|Convent of Jesus & Mary Murree|
|My sister's class. Senior Cambridge 1981|
|Those who searched for this webpage typed these keywords: photos photo picture alumni alumnus old students student record records murree india J&m jms cjm official website hill-station catholic protestant anglican church chapel Lawrence Memorial Asylum Murree 1860, Woodburn, Jesus and Mary School, St Thomas' College Murree Roman Catholic institution, Saint Denys' or Deny's Dennis Dany's Danys' Murreeys' Murree|
|For comments or queries: Dr Ali Jan
|Picture Gallery just added!|
|View Sonia's wonderful website on CJM. Great comments/ nostalgic memories and photographs with a section for past alumni as well|
|CJM in 1915 (Courtesy: CJM - Murree)
Virgil Miedema's A Glimpse Through the Forest
|Tip: Click on >> of the ad-banner to close it|
a poem by Hadya Saqlain
|Important Announcement 25/11/06: A fact-finding team comprising past students etc had a constructive meeting with the Principal Sister Mercedes in Murree on Saturday, 25th Nov 2006 and discussed various CJM related issues including the impending closure of the boarding in 2007 and preservation of the school, its history, legacy and traditions etc. Future activities by alumni themselves have been planned in Isb, Psh and Lhr etc and will be announced afterwards. Keep visiting this webpage for updates! (And feel free to comment!)|
|17/11/06: As you may probably have heard by now that the century-old boarding at CJM is going to close down in 2007 and from then onwards the school will only function as a day-school. CJM recently held its annual 'Fancy Fair'. A number of alumni who participated have informed me of the many changes that have taken place lately. Sadly, for instance, much of the school staff has been replaced, the furniture has been sold off and discarded. (As Faiza G Khan reports: "even the baby dorm beds. the Kg hall also has a partitioning now and its to be called yellow and pink nurseries") Few dorms have been converted into classrooms. However fortunately, the invaluable school record dating back from 1901, old photos, art pieces and many other items of historical worth are still preserved. Sr Mercedes (who taught Geography and Art) is in-charge at the moment as Principal and shall continue until the final transition to a full-fledged day school.
In view of the above developments, it is proposed that a RESOURCE CENTER shoud be set up in the school premises in order to store and preserve the existing old record & for its future display, use and sharing. Besides showcasing CJM's glorious history, the place could be used as a repository of sorts for past alumni and their families etc to add to the collection and send their photos/ memoirs and other material & also serve as an ex-CJM alumni office/ directory center for locating old classmates.
If you have any ideas or suggestions or any additional comments please email <[email protected]> because we could all do with a bit of your volunteer support and help. Thank you!
|28/4/06: Khadeeja Amir, a former pupil informs that CJM will no longer be a boarding school anymore. The boarding school shall close down in August 2007 and from then onwards CJM Murree would function as a day school only. Moreover, Sister Berchmans has now returned to Ireland as well, she adds.
(This is a very sad development indeed because the boarding school had a very long history and tradition & with its closure the whole legacy will come to an end...) - AJ
|Convent of Jesus & Mary Murree
In 1876, the Bishop of Agra bought a property named "Woodburn" on Pindi Point for the Religious of Jesus and Mary, a French order of Catholic sisters. The Convent of Jesus and Mary in Murree is still considered one of the best girls' boarding schools in Pakistan (formerly undivided British India before 1947).
Murree lies at approx 6000 ft. at the foot of Himalayas in Pakistan. It is an alpine hill-station in the North of Punjab province bordering the Kashmir region that lies on a horizontal ridge running in East-West direction.
Murree was established as a summer 'hill-station' for the British families in order to escape the heat of the Indian plains following the British annexation of the Punjab in 1849 from Sikh rule. After 1857 when the British Raj formally extended its sovereignty over India, a structured administration commenced in the Punjab. Murree became the summer capital of India and remained so until the end of nineteenth century. The creation of another summer capital at Simla (now in India) in the later half of the 19th century eased the load on Murree hills a bit. However it continued to serve its purpose.
The English had this urge to carve a bit of England in India. It was like any European town. One can still find a number of churches and chapels, 16 cemeteries, convents, a Mall and remains of a club and brewery etc apart from the many cantonments and old English settlements built in and around the town. One comes across many English sounding names of streets and houses. The local buildings and structures were built in typical English taste and many have survived the last 100-150 years. A sanatorium for sick soldiers and many hospitals were also built here.
