Founderess - The Heart of a Rose

Saint mary Euphrasia, foundress of the Good Shepherd Community of sisters was born Rose Virginie Pelletier on July 31st 1796 in a small island of Nourmoutier on the west coast of France. On October 20th 1814 she entered the Refuge and was given the name of Sister Mary Euphrasia.

In September 1817 Sister Mary Euphrasia professed her vows to Jesus. In 1825, she was unanimously elected Superior of the convent. Here, she sought to realize a dream of hers. She started the Sister Magdelians, now known as the contemplation of the Good Shepherd.

From tours Sister Mary Euphrasia move to Angers at the request of Bishop of Angers. An old textile mill was acquired and converted as the 'House of the Good Shepherd'. The official opening took place on July 31st 1829.More Houses of Refuge were opened - in Le Lan in April 1833, in pastiers in November 1833, and in Grenoble in December 1833.

From being Rose at Tours, then Rose at Angers, she became Rose of the world. Convents were established in Rome, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, and across the seas in England and Ireland. Then further to Egypt, America, India, Chile, Canada, Australia and Pakistan.

Finally in 1867 Bishop Hilanian Sillani of Colombo, wrote to Sister Mary Euphrasia and the convent at Kotahena was opened on 25th April 1869. The Rose had come to Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, Sister Mary Euphrasia had past to her eternal rest on 24th April 1868.

Then in 1888, the site was selected on the hill terrain 'Mount Leo' for the convent of Good Shepherd in Kandy. On February 8th 1889, the blessing and formal opening of the school took place. The Rose remains in Kandy.

"Though old stars burn out and die, look to new horizons and even beyond" - Sister Mary Euphrasia

AT A GLANCE - The Saga of the Convent of the Good Shepherd



"Mount Leo" with its hilly terrain and wooded slopes was the site selected for the convent of the Good Shepherd in Kandy. The property was 10 acres in extent with a bungalow which in the days of the stage coach served as a hostelry for weary travelers from Colombo. With the advent of Good Shepherd nuns, Sister Mary of St. Magdalence de Pazzi Walsh and Sister Mary of St. Constance, both from Ireland in 1888, the parlour of the bungalow was transformed in to the chapel and the stables were converted in to a large hall to be used as a school room.


In February, the blessing and formal opening of the convent. The precinct was named mount Leo in commemorations of the Jubilee year of the Pontiff, Pope Leo XIII, who was responsible for its purchase. The greatest benefactor was Rt. Rev. Clement Pognain, Bishop of Kandy.


St. Joseph's Home was built for orphans.


The Boarding House, a two-storeyed building was put up.


After 19 years of dedicated service Mother Mary of St. Constance was transferred to the Convent in Rangoon.


The house and property situated higher up on the slopes of Mount Leo were purchased and altered in to an Infirmary, due to the out break of an epidemic.


A Domestic Science Section was set up. The Department of Education recognized the Convent as a Senior Secondary School.


The foundation stone of the exquisite new chapel was laid on the site of the new tennis court on the South West boundary. The chapel with its beautiful strain glass window in the Sanctuary was dedicated to the Sacred Heart On 24th June 1924, together with the new convent.


Work on the new three storeyed building was begun.


This imposing structure was completed in 1928. On 6th August 1928, His Excellency, the Governor Sir. Herbert Stanley declared open the new building after His Lordship, Rt. Rev. Dr. Beckmeyer celebrated the Holy Eucharist in the chapel.


The Past Pupils' Association was established. It continues to be a dynamic body.


The Transfer of the novitiate from Matale to Kandy took place. Another two storeyed building was erected on the slopes above the chapel.


The Department of education ratified the upgrading of the school. The school came to be divided in to two sections, the upper and the primary school.


The Grotto, a facsimile of that at Lourdes was erected.


The Good Shepherd Convent, celebrated its Golden Jubilee in February, when the rest of the world was preparing for war.


Height of World War II. The school building was commandeered for use as a military hospital for the British.


The school building was given over to the Americas for the same purpose.


In February, the bungalow which had served as the convent for 30 years was demolished to make way for a two storeyed kindergarten and Junior Boarding.


The school entered the Free Education Scheme of the Government as an Assisted School.


The Education system underwent drastic changes. Convent opted to continue as a Private Non-fee levying school, with no assistance from the Government.


The 75th Anniversary of the school. The last Irish Principal, Mother Mary of St. Joseph Deegan retired in April, and Sister Mary Agnes de Alwis became the first Ceylonese principal.


The Liturgical Celebrations of the School's 75th Anniversary began on 6th August. The School Anthem was composed by Sr. Compassion.


The Centenary Year of the advent of the sister of the Good Shepherd to Sri Lanka was celebrated with pomp and pageantry.


The Colombo Branch of the Past Pupils Association was established.


A land mark in the history of the school. A Past Pupil Sister Mary St. Maurice was appointed Prioress of the Convent. 1972 - 1974 Sister Mary Carmeline served as Principal.


October, the Vice Principal Mrs. J.I. Jayasekara acted as principal till the appointment of the next sister.


In July sister Mary Laetitia was appointed as Principal. During her term of office an important change took place, when the government dedicated to grant assistance to the school.


Sister Mary Thomas Aquinas took over as Principal. During her term of office, the urgently needed basket ball court was put up.


The Centenary Year a great and joyful occasion in the history of the school.
(1) The centenary Mass was celebrated by two Bishops, Rt.Rev. Dr. Vianney Fernando, Rt. Rev. Dr. Paul Perera in the convent chapel. Twenty two Priests and 72 sisters, teachers, past pupils, parents and students participated.
(2) 100 parcels of food and clothing were distributed to the needy.
(3) Centenary Magazine was published.
(4) A Jubilee song was composed by Miss Mystica Perera, a loyal Past Pupil and dedicated teacher now living in Australia.