deteriorating again and died in sleep on Sunday early morning, 5th March, 1911 in the 80th year of her age.
A tribute of praise uttered by Mgr. Baunard in memory of Sr. Theodorine.
“In the furnace of this great heart there burnt a fire which transformed into holy energy, was the mainspring of all activity within and about her. This fire was the love of Jesus… The cross was the lever whereby she raised all to heaven. She worked and suffered manfully, joyfully, her eyes fixed on the things of heaven, and she ended her apostolic life in silence, prayer and thanksgiving”.
The school aims at inculcating human values. Special attention is given to the spiritual and moral formation of the students. Pupils are prepared for the Indian Certificate Secondary Education (I.C.S.E.) Examination.
- Girls are admitted to Junior KG at the age of 4 years. Application for admission to the boarding should be made on the prescribed form attached to the Prospectus for the following year.
- Parents/Guardians must give an undertaking in writing on the Admission form that they will abide by the rules and regulations of the school as made from time to time.
- All applicants must undergo an Evaluation Test conducted by the school and both parents must accompany the child for an interview before admission can be confirmed.
- Two calendar months notice or the payment of full fees (Board and School) for two months in lieu of notice is required prior to the withdrawals of the pupil. If a student intends leaving at the end of the academic year, notice of withdrawal should be given in writing by 15th February.
Joseph, patron of our school be thou our guide,
With deep affection, we seek protection,
of body, soul and mind.
Under thy guiding hands, we’ll do our best,
To rise ever higher as our motto says.
Faith such as yours we ask, God’s hands to see.
In every trial in joys and triumphs,
to praise and thank the Lord with thee.
Love friendship, trust, goodwill, these strong points be,
Of past and present students of dear SJC.