Mangaluru: Milagreans Celebrate ‘Institution Day’ Singing ‘Ave Maria’ to their Patroness

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Mangaluru: As an alumnus of Milagres Education Institutions, where I did my schooling till 5th standard (and later continued my studies till I finished BSc at St Aloysius College-Mangaluru) I feel proud of my Alma Mater for the way it has grown to greater heights and where its students have brought quite a few laurels and name to this great institution-“Milagres Education Institutions”. To the management, teaching faculty, staff and students, I extend a joyous and blessed “Institution Day” greetings. This institution which is dedicated to Mother Mary, has been guided, blessed and protected by Her for many years, and will continue to live longer under her blessings and care. Let’s all give praise and thank the Patroness of this institution “Our Lady of Miracles” by singing “Ave Maria”.

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As the management, staff and students celebrated Institution Day today (9 July 2015), let’s look back at the history of this Institution in brief- Milagres school was founded by Bishop Bernadin in 1848 and was entrusted to the care of Mr. John Edward Fritzerald, an Irishman and Monsieur Dupert a Frenchman. In the beginning, it was started as a Primary English school with classes from 1st to 5th and higher classes were added gradually. The Director of Public instruction, Madras accorded permanent recognition to the school on 23rd July 1929 as an independent secondary institution with classes 1st to 5th and forms 1 to 5. Sir Mevaral Stetham, the then Director of Public Instruction, Madras accorded the permission to open high school classes on 3rd April 1944 and accorded permanent recognition on 5th August 1954.

Milagres High School which is under the Catholic Board of Education was established to cater to the educational needs of all classes of people in and around Mangalore. Since it is located in the heart of the city, it has attracted the students from the neighboring state Kerala also. Thousands of people belonging to different communities have passed through the portals of this institution and have spread throughout the world. Milagres High school has grown over the years under the able leadership and guidance of the correspondents like Msgr. Alexander D’Souza, Fr Francis P Serrao, Msgr. Denis M. Prabhu, Fr Harold C. D’Souza, Fr William Gonsalves, Fr Walter D’Mello and at present it is leaping towards progress under Fr Valerian D’Souza who has a great vision towards this institution.

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The school has a well furnished building which was inaugurated on 21st December 1982 by the then bishop of Mangalore Dr Basil D’Souza. Though Milagres High school was a Boys’ institution for a number of years the management has opened its doors for girl students realising the importance of Women Empowerment from the year 2011, thus making the Milagres a co-Educational Entity. The Govt. of Karnataka upgraded the High School into a Pre-University with Commerce College o 5th July 1982 and Science section was added in 1999. Presently the Institution has fourteen sections comprising of (HEBA, CEBA, and SEBA) Commerce and (PCMC and PCMB) Science with a students strength of 878 and faculty members being 32. The Institution also has degree classes.

The Institution Day began with a solemn mass celebrated by Fr Michael Santhumayor- Administrator of Milagres Education Institutions, along with Fr Valerian D’Souza- Correspondent of the Institute and also the Parish priest-Milagres Church and Fr Gonsalves. In his homily addressed to the staff and students of Milagres Institutions, Fr Santhumayor said, “People worldwide often report God performing miracles through Mary (who served as the mother of Jesus Christ on Earth and is known popularly as Saint Mary or the Virgin Mary). Those miracles range from apparitions that encourage people to prayers for healing that are answered. If you ever feel distressed during your day — call upon our Lady — just say this simple prayer: ‘Mary, Mother of Jesus, please be a mother to me now.’ I must admit — this prayer will never fail you”.

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He further said, “In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect not to walk in her footsteps. With her for guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favor, you shall reach the goal. As a Patroness of our Institutions we need to adore Mary, follow her and seek blessings from her for our success in our academics and in our lives”. During the offertory, various food items were collected, which was later donated to a ashram.

The Mass was then followed by a assembly at the Institution campus-“Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy world”-A gentle, chaste, spotless maid, meek and mild, tender at heart, bows to the will of God i every step of her life. She is none other than the Patroness, Our Lady of Miracles under whose patronage Milagres Education Institutions function relentlessly since the last 168 years. The assembly began by invoking God’s blessings through a prayer song rendered by High school students, which was followed by welcome address by Avin Jibson. The dignitaries on the dais for the occasion were Chief guest- J F D’Souza- a multilingual writer and litteratur, Fr Michael Santhumayor- Administrator, Fr Valerian D’souza-Correspondent, Fr Santhosh Lobo-assistant Parish Priest-Milagres Church, John Pais-Principal, Milagres PUC, Avith Barboza-Vice Principal, Elveera Lasrado- Headmistress, Milagres Primary school, Ivan D’souza- VP, Milagres pastoral Council, Savil Mascarenhas-secretary-Milagres parish council, and Deepak D’Souza- VP-Milagres Alumni Association.