Holy Trinity Church was one of the earliest buildings to be erected. It stands out as a prominent landmark in almost all the photos of Murree taken before the partition of India. Until 1875, it lay further away from the then main market or "lower bazaar" as it is now known. But when the 'Great Fire' burned down the market in 1875 a new Mall strip was built in its place in an area overlooked by the church grounds and parallel to the 'lower bazaar'. Over the following years, the Mall became the main market place and today has turned into a bustling business centre.
If you are an old student and have a story to share please get in touch with me.
I would be very interested in any photos of the school and to know what was life like back then. Everybody is welcome ofcourse but I am particularly interested in the period before partition of India. Please email <[email protected]> to request any look-ups from the old school records (dating from 1884 onwards) which can be arranged via the school administration.
Read below what some of the old alumni have to say!
|If you have a comment please email me <[email protected]> I would love to hear from you too. You have all my gratitude)
Dear Ali Jan, My father worked for the Attock Oil Co. at Khaur. I went there from the U.S.A in 1936 and first attended St Deny's School in Murree and later the J & M Convent. I went to Woodstock in Mussourie and St Denys School in Murree and last to the Covent JM. which I liked best. Before that I was at school here in California and after partition came back after some years in England to go to college and university here in California. I now live in the CA dessert near Palm Springs. email *****@******** (mail me for alumnus details)
Dear Ali Jan, ...The Convent looks exactly the same. I wonder if the front parlour is still in blue and white with the grand piano? The dorms were all in white with blue ribbons on the drapes. Never got a decent shower just old tin oval tubs, usually tepid water! The food was good and we had a choice.The names I remember off hand are... Rev. Mother Antonio, Mother Lawrence, Miss De Renzi and my peers... Gwen and Jean Thomas, Joan Travers whom I met in London many years later. Alumnus from 1936
Dear Ali Jan, ...We lived in 'Pindi until 1940..I had an older sister and brother..she attended the Jesus & Mary Convent in Murree (as had my mother previously!) and my brother went to St.Josephs in Bara Mullah....This same brother..Robert.. trained as a Brewer at the "Murree Brewery" in Pindi..so you see we have quite a connection! In 1938, when I was seven my mother became seriously ill and it was decided that I should join my sister for a few months at Jesus & Mary Convent in Murree. I wasn't unhappy there, just too young to be away from my parents and home. The nuns were very kind; in fact Mother Lawrence - "Lolly" to all of us - had been there even in my mother's days as well. She was like everyone's granny and was always there for us. Though I cannot say I particularly liked the Sunday mornings when it was castor-oil time; ("Stop being silly just hold your nose and swallow!") or having to walk down a very cold, long dark corridor at night to a bathroom inhabited by large hairy spiders. I also remember being very frightened during an earthquake, having to hurriedly put on dressing gown and slippers and march ("Form a crocodile please!") to the chapel. email ****@********* (mail me for alumnus details)
Dear Ali, I cannot believe I have found a site on my favourite school.I was a pupil from late 1961-1965.I was hoping to find someone who was at school at that time.My name was Cynthia Fatima Haq,My father came from Lahore,his name was Maqbool-ul-Haq and my mothers name was Pauline Brenda,she was from England.I also remember cod liver oil sunday mornings,and was talking to my daughter about that a couple of days ago.I also remember an elderly gentleman coming to the school with a big trunk on his head and when he opened it,it was full of cakes that we used to buy from him.If by any chance you have any photos from that time ,it would be lovely to see them online or even to get in touch with girls from that era.I will be keeping an eye on this site as it is wonderful to find it. Cynthia email *******@********* (mail me for alumnus details)
Dear Ali Jan, Recently, as a newcomer to broad band, I stumbled upon your web page and was quite overcome with emotion and delight on finding a lovely photograph of my old school, together with the history and emails that went with it. My name is Jane and I am the only child of George and Frances Allen. I was born in 1932, in Quetta, where my father was a sergeant at the time. We were fortunate to survive the earthquake on 31st May 1935. After the subsequent evacuation, and three months leave, we returned to Rawal Pindi where we spent about four years. My mother and I enjoyed our summer months in Murree and I was privileged to join the Jesus and Mary Convent for two years after the outbreak of the war. Jane Frances-Allen
Dear ali! where did u find that long lost school foto, incredible , i stared at it for so long , brought back so many memories especially the day it was snapped , thanks .i kind of miss those days , and to think that all of us in those days used to dream about getting out of those walls , used to call it CJM central jail murree! (convent of jesus and mary).*******@**********
Dear Ali Jan, ...Thank you for creating this web presence for my old school. The photos are so evocative and bring back wonderful memories. I went to CJM in 1951-54 when my father was in the army.... ****@******* (mail me for alumnus details)
Dear Ali Jan. My mother Beryl Mary Hart. was born in kanpur 1911, and attended the Jesus and Mary convent Murree hills, I have no idea how old she was when she went there, I do know she stayed on after graduating to teach kindergarten. My Grandfather (Oswald John Hart) was given to the Franciscan monks at birth, We know his Father was British but have no information on his Mother. I do not know the date of his death but it must have been sometime around 1935.I remember my mother telling me he worked for the British post office. I do remember her telling me a lot about her life there, and who were her favourite nuns, and she used to tell me that high up in the convent there was a small window where you could see the snow capped mountains, and that she used to pick apples from the orchard and get into trouble for it.
