Jesuit Calcutta Mission in West Bengal








1 9 5 8
JDR 1958
Looking back at the last 25 to 50 years since 1948, I wish to share the images reminding me of the various missions and ministries which kept me busy during 28 years in the Lord's vineyard in Bengal.

Avec un recul de 25 à 50 ans depuis 1948, je voudrais présenter les images souvenirs de ces différentes missions et ministères qui m'ont occupé pendant 28 ans dans la vigne du Seigneur au Bengale.

Black and white pictures are no doubt dated but they all the same succeed in suggesting the particular atmosphere of that period of time just after Independence (August 15, 1947). How times have changed since then!

Les photos en noir et blanc sont évidemment datées mais elles parviennent quand même à communiquer l'ambiance particulière de l'époque, juste après l'Indépendance (15 août 1947). Comme les temps ont changé depuis!

Jean De Ridder sj


1 9 7 5


JJDR chess
JJDR Kailua


2 0 0 5

Baptême de lair 2 Marie b


M A P S  O F  I N D I A

mindia 3b


Map of Indiab

kolkata map 2b







The flag is a horizontal tricolour in equal proportion of deep saffron (kesari) on the top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom. The ratio of the width to the length of the flag is two to three. In the centre of the white band, is a wheel in navy blue to indicate the Dharma Chakra, the wheel of law in the Sarnath Lion Capital. Its diameter approximates the width of the white band and it has 24 spokes. The saffron stands for courage, sacrifice and the spirit of renunciation; the white, for purity and truth; the green for faith and fertility.


lcutta Province Assembly

May 25, 2008

Dhyan Ashram, Konchowki

24 Parganas

 Calsj 100708 b





10:33 Posted by Jean-Jacques in General | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |


Calcutta City modern expansion

kolkata map


A city of Joy and Love, Grandeur and Glory... Kolkata alias Calcutta is full of life and bustle, verging on the chaotic as traditional occupations rub shoulders with ultra modern industries.

Kolkata is India's second largest city and the capital of West Bengal, situated at the point where the Indian subcontinent starts to narrow into the triangular southern peninsula. Formerly the capital of British India (1772-1912), it is a city with a great deal of charm - its imperial monuments, strong cultural and religious flavour leaves an indelible impression on the visitor

Cal Infinity Tower b
Cal Sarat Bose b
Calcutta street2



Calcutta street b



taxi collectif
Balur Bridge


Howrah bridge3 b

Kali temple 2




victoria memorial
Built entirely of white marble, Victoria Memorial, one of INDIA's most beautiful monuments,  represent a unique combination of INDIA's classical European architecture and Mughal motifs. The domed and white marble museum sprawls over 64 acres and is set in a landscaped garden at the southern side of the Kolkata's maidan (ground) near Jawaharlal Nehru Road.

Designed after the Taj Mahal in Agra, it has a vast collection of pictures, statues, manuscripts, letters etc, relating to the Nawabi and British times in Bengal. The memorial was the inspiration of Lord Curzon, who in 1901, felt that his recently departed Queen Victoria, required a suitable monument to her memory.  She was the first British monarch to be awarded the title of Queen-Empress of India in 1877.

The building was designed by Sir William Emerson President of the British Institute of Architects. Vincent J Esch, an assistant Engineer in the Bengal Nagpur Railway, was the superintending architect and the work of construction was entrusted to  Messrs Martin and Co of Kolkata. Lord Redesdale and Sir David Prain designed the gardens. Though the construction of the building substructure began in 1904, it was completed only after 20 years at a cost of 10 million rupees. The Prince of Wales formally inaugurated it in 1921.

Set amid 64 acres of lawns, fountains, and herbaceous borders this greatest symbol of the British, houses artifacts illustrating British roots in India. The building covers an area of 103.02m by 69.49m.

196080cft of Makrana marble was brought  from Jodhpur, Rajasthan for its construction. It has been calculated that a goods train about 27 km long would be required to bring the entire building materials needed for the memorial. Statues of former British rulers sculpted by Italian craftsmen that used to adorn street corners all the way along Chowringhee and the Maidan, are now scattered around the large garden of the monument.

