Our History

Loreto Convent, Asansol is a Catholic Institution under the management of Asansol Loreto Educational Society - represented by the Sisters of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto Sisters). The school is recognised by the Education Department of the Government of West Bengal and is under the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (Anglo-Indian Board of West Bengal) and affiliated to the Indian Council for Secondary Education (I.C.S.E. and I.S.C.) Loreto Asansol has completed over 138 years in the educational service of the region. In order to understand the story of Loreto Asansol, one must know a little about Mary Ward, Foundress of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose Sisters, popularly known as 'Loreto', manage the school.

Our History

In 1877, Loreto Convent Asansol opened in a small three-roomed, thatched bungalow situated at St. Patrick’s end of the present hockey field. The nuns came in response to a request from the Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Jacques S.J. Asansol had become an important railway centre and had a large Catholic population and a bungalow was available at a low price. The Jesuit Fathers had built a fine Church and had moved their Scholastics into the property which is now St. Patrick’s School, so the spiritual needs of the Sisters would be served, who would in turn serve the educational needs of the local Community. At this time Mother Delphine Hart was very worried about one of her community who suffered from persistent fever. A change of air was prescribed but the invalid was not able for the journey to the healthier climates of either Darjeeling or Hazaribagh where Convents were already established. It was winter when Mother Delphine set out to see the property, accompanied by the delicate sister. She was impressed and felt that it was an answer to her prayer and an opportunity not to be missed. Furthermore she was pleased to find that the climate seemed to be healthy, with its keen, dry, un- polluted air and expanses of green paddy fields.

Soon five sisters arrived from Calcutta and began to hold classes in the ground floor of the Presbytery on the 7th Feb, 1877. It was a day school with 35 children. Soon it was attracting pupils from farther afield. The zealous Pastor, Fr. Jacques, saw the need for a boarding school so he set to work again. The railway company, which benefitted most from the presence of a school, made land available, about a mile from the Church. Government gave a grant to help in the construction of a building. Fr. Jacques who was architect and foreman of the work chose to build the facing the great Railway Tank, below which sloped acres of woodland and in which nestled two natural reservoirs. He personally supervised the making of the bricks and saw to it that the building had the benefit of a south breeze and deep verandahs to shelter it from the sun, keeping in mind Asansol’s very high temperature in the summer months. By 1885 the Convent was completed – a three storey building, imposing and massive, with walls four ft. thick, spacious verandahs, numerous archways, doors and windows.

This was “The house that JACK BUILT” -to this day, a monument to the great architect, Fr. Jacques S.J. So healthy and above all so quiet did the place prove with its extensive grounds and facilities conducive to prayer and spiritual growth that in 1880, Mother Delphine transferred the Novitiate to the new Convent in Asansol where it remained until 1903, when it was transferred to Darjeeling. The Jesuit Scholasticate had already moved to St. Mary’s, Kurseong and the Christian Brothers took over their property and began St. Patrick’s School there. Thus a large section of the Catholic population was being served educationally. There was great joy in the surrounding districts in 1885 when the boarding school opened after a third storey had been added. However the top storey was damaged after an earthquake and had to be demolished in 1897. In 1909, to accommodate the increased demand for boarding facilities an East Wing consisting of classrooms and dormitories was built at right angles to the main building. In 1928, a West Wing was added, containing a Concert Hall, Music Rooms, Children’s Dining Room, Dormitory and Dressing Room. It was now a full-fledged Boarding School. Unfortunately no records are available for these early years. Presumably they were lost or destroyed when the whole building and campus was taken over by the military towards the end of the Second World War from 1942 to 1946. Important items, we are told were stored in the Chapel when the Community and Boarders evacuated to Simla. They found everything in disarray on their return. Only a few School Log Books dating from 1930 could be found. Up to that time our only source of information is in the cemetery, where we get the names of the pioneering Sisters who laboured and died here R.I.P.

Mothers General who guided and inspired the Institute from 1861 to 1935 and under whose leadership Loreto Convent, Asansol came to birth in 1875 and was nurtured.