My mother died 16 years ago, she was the eldest of 15 children, my grandmother, we assume came from Portuguese background as her surname was da Vida (not sure of the spelling) and my grandfather worked for the post office, I know that because I remember my mother telling me that, as a child she went with him to check the telegraph lines. Is it possible that they lived at the foot of the Murree hills? because mum used to tell me that she used to go round and round up into the hills to get to school and that she was not able to go home very often because it took so long.
I am the youngest (52) of 9 children, and my mother's story is one of great courage, compassion, faith, and unfaltering love for her children. Not a day goes by when she is not in my thoughts, i loved her and miss her so much. Thank you for taking the time to listen. Kindest regards - Margaret O'Reilly <****@*******>
Dear Ali Jan, My father joined the Indian Army in 1928. He was stationed at Peshawar for several years and then Rawalpindi so I got to know both places quite well.
I was a pupil at the Convent of Jesus and Mary in Murree from early in 1928 until 1936. I had three sisters who also went there. We all have happy memoties of our time there.
We went to mass every morning before breakfast and to the church in town for a Sunday evening service. Not being Catholics we were told just to sit at the back. However we found the services interesting and enjoyed the music and singing.
Mother Lawrence - affectionately known as Lolly - was in charge of the sick while I was there. If you went to sick parade in the morning you were given a dose of epsom salts mixed in warm water for whatever bothered you (ugh). In consequence the sick parade was not very long. Mother Bede opened the shop on Sunday afternoon where we could buy treats only after buying toothpaste and things we needed and also if we had enough money in our account. All the nuns had their classes and duties and were kept busy. Among the lay teachers there were MIss De Renzi and Miss O'Flynn. They had living quarters down the hill near the lower play ground.
I went to England in 1936 trained as a nurse and then joined the Q. A's (British army nursing service) in the second world war. I eventually arrived back in India nursing in an army hospital near Madras. I met my husband there. My home was in Meerut then so we went there to be married in St John's Church. My husband was a Canadian surgeon and so after the war we came to Canada and settled in Victoria B.C. In 1981 I went back to India with one of my sisters. We visited the Convent in Delhi. They did not seem quite sure what to do with these two old pupils so they sent the oldest nun that they had to cope with us. She turned out to be Mother Clement one of our teachers so we were able to be brought up to date on what had happened to everyone. The Reverent mother and other nuns came and told us that they were glad that we had come.
I was interested to hear about your work. I always remember the cemetry down in the valley that we used to see on the walk too and from the Convent.
My Email address is <******@****.ca>
I am attaching some photos that you might find interesting - Peggy McGill nee Haynes
Dear Mr Jan, First of all let me congratulate you on the excellent task that you have undertaken! I too am a graduate from CJM school 1991-1999. the years that i have spent there are the most cherished ones and now as i look back at my fond memories they simply seemed pressed between the pages of my mind....well that was until i came across your cjm website and read what all the alumni had to share. Also i have pictures of old version of murree convent ( they were post cards sold to us while we were in the convent) if u dont have them i shall share those with u aswell. ********@********* (alumnus name concealed on request)
Hi Ali Jan, My name is Ayesha Kazmi ( was Ayesha Kamal). I went to CJM in the late 70s and was the SC class of "79. I was so thrilled to find your website and do congratulate you on a job well done!!! I am going to dig into my treasure chest of photos and will be sending you some great pics from the days of Saturday night fever and Star Wars.I live in islamabad for the last couple of years and am so caught up in day to day life that have not visited the school. I really want to go there before the boarding closes. I feel sad just writing that. Are there any last reunions of CJM alumni planned before the closing.....do let me know would love to go and take my daughter Maryam who is 17. As promised will send photos soon. Could I get contact information on Ms. Couttes my English Teacher...Thx. Ayesha *******@********
Hello, The purpose of this e mail is to let you know that I had once written a poem on CJM which im now sending to you.... This poem is not even half of how deeply I feel for that place. A friend told me you were looking for scenic pictures of CJM. I happen to have one particular picture which I took on a cold november morning from outside the blue dormitory. Its one of those chilly days when sister clotilda is rining the bell, coaxing us to wake up to see the white snow... I remember the awe on everyones face when they stood at the window to find the trees all white!!! Fortunately I captured that moment... Hadya Saqlain ******@*******
Dear Dr Ali Jan, I was a student at the Lawrence College in the late 70's and early 80's and my sister studied at good old CJM during this period as well. Someone was asking me about a good school to send their niece to in Pakistan and I searched for CJM on the net and that is where I found your webpages. (Unfortunately during the search I remembered that CJM doesnt have a hostel anymore....) Your page brings back a lot of memories as I used to walk with my mother as a lad of 7 up that steep incline and was greeted by Sister Vienney who was one of the most caring people I have met. She always had some cake or 'school toffee' for me, which made me like her even more!