The 'H' shaped memorial  consists of numerous hybrid features; it has Italian-style statues over its entrances, Mughal domes in its corners and tall elegant open curved colonnades along its sides. There are 3000 exhibits in 25 galleries in a chamber beneath the dome. Main entrance is from the north. A bronze statue of Queen Victoria sits enthroned in bronze at the entrance marble staircase wearing the regal Order of the Star of India. Above her, a black bronze angel known as Victory, holding a bugle in her hand was placed at the apex of the dome above the Memorial and has always been regarded as a curious addition to the monument. It is fixed to its pedestal with ball bearings and rotates when the wind is strong enough.

The entrance dome is deeply graven with the text of Queen Victoria's imperial proclamation speech. Inside the memorial there is a remarkable collection of artifacts depicting British Imperialism - statues of famous British figures including Robert Clive, General Stringer Lawrence, Lord Bentick, William Makepeace Thackeray, who was born here, Florence Nightingale, Queen Mary, George V and Queen Victoria etc. Many of British India's Governors and Governor Generals are represented here in stone, dressed in Roman togas, like Clive, Warren Hastings, Cornwallis, Wellesley, Dalhousie etc.

Excellent paintings such as, Burne-Jones's portrait of Rudyard Kipling, Johann  Zoffany's portrait of William Hastings and his family, Macaulay, Bishop Heber and William Hickey, Verestchagin's monumental depiction of the Prince of Wales making his grand tour of Jaipur in 1876, the works of the Victorian artists Thomas and William Daniells, paintings of  Robert Clive, marriage of the Prince of Wales with Princess Alexandra are exhibited and a huge painting depicts King Edward VII entering Jaipur in a regal procession in 1876. French guns captured at the Battle of Plassey are on exhibit along with the black stone throne of the Nawab whom Clive defeated. Also on display are some Indians without discrimination. Among these are - Keshab Chandra sen,  Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Rabindranath tagore and his grandfather Dwarkanath Tagore.

In the Royal Gallery there are many oil paintings illustrating episodes from Queen Victoria's long, eventful life and reign- her coronation in the Westminster Abbey in June 1838;  her marriage with Prince Albert (1840) in the Chapel Royal at St. James' Palace; the baptism of her son, her son's wedding, her residence of Frogmore, Queen Victoria at the first Jubilee service in Westminster Abbey in 1887 and the Second Jubilee service of Queen Victoria at St. Paul's Cathedral, June 1897 etc.  Some of her possessions, like the pianoforte, at which she received tuition in childhood, her personal writing desk and chair occupied for daily correspondence at Windsor, scrapbooks of her letters in Hindustani, for Queen was tutored in the language by her favorite Indian attendant Abdul Karim,  the last letter she wrote to her people in India etc.

The memorial is famous for its exhibits of Indian and Western Paintings, manuscripts, postage stamps, Mughal miniatures, books that dates back to the 1870's, statues and sculptures, arms and armaments, sketches and other objects of historic value in its Museum and Art Gallery. Today it is one of the main attraction for tourists in Kolkatta. Here, on weekends, people picnic, families meet, and transiting pilgrims bring flowers to the statue of "Maharani Victoria". Two regular sound and light shows both in English and Bengali are held in the evening. The memorial is open  from 1000 am to 1700pm on all weekdays except on Mondays and public holidays. For Indians the entry fee to the museum is Rs.10/-For all foreigners the entry fee to the museum is Rs.150/-. The Memorial is an autonomous body governed by a Board of Trustees with the Governor of West Bengal as the Chairperson, and is under the 'administrative control' of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

16:23 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 11 Kolkata | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |


Mother Teresa receives a Chinese novice

The Missionaries of Charity have experienced a large influx of novices from all-over India. However a Chinese novice was somewhat of a welcome surprise. Lucy Shang was readily accepted by her co-sisters with whom, in spite of her young age, she already had worked as a volunteer.

1. Sister Lucy Shang with co-sisters.

page 50 MC Lucy a

2. Mother Teresa, Sister Lucy and her mother.

page 50 MC Lucy b

10:22 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 13 Religious Sisters | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

A vocation to Missionaries of Charity blossoming out in China Town, Calcutta

China Town in Calcutta counts a modest R:C. community of Chinese settlers. In the course of time, they have slowly built their own chapel in Chinese style in a converted house. Sunday mass is regularly celebrated for this Chinese congregation by a priest from St Xavier's College. A vocation to religious life was much appreciated and encouraged by these fervent Christians from far-away China. Lucy Shang joined Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity.


