The Beginnings

Here on record is the tangled skein that went to form the warp and whoop of St. Agnes College, some fiercely bright, others agreeably so, yet others dull and drab. Through all of this, will be seen the wonderful ways of Providence that marked and moulded its progress and guided its destinies to the present, sustaining in full vigour its life and growth.

The beginnings of St. Agnes are in truth a story of pioneering adventure, of vision, of faith in God and of much personal sacrifice on the part of its foundress Mother Aloysia. This great woman whose heart God had touched, had virtually taken up a mission which looked impossible, formidable and frightening. Mother Aloysia, however, had the confidence that Collegiate Education for young women was indeed a God-given task which needed to be undertaken as soon as possible.

While St. Agnes School was being constructed in 1919, it occurred to Mother Aloysia's far reaching and fertile mind that a Women's College in South India was an urgent need - an idea that baffled many with the shock of newness. The proposal was doused. What puzzled all was that there was neither a building nor equipment, nor qualified sisters to run the college. Still, Mother Aloysia felt that God wanted it for those girls who could not venture as far as Madras for higher education. Mother Aloysia reflected for long and prayed much. The Fathers of St. Aloysius, who were in the know-how of educational matters, gave their whole-hearted support. Fr. Dennis Fernandez, S. J., a man of learning, vision and deep spirituality, devoted himself to the task of guiding Mother Aloysia.

In the meantime, Miss Lazarus, the Inspectress of Schools, asked Mother Aloysia , "Why don't you raise the status of St. Ann's High School to that of a College?" The most encouraging of all was the visit of the D. P. I., Mr. Little-Hales, to Mangalore. He not only raised 'no objections' but also advised Mother Aloysia on the procedure to be followed, adding that he himself as a member of the Senate would put in a word on her behalf. This heartened Mother Aloysia and she informed the Bishop of her intention of opening the Junior Intermediate class as a tentative measure in June 1920.

Accordingly, the Junior Intermediate class was opened on June 22, 1920 by the Bishop at St. Ann's in the Garden House with the following subjects:

Part I - English

Part II - Kannada, Malayalam, French

Part III - Ancient and Modern History and Logic.

There were 8 students on roll. Lecturers from St. Aloysius College offered their services.

In October 1920, the High School building at St. Agnes was sanctioned for use as temporary College. On January 29, 1921 the Madras University Commission inspected the proposed building and grounds of the College. On the 4th of March, the application for affiliation was placed before the Senate and it resolved to send it to the Government. The sanction finally arrived on April 14, 1921. It seems as though the geneses of St. Agnes College was a boon from God for the 83 years of educational efforts of the Apostolic Carmel.

The College was formally inaugurated on 2nd July, 1921. The Eucharistic Sacrifice was celebrated in an improvised chapel by Rev. Fr. Proserpio S. J., Rector of St. Aloysius College. Miss Violet Leeks, the Lady Principal, outlined the brief history of the foundation then known as St. Ann's College.