Nice to see the photographs of the buildings. I haven't been able to revisit the place as I get too depressed when I see what has become of Murree in the past few years.
I too am a doctor and working at The Royal London Hospital at present. Please do get in touch if I can be of any service.
Mr Tahawar Rana, FRCS, Clinical Fellow, Renal Transplant Surgery, The Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, London. **********@********
Dear Ali, (when you visit the school) do take photos of the oxford villa and the building with senior classrooms overlooking the hockey field. the narrow, winding path with steps that lead to the old graveyard and to the hockey field. I've got a lump in my throat when i write this all down and thinking of all those carefree, lovelydays. I always thought if i had a daughter i would send her there but rekhmina was born too late ! it was more of an institution than regular school. the emphasis was on character building and to churn out poised young ladies who were far from snobs and were confident with what they were...about well known cjm girls, well benazir also studied at karachi cjm , and the famous woman human rights lawer , asma jehangir, she was at lahore cjm, but murree girls who rose to distinction...most of murree girls came from NWFP, and Sr.Vianney once told us they thought of closing the boarding after 1947 when all the Bitish and Indian girls left but men from Hoti, Toru, Mardan and Tribal Areas, came and said that if they closed it down what would happen to their daughters . They didnt have facilities for good education in their areas and this was the only school they were willing to send their girls to. and they assured them that the school would have enough students from their families that it wouldnt go bankrupt! so the contribution of the school was that it did produce very well turned out girls from the Frontier. (ex CJM Alumni Ghani Khan and Wali Khan's daughters/ Amongst the elite: Wali Swat's Family/ Chitral Royal Family etc. Then Mariana Babar the journalist, Few Cambridge scholars. S Akbar Ahmed's wife and family etc)
Supposing u get to tour around the premises and u get to see the the quarters where the nuns sit around, like their lounge, see if u notice a rug piece a hand knotted one, which our senior class presented to them as a farewell present. it is signed at the back by all of us. It was the class of '81. u cud mention the rug to sr mercedes if u think its appropriate, she'll definitely remember. she was my geography teacher, and when i finished 8 and came to class 9 and dropped geog, we were both delighted as i was terrible at it, remebering all the trade winds, and details about australia and newzealand, urgh !! she might not remeber me though. but ask her if she remebers class of 81. (the new block where the art room was..my love for art started from there. Do see the infirmary i was sick and stayed there once. everything theres preserved like it was a century ago)
i did go visit the school once, met sr. clotelda (..a native nun who was incharge of our dormitories) and miss couttes, and sr.berchman. o one more thing , if u get to c the dormitories, i was in yellow dorm once and in red dormitory when a senior, didnt get to be in the blue one as there werent enough places in it. my bed was the first one on the left in red dorm. Im quite excited about your murree trip. will u plz ask where sr vianney is these days? Rumina <******@********>
Dear Sir, My name is Robert van Bentum, son of Joan Mellor born in Murree in 1929, who is the daughter of Helena Brown or Helena Cowmeadow born in Murree in 1908. My grandmother is known by either her real father's name or her stepfather's name. Gran used to teach at the Convent's school, and my mother went to school there. I've been working on my family tree, and made a lot of progress on the Yorkshire branch (my grandfather Herbert Mellor from Huddersfield, married Helena Brown in 1927, and an officer in the RIASC), but unable to proceed on our links with Pakistan. They are not to be found in English records, and so far I've had no reply from the Convent to several e-mails asking for information, so maybe you can help me out.
