When a group of mothers saved St. Joseph’s college-by Chaplain Fr.R.R.W.F Pereira
In 1960 the Sirimavo – Badurdeen pact attempted to grab all Catholic schools and appropriate them as state property. Our great college St. Joseph’s was placed as top priority in their list of schools to be targeted and to be nationalised.The state fought both tooth and nail to take over our college. They tried every trick and devised strategies hook or by crook in their attempt to take over the school. However they failed neck and crop and ended up demoralised in every aspect of the word so as to never rise again. The main punch which the Prime Minister Bandaranaike and her Education Minister Badurdeen received was from a group of young Josephian mothers. They set foot in our college with their chutti mutti (pots and pans) and cooked and ate their own food and drank their own tea and coffee while occupying the class rooms of the college; making the political grab an absolutely impossible task.
I intend writing something in these lines on this massive endeavuor which these mothers undertook and successfully saved our great College; which stands to this day as a prime academic institute and a valuable heritage of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka. It was all possible because of this bold young Josephian mothers in the year1960 that we Joes are today able to live to learn and proudly have our formation in knowledge and virtue which we as Christian children need when we leave the security of our homes to launch into a challenging world to pray and to work– Ora et Labora –as good citizens of Sri Lanka.
St. Joseph’s College owes its existence today’ to these mothers and to the tough dedicated stance they took in order to defend this institute from which we get our ‘ Virtue & Knowledge
Therefore St. Joseph’s College owes its existence today’ to these mothers and to the tough dedicated stance they took in order to defend this institute from which we get our ‘ Vertue & Knowledge. If these mothers of Josephian students in the nineteen sixties had not put up this fight with true grit, fearlessness and valor our College would definitely have been taken over like a cut piece of cake and gobbled up by the state. Many have completely forgotten about this enormous endeavour and the great success it had to save St Joseph’s College.Today as we celebrate the 125th year of our College I intend to highlight this successful endeavour of these young Josephian mothers who saved St Joseph’s College and honour these individuals who have become grandmothers and great grandmothers; some who have now passed the century mark or moved on to their eternal reward. I write this article so that the present generation of Joes and Old Joes would be well aware of who saved our great school which still stands firm like the Guardian of Jesus and Mary. I think some were; Mrs Felicia Casie Chitty and Mrs Daisy F. Pereira. There were also some from the Kotehena Parish. A teacher, who was involved was Sir S. Loganathan, a Priest who was involved was Fr Dullas De Soysa. Mrs Felicia Casie Chitty ’s children Dr Laxman Casie Chitty, Ranjan Casie Chitty, grandchildren Dushan Casie Chitty, Nilesh Casie Chitty, Kevin Candappa, Rowen Perumal and nephew Christopher Alles and Mrs Daisy F. Pereira’s son Chap. Fr. Raja R W F Pereira, and grandchildren Kirk R W R W Carmichael-Pereira and Berk R W R W Carmichael-Pereira and Christopher Alles. So many others would have been involved in the struggle, but their names are not mentioned owing to the impossibility to gather enormous amounts of information.
(This article is written on the 100th Birth Anniversary of one of the mothers Mrs Daisy F. Pereira which fell on June 28, 2021)