1 Sister Lucy Shang, MC & John De Ridder with the Shang family.


page 50 MC Lucy c


2. Lucy and her two younger brothers.


page 50 MC Lucy d

La Mère Teresa de Calcutta et les Jésuites

Albert Huart S.J.

Déjà en tant que religieuse de la congrégation de Loreto, la Mère Teresa s'était imprégnée de l'esprit de St Ignace de Loyola. D'ailleurs, Mary Ward, la fondatrice, était une vraie disciple de Saint Ignace. Des jésuites assumaient le ministère de la réconciliation et des retraites spirituelles chez les Soeurs.

Un remarquable trio de prêtres de la Compagnie ont aidé et encouragé Teresa à progresser dans sa nouvelle Congrégation, quand elle eut quitté celle de Loreto.

Le Père Céleste Van Exem, originaire d'Elverdinge près d'Ypres, y contribua de manière vitale. C'était un homme de poids dans les conseils de la Compagnie et de l'Archidiocèse. Traçons-en un bref portrait: un intellectuel, pas une tête chaude progressiste, à l'aise dans le Droit Canon, en contact avec des experts en Inde, en Belgique et à Rome, et entièrement subjugué par le rêve de cette petite soeur albano-indienne.

En douceur; il parvint à convaincre l'Archevêque de Calcutta, Mgr Périer, Anversois, jésuite, prélat de style traditionnel qui donnait sa préférence à des religieuses foulant les sentiers battus. L'Archeveque ne tarda pas à consentir à ce que naisse une nouvelle congrégation. Il s'appliqua même à obtenir les autorisations romaines nécessaires. Jusqu'à sa mort, en 1993, le Père Van Exem fut un ami très proche et un conseiller spirituel de la Mère. Son Claude la Colombière, ce fut Céleste.

Citons aussi le Père Julien Henry: barbe de Saint Joseph, regards rieurs d'un enfant, coeur d'un Missionnaire de la Charité, grand ami des pauvres de la paroisse Sainte Thérèse. A la fois mystique et bourré de projets pratiques, les uns un peu brouillons, d'autres d'avant-garde. Jusqu'à sa mort survenue en 1979, la Mère Teresa put le compter parmi ses amis et inspirateurs. Il joua un role important dans la formation des jeunes soeurs.

Dès les débuts, le Père Edouard Le Joly, bon pied bon oeil aujourd'hui, âgé de 88 ans, fut impliqué dans la grande oeuvre de charité. Il instruisit les religieuses et entra souvent en dialogue spirituel avec la Mère. Ayant écrit plusieurs livres sur la spiritualité et les travaux des Missionnaires de la Charité, il est considéré par les médias comme un bon connaisseur de leur esprit et de leur engagement. C'est à la demande de la Mère Teresa, désireuse de pourvoir ses Soeurs d'un bon guide de prière, qu'il a écrit l'un de ses plus beaux livres spirituels, ses "Médiations sur l'Evangile selon Saint Jean".

Des liens nombreux ont toujours existé entre les Missionnaires de la Charité et les jésuites de Calcutta. Teresa était une fille très proche du coeur du Cardinal L.T. Picachy, jésuite. Pendant bien des années, le Père Camille Bouché, Luxembourgeois, a contribué à la formation des religieuses, pendant et après leur noviciat.

Les différents centres des missionnaires de Charité de Calcutta d'ailleurs accueillirent de nombreux autres pères jésuites comme confesseurs ou prédicateurs d'instruction spirituelles et de retraites. On ne peut pas les énumérer tous. Ce sont des membres de la communauté du Collège St Xavier qui disent tous les jours la messe à la Maison Mère et à la Maison du Troisième An de Park street.

Le P.Provincial a écrit dans son message de condoléances à Soeur Nirmala: "La Province de Calcutta est heureuse et fière que de nombreux jésuites de Calcutta aient pu apporter leur assistance, leur concours et leurs encouragements à la chère Mère Teresa, depuis les tout premiers débuts de son oeuvre".

10:15 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 13 Religious Sisters | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

Barrackpur, Indian Army Military cantonment & Indian Air Force Station

North of Calcutta, the British had established a large military cantonment for their troops.

The city named Barrackpur got its name from the term barracks. A pretty little church has been added to the residential quarters for the benefit of Irish soldiers in the contingent. After Independence, the church building was handed over to the Calcutta archdiocese and a presbytery was built by André Dontaine. On the opposite bank of the Hoogly, the parish of Serampore had regular church services held across the river.