All we know about my grandmother's parents is their names: William Brown and Tilly. For William we have a profession: pleader at the Rawalpindi court. We also know that he died in 1908, shortly before my grandmother was born, and that there also is a son Eric from 1906 (whereabouts now totally unknown). Tilly, no maiden name, remarried a Mr. Cowmeadow (no first name), and they had at least one child: Sydney born in 1916 (whereabouts now totally unknown). Robert <******@********>
Current Query Status: Old school admission records of Joan MELLOR, pupil at CJM Murree 1930s-40s located & despatched to Mr Bentum.
Dear Ali, First of all I would like to wish you and, everyone connected with Convent of Jesus and Mary, Murree - "A very Happy New Year." I am Shahanshah Ahmad, I joined CJM in 1965 and passed Senior Cambridge in 1974.
The closure of "Boarding part" of the school is a very sad news, as my childhood is deeply rooted with everything of the school - the sight of the daisies, the sound of the cuckoo, the rustling of the leaves, the first snow-fall and the bare trees all bring back sweet memories of the school. I remember all my wonderful friends and the beautiful shared moments together; including Miss (Mrs)Walsh who gave us singing and piano lessons.
Cynthia Haq was in my class- I would like to get in touch with her and with anyone else Senior or Junior are welcome to write to me. I am a doctor and running my own school at primary level - trying to instill all the wonderful things I learnt as a child in school including character building, hand writing, poetry and library reading. Shahanshah Ahmad <e-mail>
Dear Ali, It's seems a shame for such an old institution to take this action. The report seems to
indicate that the closure of the boarding is not being forced by government. Are funds lacking to keep the boarding open? It seems as though times are changing, and the need for the boarding to stay open is no longer there. I am assuming the school will still be open for students. O'Neil Peters, Toronto, Canada <e-mail>
My name is Ayeshah Alam. I am personally very upset with the closure of the boarding school. I was there and I think it is such a shame as my happiest childhood years were spent there. I know I inherited my fighting survival spirit because of the school. Most of what is good that I have learned and carry forward in my life has been a direct influence of the years spent there. If there is anything I can do to help with keeping the school open. I know Sr. Mercedes. She taught me for a few years and I can understand their dilemma. I'm sure it must have been a very difficult decision for them. if someone can come up with a solution that works for everyone then I would certainly like to do my part in it. Thank you for your concern and interest. Ayeshah Alam, Karachi. <e-mail>
As someone who still has fond memories, nearly 70 years later, of the time spent as a boarder at CJM (1937-1940), I feel so sad to think that soon those 'dorms' will no longer be filled with noisy, giggling, mischievous young girls. Girls who when missing their mothers were comforted and cared for by those dedicated nuns; Mother Lawrence, "Lolly" and others were always there for us, whilst at the same time teaching us to be independent and strong. Coming from varied backgrounds and religions we learned to live together in harmony. So many girls throughout Pakistan will now miss this wonderful experience. My late mother, older sister and cousins were all ex-pupils and would, I know, have gladly petitioned against the Boarding closure. For all of us it was a secure, happy, and unforgettable time.
Angela Middleton (nee Quigley), New Zealand <e-mail>
I read with great sadness of the decision to close the Jesus and Mary Convent boarding. I read the comment from Sister Mercedes saying change is inevitable, indeed this may be the case but that does not make it either, right or a good thing.
My mother (Beryle Hart, pupil from 1920) spoke so many times about her time at the convent and I have passed on the stories to my children and grandchildren. For us the school is a very precious part of our history even though I have never been to your country, I would like to think that one day either my children or grandchildren will have the opportunity to visit, and see it for themselves. I sincerely hope that others take notice and realise the error in its closure. Margaret O'Reilly, United Kingdom <e-mail>
It would be a real disaster for me as the boarding school is part of the family history. My mother Joan Mary Elizabeth Cowmeadow/Brown, was brought up there. Her Father died just four months before she was born and my grandmother brought her to the nuns in Murree in 1911. From there too she was married and I was born in Murree and went to school there too. My mother also taught there so for me it is history.
Moreover boarding schools are sometimes the only way girls can get a good education. They live in small villages quite a way from the school and I remember (vaguely) when I was a student there in those days 1935 and onwards that there were also native students. Do hope that the nuns will reconsider as they have contributed a great deal to the education of young Indian and Pakistan children. Wishing you success in your attempts to have the decision reversed.
