HISTORY OF CARMEL CONVENT, BISHRAMPUR YEAR OF YEAR OF ESTABLISHMENT – 1963
Rev. Mother Alphonsus, the third Mother General of the congregation of Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa realized the great need of spreading Christ’s love and message to all parts of the India through our educational institutions and other apostolic activities. With this aim in mind she began to open convents in the Northern parts of India, Carmel Convent at Bishrampur is one of them. Bishrampur is an isolated village in Surguja Dist. of M.P. completely enveloped by lush forests, when a discovery of goal was made here this place became important, and people began to come from different parts of the country in search of work. A few people from Kerala also settled down here. The people faced the problem of giving good education to their children. They appealed to Mother Alphonsus to open a school at Bishrampur. Mother in her great zeal to bear witness to Christ, gave heed to this plea. On the 16th of July 1963 the convent was opened. The community consisted of three sisters namely Sr. Evangelist superior Sr. Magdela Head Mistress and Sr. Olivia to teach to teach in the school. People were extremely happy and welcomed the sisters but there were few of them who looked at them with suspicion. They were on the impression that the sisters have come to convert them to Christianity. The lamp was lit and it was the work of the sisters to keep it burning.
The sisters had to face much difficulties in the beginning. As there was no priest residing in Bishrampur they could not participate in the Eucharistic celebration daily. Twice a week a priest from Ambikapur – 28 k.m. away come to celebrate mass. Placing their trust in God, the sisters worked whole-heartedly. It was difficult for the sisters to converse with their students and the people as they did not know much Hindi. But very soon they picked up the language, children were very happy to be in school. The community began to grow in number and strength. The people in the neighbourhood were a friendly lot. The sisters kept contact with the local people, by visiting their homes occasionally. The people who did not accept the sisters in the beginning stage now changed their attitude and began to send their children to school. By now the people who are working in other collieries, away from Bishrampur also were keen on admitting their children in Carmel School. These children had to be kept in the boarding, and so two rooms were spared for this purpose.
In course of time it was felt that we should have our own convent and school so that they could expand their apostolic activities. Bishop Francis Ekka, Bishop of Kunkuri was very generous and kind in donating 3 acres of land to put up our own buildings. Trusting in providence the construction work was started.
In July 1971 the Covent and school were shifted to the new building. Now being close to the villages the sister were able to make occasional visits to the villages and they became conscious of the need for taking care of their spiritual and material needs. We started a Hindi Medium School up to the 5th class to cater to the needs of the poor children.
A dispensary was opened for the sick people. From close by villages the people came to the dispensary for their medicines. Sisters visited the far out villages and gave them medical aid and care. Sr. Liberate the next superior was able to start bigger boarding houses to accommodate more children who seek admission in the school. It was financed by Misserior. In April 1983 Sr. James took charge as the superior. We are trying to keep the flame burning brightly by our good works.The tree is already taken root may grow and flourish and give much fruit in our prayer.
Today the sisters are involved in both the Education and Social Apostolate. The English medium High School has co-education and is affiliated to ICSE Board. The Hindi medium school is up to Std. X and is under the State Board of Education. Since many students hail from remote areas scattered over Surguja District, the sisters run two hostels, one for the English medium School and a Tribal hostel for the Hindi medium students. Both admit only girls. One of the sisters, a qualified nurse is in charge of the Health Care Centre, which caters to patients from all the surrounding villages as well as the students in both the hostels.
The Villagers are taught to make their own herbal medicines.