1. Inside the church John De Ridder pp and the mass servers team.


page 54 Barrackpore a



2. André Dontaine bids farewell to his beloved Barrackpur and is replaced by John De Ridder.


pâge 54 Serampore b


3. In Serampur, in the former church bulding, now a home for disabled patients, the local community gathers for the pastoral visit.

sitting: Home Matron, John De Ridder pp, Archbishop Albert De Souza, Denzil De Souza, lady volunteer.


page 54 Serampore c

09:56 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 07 Barrackpur-Srirampur | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |


St Xavier's Community - 1969

 St Xavier's Community, 30 Park Street, Calcutta - 700 016
is home to professors, teachers, members of various Jesuit pastoral works in the city.

front row:: Frans Goreux, Paul Turmes, Jacques de Bonhome rector, André Bruylants vice-provincial, Ruy Cordeiro, Michael Buttigieg, Paul Joris.
2d row: Raymond Pilette, John-Baptist D'Silva, Vernon Desbrulais, Joseph Fenech, Camille Bouché,  Peter Gomes, Henry Schepers, Janes Erhlich, Thomas Carlo.
3d row: Achille Vertraeten, Cecil K. Leeming, Leon Hous, xxx, Joyonto Sen, Albert Huart.
back row: Thomas Vetticad, Fernand Mairlot, Jean De Ridder, Gérard Beckers, Joseph Remedios.


11:01 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 08 St Xavier's | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |


Burnpur New Township - St John's School Prize Distribution day

At the end of the first year, the prize distribution was presided over by the Town administrator and Mrs. McCracken, the GEO's wife. The pupils performed a program of graceful dances and songs for the greatest delight of parents and friends.

page 42 Burnpur SJS Prize a
page 42 Burnpur SJS Prize Jadot b


page 42 Burnpur SJS Prize c

page 42 Burnpur SJS Prize d

 page 42 Burnpur SJS Prize e


page 42 Burnpur SJS Prize f

16:09 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 06 Burnpur | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

Burnpur New Township - St John's School


Since the residential area of Burnpur town had become too congested, an extension was being planned on the northern side of the Steel plant in the paddy fields. Included in the designed infrastructure was a large two-storied school building where both a Hindi and a Bengali section were to be developped. The demand for an English section being also taken in consideration, the unoccupied (for the time being) second floor was offered to the parish by the town administrator, to start an English primary section, pending ulterior relocation.

1. Burnpur Town adminstrator & John De Ridder with ladies on the committee at St John's school location.
page 40 Burnpur St Johns school  

2. pupils with their teacher and John De Ridder, headmaster.

 page 41 Burnpur SJS teacher a 

3. IISCO GEO's wife cuts the cake while visiting the school.

 page 41 Burnpur SJS cake

15:59 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 06 Burnpur | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |


Old Goa - Bom Jesus Jesuit Church


Goa 2.jpg

 The church of Bom Jesus, "Good" or "Infant" Jesus, is known principally for the tomb of St. Francis Xavier.

 In 1946, it became the first church of India to be elevated to the status of Minor Basilica. One of the richest churches in Goa, it is covered with marble and inlaid with precious stones and paintings depicting the life of St. Francis Xavier. This basilica, where the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier are kept, is the best specimen of baroque architecture in India. St. Francis's body was brought to Goa almost 150 years after his death. It was a gift from Medici, Cosimo III, the Grand Duke of Tuscany. It now lies in an airtight glass coffin, placed inside a silver casket fashioned by a 17th century Florentine jeweller. The chapel attracts large numbers of visitors every year. 


16:06 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 10 Bombay-Goa 1964 | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |


Old Goa - 1964 Public exposition of St Francis Xavier's Body

G  O  A



1. Being ferried across the harbour.


page 44 Goa 3 a

2. Goa new town viewed from the sky (Indian Airlines Dakota).


page 44 Goa 3 b

3. Praying around the relic of Saint Francis Xavier


page 44 Goa 3 c

4. Pilgrims in attendance.


page 44 Goa 3 d

17:12 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 10 Bombay-Goa 1964 | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

Old Goa - 1964 Public exposition of St Francis Xavier's body in Bom Jesus Church


1. Old Goa Bom Jesus Church - St Francis Xavier altar. 

page 43 Goa 2 a

2. St Francis Xavier's body reliquary.

 page 43 Goa 2 b


3. John De Ridder and Justin Maloney on the esplanade next to Goa Se Cathedral Church. On the pedestal: Luis de Camoes statue.