My son Michel went on holiday 5 years ago to India/ Pakistan. One of the stops was Rawalpindi, I told him that Murree was close, so he rented a taxi and went there. He found the Convent and Michel took several photos...he did ask to see any records and he was told that they were no longer available! Joan Mellor, The Netherlands <e-mail>
It was very kind of you to send me the Murree convent records of my mother and aunt from 1914. They were only at the convent for a very short time. At the outbreak of the Great War my Grandfather (Captain Job Clarke) went on active duty and sent his family back to South Africa. He died a few months later of dysentery in a hospital in Colaba, Mumbai. He was buried in Sewri Cemetery. Apparently the site of his grave is overgrown and has not been maintained. My grandmother got some kind of a lump sum payment from the Army and that was enough for the family to survive in Cape Town until the children were grown. My mother (Zoraidah) married a South African and I was born in 1932. Dr E D F Williams, Finland <e-mail>
It is a shame they want to close the CJM boarding. The education there was excellent and it was a safe harbor for growing girls. They gave us a background in ethics, culture and prepared us for life outside the Convent. I have never met any of my old schoolmates who were not happy there and have special memories of the fun times we had.
I was the only American at the school when I went there 1940-1943. I had previously been in Woodstock and St. Denys' for 3 years. The nuns were very kind to me and no one made fun of my accent as they had done in St. Denys'. After leaving CJM I went back several times to visit my favourite nun, Rev. Mother Antonio. She died shortly after she gave me an Irish card prayer that she said she had kept all her life. I have it to this day.
Mary Keller-Peterson, USA <e-mail>
I joined J&M Murree in 1944 and completed my Senior Cambridge in 1953. I feel a deep sense of nostalgia when I reflect upon those lovely days. We were taught to be self-confident. I was sad to read the report about the boarding closure in The News. I can perhaps understand why they finally chose to take this course, as Sister Andrew once told me some years ago that it was getting difficult to find good teaching talent and the same level of dedication in teachers as compared to previous years. Many of my peers were from the Frontier. Some of the names I can recall are: Kishwar Khanzada, Arif Sahibzada, Naseem Aslam, Shandana and Zareen Ghani Khan, Nasreen Wali Khan, Zakia Sherafzal, Gwen Middlecoat, Daphene Begum etc. I still carry a photo album from the days I was in the boarding school. Begum Naseem Rauf Khan (Chimma) Peshawar, Pakistan
I read with great sadness the intended closure of the boarding. I was not a pupil there myself as I with my sisters came back to England aged 7 in 1947 to board here. A chilly experience!
Of course we knew of the wonderful CJM though we summered in Nathia Gali. It will be just so sad if it closes, specially as it has such a healthy number of pupils so I hope they can keep it open with its marvellous traditions and records for the future of all the splendid girls in Pakistan. Elspeth Woolcott, United Kingdom <e-mail>
My mother hated boarding school, but I dont think she ever realised how it had moulded her into a very independant woman with an education she was proud of. When she came to England after independance and was looked down on for being part Indian, she was educated enough to see ignorance for what it was, and rise above it. She had many trials in her life but always came through them. I wonder if she would have been able to cope so well if it had not been for her early grounding at a boarding school.
I would say if the Jesus and Mary school wish to lose their standing as schools of excellence they are going the right way about it. They are sacrificing quality for quantity. This has been done in many schools in England with disastrous results.
There is also a more sensitive issue with boarding schools, a percentage of the children who attend them come from broken families, my mother's parents had seperated when she and her sister went to boarding school. Other children were orphans or maybe only had one parent. These people will in effect be excluding children who need them, which does not say a lot for their religion.
The ruling body who run these schools have lost their way, where is the pride in what has been built up by generations before them, they have replaced it with greed for money. Annabelle Sutton, United Kingdom <e-mail>
I attended J&M convent from 1944-1953. I became a missionary nun at the age of 22. I went to Rome for further studies-Scripture and theology. When I returned to Pakistan I was sent to work in the Thul desert as head of a school of village children. We became self sufficient by running our own poultry farm and veg gardens. Our part of the desert bloomed! All it needed was Water. We had wildboar that came in and did a lot of damage to the village crops. Cotton and wheat were the main crops. We also had a lot of smaller crops,like Water mellon and gram and a few others. I am a lover of nature, and enjoyed every bit of my stay in Mariakhel (Marys Village) in the little town of Piplan in Thul. The village consisted of about 20 Christian families a chapel, a school a priests house and a small convent. The village dwellings were mud huts, but so well made. Life was primative but happy. After about 6yrs. I was transfered to a big city, Lahore, to work in the school there. It was such a big change. I later went to Sialkot as head of the school there. I left the convent in 1989 Dec. and came to the UK. I wish I had your ability to write a book. I received a really nice letter from Kishwar. I must get down to writing to her. Thank you for the photo. It brings back many memories. Give my regards to Naseem, we called ourselves "the big four". PS. I would like to trace the family of Eustace Agustus Hampton Middlecoat born 16th August 1886 in Poona India. Gwen Middlecoat, UK <e-mail>
As I turn 60 this year, I am looking at my past and trying to recap.
