05/11/2018, 13.33
SRI LANKA
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For Card Ranjith, school creates saints but also good mothers, scholars, researchers

by Melani Manel Perera

The Nimala Maria Balika Maha Viduhala (Convent of Mary Immaculate) has celebrated its 75th anniversary. Its purpose is to prepare girls to become "educated women, good mothers and responsible citizens". For Card Ranjith, the students are “created by our God for a vocation”. Noting that each one “is very important”, he urged them to use their talents to create “a good society”.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Card Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, spoke at the Nimala Maria Balika Maha Viduhala (Convent of Mary Immaculate), a Catholic school in Tudella, Ja-ela, on the 75th anniversary of its foundation.

In his address, he told students that “one learns to be saints from school" and thanked teachers “for your great service and for the help you give these girls in becoming saints".

The school’s jubilee was yesterday but celebrations were held the day before. In addition to current students, there were also many former students and teachers.

The school was founded in 1943 by the Sisters of the Holy Family Association and is still run by nuns. Initially, it was a simple hut with a straw roof and 43 pupils; today it has 2,490 students and 90 teachers.

"Thanks to the guidance and leadership of the sisters, we managed to create a larg-scale project that tries to provide society with educated women, good mothers and responsible citizens," said Sr Jesmin Fernando, provincial superior of the association, speaking to AsiaNews.

"Today's challenge is not only about academic results, but also giving a different response to society, where values ​​are not respected," she said.

"We started in a hut,” said V M F Fernando, 89, a former school principal and one of the only two lay persons who ran the school (the other 14 were nuns). “All we achieved, we owe it to the efforts of the sisters who put their mission into practice with a clear vision."

Graduates from Nimala Maria Balika Maha Viduhala include 16 Sisters of the Holy Family, a lay consecrated woman, 13 sisters of other congregations, as well as numerous scholars, researchers, women who hold prominent roles in society, like doctors, engineers, informatics, managers, and Supreme Court lawyers.

In his message, Card Ranjith noted that "Every person is unique. There is not one like the other. This difference is beauty. Everyone is a blessed person, created by our God for a vocation, a blessed and great vocation.”

"The Holy Bible describes this vocation as love and care for every single person, living according to God’s will, which makes us happy and capable of giving him glory. This is our responsibility that the Bible teaches us."

Addressing the girls, he added: "Dear girls, each one of you is very important and of great value and has received many talents from God. You must identify the talents that are within you, develop them and use them to create a good society and make our God happy."

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