page 43 Goa 2 c

4. Devotees hurrying to the church.


page 43 Goa 2 d

17:04 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 10 Bombay-Goa 1964 | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

1964 Bombay Eucharistic Congress - Paul VI celebrating Holy Mass

Solemn Eucharist of Paul VI, on the elevated ground for better vision by the assembly.


page 46 Goa 5 a


page 46 Goa 5 b


page 46 Goa 5 c


page 46 Goa 5 d

16:59 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 10 Bombay-Goa 1964 | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

1964 Bombay Eucharistic Congress - Altar location

Pope Paul VI and Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, entering the altar esplanade.


page 45 Goa 4 a


page 45 Goa 4 b


page 45 Goa 4 c


page 45 Goa 4 d

16:50 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 10 Bombay-Goa 1964 | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

1964 Bombay Eucharistic Congress - Train journey

1. Bombay - India Gate - Taj Mahal Hotel


page 51 Goa 1 a

2. Crossing the harbour


page 51 Goa 1 b


3. Holy Mass on the railway platform during the Calcutta - Bombay train journey

 page 51 Goa 1 c 

4. Chelidanga families in the Asansol party 

page 51 Goa 1 d

16:45 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 10 Bombay-Goa 1964 | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |


Burnpur O'Leary Cheshire Home

The young Group-Captain Leonard Cheshire RAF had been Winston Churchill's representative on the Allied team making the last preparations for launching the atom bomb. The U.S. B-29 bomber with the name Enola Gay painted on its nose, dropped the atom bomb Little Boy on Hiroshima at 9.15 a.m. on Aug. 6, 1945. Afterwards, L. Cheshire was deeply affected by the dramatic sequels of the atomic blast on the Japanese civilian population.

When he retired from the RAF, Gr.-Cpt. Leonard Cheshire (later Lord Leonard Cheshire, V.C.) decided to open rehabilitation homes for disabled patients, in Great Britain and other countries of the world. He had worked in India and loved the country. He was invited by Mr. John McCracken, the IISCO British managing director, to open a home in Burnpur. He came himself to lay the foundation stone for the O'Leary Cheshire Home. The building was later on achieved by the Steel Plant engineers.  Homes would years later be opened by the Cheshire Homes Society in Serampore and Bangalore.

present: Gr-Cpt. L. Cheshire; Mrs. wife of  IISCO Managing-Director; Mr..., IISCO Town Administrator; John De Ridder, priest-in-charge.


Laying of foundation stone ceremony:

page 48 Cheshire Home a
page 48 Cheshire Home b

 page 48 Cheshire Home c


Burnpur O'Leary Cheshire Home completed:


page 48 Cheshire Home d

15:14 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 06 Burnpur | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

empty space



11:22 Posted by Jean-Jacques in Pas de catégorie | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |


Burnpur - the new presbytery building is opened

At long last, after so many years, a priest's residence and office is available next to St Antony's Church.

1. St Antony's church and presbytery

 page 39 Burnpur Bungalow inside c 

2. Burnpur bungalow


page 39 Burnpur b


3. John De Ridder busy at his desk on the bungalow first floor.


page 39 Burnpur Bungalow inside d


4. JDR and Koka, the keeper's half-breed watchdog 

 page 40 Burnpur Koka

09:48 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 06 Burnpur | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |


Burnpur - St Antony's Church and presbytery

When completed, the presbytery building handsomely fitted into the church surroundings and was much appreciated for its convenient disposition. The generous donations both of materials and transportation facilities granted by the IISCO and Waggon Factory managements, brought this project to its conclusion at record speed.


page 39 Burnpur a 2
page 39 Burnpur b 2
Later transformations of
St Antony's Church & Presbytery
photos submitted by Br Frank Gale ICB Asansol (August 2009)








New developments in the ASANSOL DIOCESE

see the link below


16:23 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 06 Burnpur | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

Foundation work for the presbytery

In the Burnpur IISCO township, the need for a presbytery bungalow in the St Antony's church compound was felt more and more and the parish commitee decided to entrust its construction to John De Ridder. Under the guidance and with the assistance of a group of devoted parishioners, professionally both engineers and contractors, he therefore conceived and built the structure best adapted to the requirements of a priest's residence and parish office. The work started with the foundations being digged on location opposite the church-keeper's hut.

page 49 Burnpur foundations a



page 49 Burnpur foundations c




page 49 Burnpur foundations d

16:15 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 06 Burnpur | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

Asansol - St Patrick's School


Asansol SPS.jpg

On pastoral visit to Asansol parish, archbishop De Souza pays a visit to St Patrick's Senior Cambridge School and meets the I.C.Brothers' staff & parish clergy.

sitting, front row: archb. De Souza, pp. C. Van Exem (bearded) , School Principal I.C.Br. X, back row: second from right: John De Ridder - others: I.C.Brs & 2 diocesan priests.


