Sacred Heart Convent, a leading girls’ school imparting quality education to young girls in the South celebrated her 127th anniversary with all the dignity and solemnity.
Founded by a group of five Reverend Sisters from Belgium on 24th November 1896 as a Catholic school with a few students, Sacred Heart Convent has grown by leaps and bounds today having nearly 2400 students with an academic faculty of 107.
Upon the invitation by the Belgian Jesuit Priest Mgr. Josep Van Reeth, the first Bishop of Galle Diocese, the Mother House of the Sisters of Charity in Belgium sent five Reverend Sisters to Sri Lanka with the intent of initiating the mission of Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary (SCJM) in Ceylon. Thus, Sacred Heart Convent School was established as one of their major undertakings with Rev. Sr. William Brennan being appointed as the first Principal.
The school was then administered by several foreign missionaries under the aegis of SCJM till such time it was handed down to the state in 1978. Today, this Sacred abode is functioning under the visionary leadership of Rev. Sr. Sandya Fernando as the incumbent Principal. Despite being a Government school, most school activities are conducted under the auspices of the Mother Superior of Sacred Heart Convent who functions as the patron of the school.
Sacred Heart Convent is characterized by her distinctive qualities of maintaining the highest standards of discipline, civic consciousness, and moral excellence emboldened by her motto ‘Cor Unum Anima Una’ – One Heart, One Soul.
It is this great sense of camaraderie and solidarity among the colossal Heartian community that has sustained and transmitted such values making the school pride itself on a much-cherished legacy of 127 years.
Being a multicultural and multi-religious school, Sacred Heart Convent has created a conducive atmosphere for all the children to take part in diverse activities respecting each other in achieving social and cultural cohesion as enunciated in their school creed.
The monumental efforts made by the academic staff have facilitated the children to achieve academic excellence even beyond the expected levels at every level of proficiency assessment in the national examinations.
Thus, Sacred Heart Convent made another giant stride in her forward march to excellence when stepped onto her 127th year of dedicated service to the nation.
127th Anniversary Celebration
The 127th Anniversary Celebration of the school was conducted on 24th November 2023 in the Centenary Hall of the school with Rev. Fr. Charles Hewawasam, Vicar General of Galle Diocese, attending as the Chief Guest. This momentous event was graced by the respected presence of the Mother Superior of Sacred Heart Convent, Rev. Sr. Angela Fernando, and the community, some other Reverend Sisters, and other distinguished guests.
Welcoming the gathering the Principal Rev. Sr. Sandya Fernando explained the need to pay tribute to the pioneers of this most hallowed school and urged the children to make a strong resolution to sustain the great values bequeathed by their ancestors and pass them onto the future generation by making this school a much better place than it was transmitted to them.
The event was adorned by several students making fervent wishes with floral tributes for the future prosperity of the school and the glory and grandeur of 127 years of their alma mater was celebrated with a cake-cutting ceremony.
Adding much meaning to the occasion was donating packages of dry rations to the needy by the school children representing every grade and class manifesting their concerns for others and standing with their suffering comrades during the time of
The Chief Guest, Rev. Fr. Charles Hewawasam, in his insightful keynote address, underscored the importance of the resilience and fortitude of the pioneering Reverend Sisters who had arrived at a foreign territory and settled down with the least facilities and how the present generation should learn lessons from them to be resolute for a worthy cause overcoming obstacles.
He further observed that the Heartians are privileged to receive education in such a blessed environment and at this epoch-making juncture it is his wish that they are empowered to expand their horizons in this fast-paced world.
Thanksgiving Eucharistic Celebration
The Thanksgiving Eucharistic Celebration in praise of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary and Sacred Heart Convent School was held on the same day in line with the Anniversary Celebrations at the Convent Chapel.
The Chief Celebrant of this solemn occasion was Rev. Fr. Sampath Wilegoda, Rector of Minor Seminary, with Rev. Fr. Nihal Nanayakkara, Former Vicar General of Galle Diocese and Rev. Fr. Lakshman Peiris, Superior of Jesuit Community, Galle, attending as concelebrants.
The Chief Celebrant of this Eucharistic Celebration in his Homily emphasized the significance of aligning the rhythm of the Heart of Jesus with the rhythm of the long epic journey of 127 years. As much as Jesus’ Heart is filled with love and compassion, the inhabitants of this hallowed institute should be ready to dedicate themselves to embrace the spirit that has uplifted the lives of thousands, he further observed.
Further to his sermon, the Chief Celebrant urged the Catholic children to create a rhythm in the school that praises the Sacred Heart of Jesus enabling the perpetuation of their glorious legacy.
Opening of the New Technology Complex
The ground floor of the three-storeyed New Technology Complex set up at the school premises was ceremonially opened concurrent to the 127th Anniversary Celebrations by the Bishop of Galle Diocese Rt. Rev. Dr. Raymond Wickramasinghe. This historic event was also attended by Rev. Fr. Charles Hewawasam, Vicar General of Galle Diocese, Rev. Fr. Nihal Nanayakkara, Former Vicar General and some other Reverend Fathers and the Mother Superior of Sacred Heart Convent and other Reverend Sisters.
This building comes under the concept of ‘the nearest school, the best school’ by the Ministry of Education and will be a hub of technology comprising several units when completed.
Before proceeding to open the building, the Principal Rev. Sr. Sandya Fernando paid floral tribute to the statue of Rev. Sr. William Brennan who was the pioneering Principal of Sacred Heart Convent in the presence of His Lordship, the Bishop, and the other distinguished guests.
The completion of the ground floor of this building was a collaborative effort by the Ministry of Education – Southern Province with the generous contribution by the Honourable Governor of Southern Province, Dr. Willie Gamage, The Bishop of Galle Diocese, Past Pupils’ Association of the school, the Golden Heartians’ Club and the past pupils of Colombo, several well-wishers and the unstinted support by the teachers and children in numerous ways.
After declaring open the new Science Laboratory and the Home Science Unit, His Lordship, the Bishop conducted a prayer service together with several other Reverend Fathers and Sisters invoking blessings for the completion of the rest of the building before long which was followed by boiling of milk wishing prosperity.
This event was attended by the officials of the Department of Education and some representatives of the stakeholders of the project.
And thus the 127th Anniversary Celebrations of Sacred Heart Convent came to a successful conclusion by making a strong pledge in one voice that this Sacred abode should continue to carry forward the vision and legacy of her founders for many more years.