A brief view of the beginning.
Back in 1774 A. D an extraordinary woman, with an extraordinary vision, decided to move out of her luxurious parental home at beautiful Verona, Italy in order to make a difference. Yes, St. Magdalene dared to dream the impossible dream and the cascading effect was seen in a tiny serene town-Belgaum in India. Travelling through the corridors of time, one can see the difference between now and then, yesterday and today. The question asked then was why Belgaum? The reason being, that even in the year 1880, the catholic parishes felt that education was the urgent need of the hour and in unison, they appealed to his Excellency, Patriarch of Goa, Don Antonio Valerio to hand over the running of the school to the Canossian Sisters, as they were certain that the education imparted to their daughters would be of an excellent quality. Their plea was heard loud and clear and a dynamic band of five Canossian Sisters from Hong -Kong reached Belgaum via Cochin in Kerala in 1891.
The sisters found the environment, people and their living habits strikingly different. It was a herculean and daunting task and surely they must have pondered silently, if they had come to this strange town just to educate only 15 students. Yet, with unquestionable faith and gusto, they started their mission, which would in coming years change the lives of thousands of young girls. With determination in their steps and a kind smile on their lips, they faced all hurdles of cultural differences, language and mistrust of the locals. Their perseverance and patience paid off and by the end of the year the strength went up to an inspiring 55! The first step had been taken
in the journey of educating the girl child at a Canossian School in Belgaum.
In those days the school building looked like a tiny picture post card, functional and not very inspiring, but surely there must have been an aura of warmth and love pervading it, as slowly it began to take life and form and the first batch of Josephites passed out in 1928.The sapling slowly began to bloom and today St Joseph’s School has grown into a mighty oak tree. The efforts of the Sisters bore rich fruits, but they did not rest on their laurels, and went a step further and introduced music into their curriculum to make education more comprehensive. It was in 1940 that the school was affiliated to the ‘Trinity College of Music’ in London. The Canossian Sisters were blessed with foresight and keeping in mind the need to equip the girl child, to make a living, the teacher Training Institute was established in 1948. Today it has gained high reputation and is considered one of the best in the state. Also, a Tamil medium school was initiated in the school premise in 1899, which was eventually changed to Kannada medium school in 1967.
Over a century has slipped by and Josephities have gone out into the world, carrying the very essence of the Canossian ideals i.e. hard work, integrity, faith and hope for a better tomorrow. The Vision of St. Magdalene was to address the need for an all round development of the girl child and we experience great pride and gratitude to the Almighty, as our students over the century have consciously and unconsciously imbibed and absorbed the very ethos of St. Magdalene’s vision, which is a true testimony to the dedicated efforts of the