I went to the convent at the age of 5 (1952)and to my recollection stayed there till I was I think 10 years old.
I have very fond recollections of my stay at the school even spending all my summer holidays there and only going home at christmas. I was always in trouble as a young girl and was made to sit outside mother superiors office on many occasions. I adored being at boarding school and on reading was most perturbed to hear that it would be closing down.
As I was quite young there, the only photo I have is of me making my holy communion. I would love to see more photos of the school to bring back some of my happy memories and perhaps I might contact classmates.
My maiden name was Graham or McElligot though I think most likely Graham. I was born in 1947 in calcutta but my mother moved to Pakistan during partition. My mother died 8 years ago...We moved to Karachi where my father worked for American Express. As he was high up in this business I was sent to boarding school in Murree at approximate age 4 1/2 years to 5 years and stayed there I think till I was approx. 10 years when I went to St Josephs convent in Karachi as a day pupil. My name on the school records could be Graham or McElligott. I remember having a classmate named Francis? I remember walking to church every Sunday when we would as girls espy the boys who would be coming to church as well. I dont know the name of the boys school.
My husband and I are also turning 60 this year, so I am doing the ame and trying to recap my past which is very complicated. My mother's mother died giving birth to her and she was put in Lorecto Convent in calcutta in 1919 to be brought up by the nuns... I am trying to find out about my grandfather as well. I myself do not have a birth certificate, A reply to this would be much appreciated. Thanks Elaine Fidler <via e-mail>
Dear Mr. Jan, I came across the wonderful 'C.J.M. Murree' website sometime ago. First of all, thank you very much for starting and maintaining this great website.
I did my Senior Cambridge from C.J.M. Lahore, but spent six months at C.J.M. Murree as a teacher while awaiting my B.Sc. result (June -December 1992). I taught Mathematics to the O'Levels, Science to class 7th and English to classes 7th and 4th. I also took sports.
For most people it would be hard to imagine living in a fairy tale, but for me the six months I spent at the C.J.M. were as if I was living in a fairy tale: the castle-like school building with the clouds behind it and its red roof-tops, the surrounding forest, the ethereal sunsets, and the wonderful, sweet children and excellent colleagues. The time there reminded me of the poet's 'Golden Age' and 'Utopia'. Everywhere I looked, I found only goodness and beauty; not to forget devotion. It is an unforgettable experience, and one that I will always cherish.
The grooming and the confidence that the C.J.M. has imparted to me has proved invaluable in my career. It is always with a pang of sadness that I will remember the closing down of the boarding school, but let us all hope that the newly introduced Intermediate classes, and boys up to class 3 (even though Plato once said of this species, "Out of all the animals, the boy is the most unmanegeable."), will be a successful endeavour. Best Regards,
Dr. Zunaira Ansari, Postdoctoral Researcher, Max-Born Institut, Berlin. <via e-mail>
Hi. My name is Munaza Shamshad (formerly Munaza Akhtar) and I am an alumnus of CJM (1977-1982). I stumbled upon your website while searching for any links/memories to my beloved school. Like everyone I have been deeply saddened by this tremendous loss . I commend you and Sonia Farooq for making the effort to keep our memories alive. The need to do that has taken on more importance in our lives after the school closure. I am now married, a physician and mother of three but somehow 'cannot get over it'. It would be nice to have an organized alumni page where those interested can leave their contact info to locate friends. Also maybe a chat room ?
Let me know of any updates. Thanks again, Munaza Shamshad(Akhtar) FL. USA ,<via e-mail>
Dear Ali . Looking at the CJM website brought back such wonderful bitter sweet memories. I feel stuck in the past though so much has changed and happened in my life. I feel that great Convent bond every time I meet an Ex CJMite. That was the biggest gift I received from being there in my formative years. I was in the graduating class of 1974....right there with Shahanshah Ahmad...Taj Sherazi whom I happened to meet randomly in Karachi last summer. I am in touch with my beloved friends Laila Khalid Waheed and Roxane Akhthar and Saba Bokhari all from the class of 1974 .At this present time I would love to get in touch with Shahanshah Ahmad could you possibly forward me her email.