Fr Valerian D’Souza addressing the gathering said, “The school is striving hard to inculcate spiritual and moral values along with curricular and co-curricular activities. It aims at all-round development of every child brought under its care. Apart from this the institution gives importance to character formation which is the need of the society at present. We need to believe our Patroness, Our Lady of Miracles- she can work wonders and miracles and bring us success and good health. Let us run to Mary, and, as her little children, cast ourselves into her arms with a perfect confidence. Always stay close to this Heavenly Mother, because she is the sea to be crossed to reach the shores of Eternal Splendor. In trial or difficulty you should recourse to Mother Mary, whose glance alone is enough to dissipate every fear. Let our Patroness guide us all, bless us and protect us and lead us to be good children of God”.

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Chief guest JF D’Souza and Fr Santhumayor also spoke and conveyed their Institution Day greetings to the staff and students. The vote of thanks was delivered by Edric of IX std C. There was yet another formal function where all the teaching and non-teaching staff took part to celebrate “Institution Day”. The dignitaries for the function were Fr Michael Santhumayor, Fr Valerian D’Souza, Avith Barboza, Elveera Lasrado, Ivan D’Souza, John Pais, and Alwyn Rosario- Milagres Pastoral Council member. The function began with a prayer song by teacher Lethicia and group, followed by welcome address by Fr Michael Santhumayor.

“If you put all the love of all Mothers into one heart, it still would not equal the love of the heart of the Mother Mary for her children” says St Louis, and to show their appreciation to their Patroness, teachers group led by Veronica D’souza rendered a greeting song. In his address to the staff and teaching faculty, Fr Valerian D’souza said, ” You need to be like Our Mother Mary to your students- you need to give your students the love, care, knowledge, manners, better characters that they need. You need to be like their own mother. You need to show some love to your students. Just as there is not one among all the Blessed who loves God as Mary does, so there is no one, after God, who loves us as much as this most loving mother does. Furthermore, if we heaped together all the love that mothers have for their children, all the love of husbands and wives, all the love of all the angels and saints for their clients, it could never equal Mary’s love for even a single soul. Let us all follow in the footsteps of our Patroness and see that our institution caters to the needs of the students to make them better and God fearing citizens.”

To add some fun to the occasion, a game of Housie-Housie was also conducted, where the winners took home some cool-cash. The vote of thanks was proposed by teacher Jane D’Souza, and the grace before meals was said by teacher Mariette Menezes. The function was professionally compered by teacher Diana Sharal.

I end this column with the thought-provoking Milagres College anthem:

Alma mater! May these glorious
Year we spend with you
Send us forth as sons victorious
Of a mother true.

Underneath the sky blue dome.
In the city’as warm embrace.
Where to pray or work or roam,
Gather men of every race.
Stands our school, the home we love
where our happiest days we spend.
Watchful as a brooding dove,
Guiding like a faithful friend.

Strength ant courage, truth ant love
These we learn in hall ant field,
May these lessons evermore
Guard us like a sturdy shield,
Train us as true men of might,
Dutiful and straight ant swift
Ready to defend the right
And the failing to uplift.

Glory to the white and blue!
Raise the banner; let the sky
Envy us our azure hue
And the crest we proud fly!
Strength and learning be our goal
Ant with these we’ll boldly bear,
Deep within our very soul,
All it takes to do and dare.

Brief the year’situation for time is fleet
Soon we shall be gone from here;
School ant sport will all retreat
In a frenzied world of fear,
All our boyhood’situation joys will shrink
As to toil we daily raise;
Then of you dear school we’ll think
Think of you with misty eyes.

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  1. Thank you Alfie for all that information.

    Expanding on the statement in the article: “Milagres school was founded by Bishop Bernadin in 1848” –

    According to, Bernardo (Philip) Pontanova, O.C.D. was officially the Titular Bishop of Tanis. Appointed 6 May 1845, ordained bishop 5 Oct 1845, and died 13 Mar 1853. He appears to have been appointed simultaneously as the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese Of Quilon for exactly the same period. Archdiocese was Verapoly.

    At other places, the name appears as Bernardine of St. Agnes.

    There was at the time the ongoing conflict of jurisdiction between the the bishops appointed by the pope (vicars Apostolic of propaganda) and the bishops appointed by the Portuguese under the padroado rights. Some Catholics in Mangalore (essentially illiterate and led by the priests with differing loyalties) followed one jurisdiction while the others followed the second one.
    Bajpe/Pezar is a good example for the two camps of the Catholics at the time. Interesting too as all this happened just 50 years after the folks came back from Mysore (Tipu Sultan died 1799).

  2. So nice to read the historical background of the Milagres Church as well as Milagres School that I had never known before. Milagres School was always ggifted with some of the fine teachers, and the Parish was always supportive of the Education and therefore we as students were always able to pay a visit to the nearby church as often as possible.

    Memories of the school, the tiny class rooms flooded with students, the play ground facilities and many other extra-curricular studies including the weaving classes are all the golden memories of Milagres that I often recollect and remain proud. The Educational foundation of India up to the High School is so strong and deep, and that goes to prove how beneficial the school was to all of us that enabled us to pursue our future goals by leaving Mangalore at an early age.

    Milagres Church has always been a prominently located in the center of Hampankatta. Although the High School is now expanded to upper floors with modern facilities, the place is now surrounded by shops and office buildings, and of course with the growing traffic and growing population Milagres area is a busy place throughout the week. Fortunately the Milagres Church and the parking facility is still ideal.

    Thanks for sharing the story of Milagres.

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