Welcome to St.Bede's

Sometime between 1820 and 1830, San Thome Orphanage for poor children of European parentage and Anglo-Indians, was established by a Portuguese, Augustinian friar, Manuel de Ave Maria, Episcopal Administrator of the Diocese of Mylapore. It is one of the oldest orphanages of its kind in India. At that time the orphans were accommodated in the lower portion of the ancient palace of the Portuguese Governor of San Thome, then the residence of the Bishop of Mylapore.

Sometime between 1820 and 1830, San Thome Orphanage for poor children of European parentage and Anglo-Indians, was established by a Portuguese, Augustinian friar, Manuel de Ave Maria, Episcopal Administrator of the Diocese of Mylapore. It is one of the oldest orphanages of its kind in India. At that time the orphans were accommodated in the lower portion of the ancient palace of the Portuguese Governor of San Thome, then the residence of the Bishop of Mylapore.

In 1906-1907 Lord Curzon announced the new scheme of European education for the whole of India. His Lordship, Dr. Theotonius Emmanuel Ribeiro Vieira de Castro, then Bishop of Mylapore, decided to open a school separate from the San Thome High School for the benefit of Anglo-Indian children. Thus St. Bede's high school was born. The school was first situated in a rented building, the present School for the deaf and dumb. The school opened with 55 pupils - 17 inmates of the San Thome Orphanage, who were studying in San Thome school were brought on the rolls of the new school. The school continued in this building till April,1914. A new boarding - the St. Bede's boarding was started with just three inmates.

The first batch of high school candidates from St. Bede's appeared for the European High School Examination in December 1909 and one of its students secured the first place in the Presidency in the European High School Examination. The new school building was inaugurated on 29 April, 1914. The three institutions - school, orphanage and boarding house grew in popularity and were soon filled to capacity. From 1924 onwards the management started thinking in terms of another new building for the school and the boarding. The Foundation Stone for the new building was blessed on March 5 1930. In the silver jubilee year - 1932, the new building was inaugurated.

SPORTS

Very early in its existence St. Bede's was known for its involvement in the field of sports. The Bedeans soon distinguished themselves by winning the Prize for the highest score at the Coronation sports, held in December 1911. In 1916 the Government allotted to St. Bede's jointly with San Thome high school, the large grounds at the South end of Marina. In 1919 it was leveled by the Public Works Department and form that year the students and the boarders have made regular use of the grounds. We are grateful to the government forproviding our boys with a large playground which is still being used by the students and boarders. St. Bede's won the European Schools championship for four years in succession from 1923 to 1927 an again in 1929 and 1930. They were also successful in sports such as hockey and football. This past glory has faded a bit but the flames are still kept burning bright. One should witness a Sports Day in St. Bede's to understand the importance given to sports. Many Anglo-Indian boarders have excelled in sports, hockey and football in particular. Even today St. Bede's is associated with sports. Parents think of sports and think of St.Bede's.

OLD BEDEANS (Alumni)

The idea of having an Old Bedeans' Association was first mooted in 1915, but materialized only in 1925. In the inauguration meeting held on 31 October, 1925, His Excellency Dom Theotonius de Castro, bishop of Mylapore, was elected its first Patron. Many of the Bedeans have distinguished themselves both in India and abroad. This association meets evey year from the time of its founding. Today by and large it is one of the oldest and long surviving past pupil's association of any school in India. Every year on the 26th of January the old Bedeans come flocking to St. Bede's. The prestigious band of Bedeans includes renowned medical personalities, Sports persons, persons in the field of mass media, actors, business men, architects, engineers, politicians etc.,

SANTHOME ORPHANAGE AND SALESIANS OF DON BOSCO

From the time the Salesians of Don Bosco arrived in India in 1906, Bishop Theotonius De Castro, bishop of Mylapore had repeatedly requested the Salesians to take over the San Thome orphanage. In January 1909, assisted by two newly arrived clerics, Fr. Tomatis took up the responsibility as director of San Thome Orphanage. The Salesians lost no time in reorganizing the boarding. Under their management the institution improved in every way, a chapel being one of the first improvements to be made. They provided the boys with new sets of clothes, better food, text books and note books and above all they gave special attention to the spiritual needs of the boys; none of them had yet received Holy Communion. After the reception of the Holy Eucharist a radical change was noticed in the boys. Slowly happiness and contentment radiated on their faces. Within a few years the strength rose to 105. Fr. Tomatis organized a brass band, a large stage was built, new toilet facilities were provided and a new kitchen was built and all within six years. The performance of the orphans in the scholastic field also improved. In November 1925 the orphanage suffered a great loss. Fr. Tomatis was suddenly rendered unconscious by a stroke and he died on November 25. It was a great blow to all who had known and loved him, in particular the boys. He was laid to rest in the Quibble cemetery in Santhome. The San Thome Orphanage grew from thirty-five boys in 1909 to 280 boys in 1928 when the Salesians handed the institution back to the Diocese of Mylapore.

DON BOSCO COMES BACK TO ST. BEDE'S

In 1952 the two dioceses of Madras and Mylapore were amalgamated and St. Bede's came under the new Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore. A Salesian, Archbishop Louis Mathias, known for his daring and foresight took over the leadership of the archdiocese. When the new buildings were ready he combined the orphanage with the boarding, making a single viable institution. In 1956 the archbishop invited the Salesians of Don Bosco to take over this institution and a group of Salesians headed by Fr. Hugh Tuena as rector and Fr. John Mallon as principal took over in January 1956.

Fr. Tuena visualized a private school which would serve as a "feeder school" for St. Bede's. Accordingly he purchased a spacious two-storied building across the road and dedicated this new school to St. Dominic Savio on July 15, 1957. The Dominic Savio Preparatory School, thus born, had a very humble beginning indeed, with only ten boys on the roll. Fr. Charles Restelli was its first principal. Fr. John Mallon was the next principal, not only of Dominic Savio but also of Don Bosco Matriculation School, which started with stds. V, VI and VII in the Dominic Savio Preparatory School. Dominic Savio Preparatory School then passed through the capable hands of many principals, each of whom contributed much to the development and growth of the school. Today the school has 551 pupils on its rolls. In 2005 it was made into a Matriculation school. This year the school is celebrating its Golden Jubilee.

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St.Bede's Anglo Indian Hr.Sec.School

No. 37, Santhome High Road,

Santhome, Chennai - 600 004.

Contact: 91-44-24983450 ,91-44-24981545

Email: bedeschennai@gmail.com