By the way I am Zeba Syed and I must confess I am the person who disposed off Sister Clotilda's bell.....she would ring in my ear in the Red Dormitory. A secret that lay close to heart for all these years...I was born a rebel. It was the unsolved mystery about the disappearing bell. I was the culprit!!! Regards , Zeba
My name is Yasmin Karim and I was in Murree about 1966 to 1972. Well what can I say the tears have still not stopped streaming down my face on hearing the dreadful news about the convent coming to an end as a boarding school. After I graduated I left for Perth, Western Australia. As I was just saying in an email to Saba bokhari I still miss the place like I did the day I left. It was so heart warming to read all the emails on your website and once again hear the familiar sound of names and favourite things we did quite often thinking we were so hard done by!!! It is amazing to read and see that no matter when someone attended Murree we all have the same memories in common, especially Sr Clotilda and her very loud bell and those cold early mornings!! I blame her for now wanting to sleep in every chance I get even at 52years of age!!
And ofcourse Zeba Sayeed stealing that bell well I wasn’t one bit surprised to hear that one, only wish I had had the guts to do it first…as they would say in Austrlia Zeba…Good on ya!!!
For those girls who remember Sr Immaculata (now known as Elaine Shelton). She and I are in touch she lives in Melbourne and is happily married. Everyone is right about the bond CJMite girls have, especially the Murree ones …my sister Mehroon Karim whom all will remember is now in Dubai.
I thought so fondly of you Gwen when I read your email…in your days as a CJM nun you were the sweetest and kindest person we girls had the opportunity to know especially in times when we were so alone and often sad.
Difficult though those days seemed to us it is very obvious that they were heart warming days and ones none of us will ever forget. I pray that things workout in some way that the memory of the Murree convent is preserved.
Is there a chat room somewhere where we can all talk to each other?
I do have some good photos of my time there and a really old one of the church before all the attached buildings went up covered in snow. I will send them to you soon. All the best. Yasmin Karim 1966 - 1972 <[email protected]>
|History: "All Jesus and Mary Schools in Pakistan belong to the Congregation of Jesus and Mary, founded in Lyon, France in 1818, by a French woman named St. Claudine Thevenet. The Sisters of Jesus & Mary first went from Lyon (France) to the Indian Sub-continent in 1842, and opened a school in Agra. But the Pakistani section of the Congregation only came into existence in 1955 – eight years after the partition of India into two independent nations in August of 1947.
In 1856 the Congregation opened a school in Sialkot, which came within Pakistan at the time of partition, as also did the Convents of Lahore and Murree. Consequently, the history of the Religious of Jesus & Mary in Pakistan begins before the creation of Pakistan. Today, at the start of the third millennium there are eight Convents in Pakistan.
Sialkot (1856), Murree (1876), Lahore (1876), Mariakhel / Mianwali (1956), Karachi (1957), Islamabad (1979), Lahore / Shadbagh (1986), Toba Tek Singh (1999)"
Sr. Marie-Cecile Osborne RJM
Congregation of Jesus & Mary in Pakistan (Source: cjm pakistan)
|Additional Links of Interest:
CJM Picture Gallery
Those days shall never come back - a poem by Hadya Saqlain
Sonia's website about CJM
The English Cemeteries in Murree by Dr Ali Jan
Mystery of the Tomb of Mary by Dr Ali Jan
Presentation Convent School Murree
St Denys' School Murree
|Click on photo to enter Picture Gallery|
|Click to view report|
|Text & Research: Ali Jan|
|Important Announcement: 19/11/07: Requiescat In Pace -- Sister Clotilda passed away on 19 Nov 2007. Very sad to announce this news. She will always be remembered for her warmth and kindness, in her life and in her work. A rememberance cermony was also held in school in her honour.|
|I realise a site update is long overdue as tons of new interesting messages & photos have been piling over the last few weeks. I assure everyone that they will all be published shortly and I shall address your queries one by one as well. Thank you for writing (& being patient). The school has now got a "Guest Log Book" for alumni in the main office. Past students are encouraged to please fill it and leave a contact address/ phone etc and send in your memoirs too. Sister Mercedes deserves all the praise for this wonderful initiative. Seasons Greetings 2008 and Merry Xmas!|