09:39 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 05 Asansol | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |


Chelidanga Hindi Girls' Sodality of Our Lady

At the Maria Goretti School, Hindi girls would gather once a week for pratical teaching and common prayer. But at the end of a term, outings would allow them to see the countryside.


page 38 Sodality a


page 38 Sodality c
page 38 Sodality d
page 38 Sodality b

16:58 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 05 Asansol, 11 Kolkata | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

Chelidanga Girls' Sodality outings at the Griffiths'


Maria Goretti HS Girls' Sodality 1963
The IISCo Financial Officer Mr. Griffiths and his wife more than once graciously invited the sodality for tea in their garden in the Burnpur township. Girls were also very fond of taking a stroll along the Hoogly river bank whenever they got a chance to leave their village. 
In attendance: Chaplain John De Ridder


page 36 Burnpur Griffiths a

page 38 Burnpur Griffiths b

page 38 Burnpur Griffiths c

11:00 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 05 Asansol | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |


Durgapur ISCo Township: new St Xavier's High School

1 Broad avenues are being drawn for the Durgapur Iron & Steel Works township.
page 34 Durgapur Township a
page 34 Durgapur Township b
page 34 Durgapur Township c


page 34 Durgapur Township d
page 36 Durgapur Township b


page 33 DurgapurTownship 3 a


page 33 DurgapurTownship 3 b


page 33 DurgapurTownship 3 d

2. Opening day ceremony when the groundplot with a building in construction for the Durgapur St Xavier's HS was handed over to Albert Wautier (center),  the Calcutta provincial, by the Township administrator.
In the background: C. Van Exem, pp et John De Ridder
page 36 Durgapur Township c


page 36 Durgapur Township d

12:11 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 05 Asansol | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

Bettiah church & girls'school

A large majority of Catholics in Chelidanga village, Asansol are from Bettiah, Bihar, a prosperous Christian community near Patna. They come to work in the Asansol Railways Yard and the Burnpur plants: the Indian Iron Steel Company (IISCo) and the Burnpur Waggons Factory. But they regularly visit their home town of Bettiah to keep in touch with their cultural roots.
page 25 Asansol Bettiah Church


page 25 Bettiah school e

11:58 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 05 Asansol | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |


Asansol - Chelidanga - St Joseph's Junior High School



In the Chelidanga village of Asansol Township, the St Joseph's (then Junior) High School caters to the Hindi-speaking community and educates children of several ethnic groups.


1. John De Ridder and JHS top class.

page 32 St Josephs HS



2. JDR ready to bestride his bike.

page 32 St Josephs HS JDR

10:01 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 05 Asansol | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |


Asansol - St Maria Goretti Hindi Junior High School for Girls

North of the Asansol railway quarters, the village of Chelidanga harbours an important Hindi-speaking community of labourers, natives of Ranchi and Bettiah.

They have secured lucrative jobs in the several local industrial plants: the Railway Maintenance machine tools Sheds, the Burnpur IISCO Steel Plant and the Waggons Factory, and further north of Asansol, even the Chittaranjan Locomotive Factory. Two schools which would in time become full-fledged High Schools with Hindi as medium of instruction, were slowly developed through the years by Robert Drugman, to provide excellent teaching to the avid children of this community: for the girls, the St Maria Goretti HS, entrusted to the Daughters of St Ann, the diocesan congregation, and for the boys, the St Joseph's HS entrusted to layteachers with R. Drugman as headmaster. These schools have enjoyed a remarkable reputation of efficiency and achieved splendid academic results.


1. Sister of St Ann teaching an open air class. JDR in the background.


page 32 St Maria Goretti HS


2. Girls enjoy looking after the convent calf.


page 32 St Maria Goretti Calf

16:58 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 05 Asansol | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

Asansol - Anglo-Indian Schools

Asansol is an important railway link on the Calcutta-Delhi line. In the early days, the railway staff of drivers and maintenance officers belonged mainly to the English speaking Anglo-Indian community which counted many Catholics.

Catholic schools were therefore founded to cater to their children's educational needs. Thanks to the easy journeying facilities afforded by the railways, youngsters from all-over North India, Nepal and neighbouring Burma, eagerly joined one of these two boarding-schools for boys, the St Patrick's Senior Cambridge School (250) and the St Vincent's Training School (200), both entrusted to the Irish Christian Brothers.


page 31 Asansol St Vincents a


page 31 Asansol St Vincents b


page 31 Asansol St Vincents c




page 31 Asansol St Vincents d

16:45 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 05 Asansol | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |


IISCO township - Burnpur - St Antony's church




On the outskirts of Asansol, stands an important industrial township called Burnpur (named after its original founder, a Briton called BURN).


Burn & Co promoted The Indian Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. in 1918. G.H.Fairhurst is credited with having founded the plant at Burnpur (then better known as Hirapur). Sir Rajendranath Mookerjee and T.Leslie Martin were also associated with it. Sir Biren Mookerjee joined a little later and played a major role in the development of the plant. Iron production started at Burnpur in 1922. Kulti Works of Bengal Iron was merged with IISCO in 1936. Steel Corporation of Bengal (SCOB) set up the steelmaking facilities at Burnpur in 1939. SCOB was merged with IISCO in 1952 and Martin Burn was then the managing agent of the company. Indian Standard Wagon (ISW) (later renamed Burn Standard) set up its wagon factory at Burnpur.


 Iron and steel technology advanced in leaps and bounds since the Second World War, along with massive growth in production globally. The technological leap forward left the plant at Burnpur in shambles. Rising cost of production made the once profit making organisation a loss-making unit. Coupled with militant labour trouble in the sixties, IISCO faced a situation of near collapse in the early seventies. The management of IISCO was taken over by the government on 14th July 1972. Subsequently IISCO was nationalised and made a wholly owned subsidiary of SAIL (Steel Authority of India Ltd.). At the time of government-take over IISCO was the third largest private sector company (after TISCO and Telco) in India.

page 49 Burnpur steel plant b

Two plants are located here: the IISCO (Indian Iron and Steel Company) plant, one of the first steel-works opened in British India; and the Indian Standard Wagon (ISW) Factory, a plant manufacturing railway carriages for coal and iron ore transportation. As a friendly gesture, IISCO handed over the ownership rights to the landed property for a church building to be used by the Indian and Foreign Catholic township residents. The St Antony's Church was designed and built by Charles-Victor Poncelet sj with financial aid from Belgium.


1. St Antony's Church, view from the opposite maidan (esplanade).


page 30 Burnpur St Antony a
Archbishop Dyer'visit
Burnpur Dyer 2



2. The church keeper's lodge.


page 30 Burnpur St Antony b


 3. Sikander & John Barla chatting in the church compound.

                                     page 30 Burnpur John

page 37 b Burnpur John Barla


4. John De Ridder relaxing on the Barakar River bank.



page 30 Burnpur jDR river d

16:57 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 06 Burnpur | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

Sacred Heart Catholic Church and Our Lady of Lourdes grotto - Asansol

Asansol Sacred Heart Catholic Church and Our Lady of Lourdes grotto


At Asansol, an important railway township for engine drivers and maintenance staff, this pretty church building was erected by the then British railway company running the Calcutta-Delhi line. British bricks were conveniently imported from Great Britain...

After Independence, the British company was incorporated into the Indian Ministry of Railways and the church building handed over to the Calcutta Archdiocese, with attached owner's rights and maintenance obligations. When the Burdwan diocese was erected, the Asansol Sacred Heart Church became its cathedral and the Asansol presbytery became Bishop's House.




page 29 Asansol church a


page 29 Asansol church b


page 29 Asansol grotto c




page 29 Asansol grotto d

16:29 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 05 Asansol | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |


Holy Mass in Indian Rite


John De Ridder celebrating Holy Mass in a simplified version of the Indian rite at the Apostolic Carmel Sisters' convent.


page 48 Indian rite a
page 48 Indian rite b
page 47 Indian rite d


page 47 Indian rite c

10:59 Posted by Jean-Jacques in 13 Religious Sisters | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

1 2 3 Next