The Society of Jesus in Nepal recently celebrated a milestone in its service when the Republic of Nepal’s first president Ram Baran Yadav graced the Jesuits’ 60th anniversary function on the St Xavier’s School grounds in Jawalakhel, Kathmandu.
Sixty years after Jesuit Fathers Marshall D. Moran, Francis Murphy and Ed Saxton first arrived in Kathmandu and set up the St. Xavier’s School with 65 students in Godavari, north of Kathmandu, there has been no looking back for the Nepal Jesuit Society (NJS).
Owing to the steady growth in the number of students, the primary section of the Godavari school was shifted to Jawalakhel in 1954.
“The NJS sapling planted by the three Fathers in 1951 has today grown into a beautiful tree with branches spread all over Nepal,” said Jesuit Father Amrit Rai, the principal of St. Xavier’s School.
In an address during the celebration, President Yadav lauded the work of the Jesuits and said the NJS brought about a revolution in the education system of the country.
“Nepal has always been a land of tolerance and religious harmony … with people allowed to practice the faith of their choice without fear,” he said.
The Maoists in Nepal waged a 10-year-long insurgency that ended with the government and the former rebels signing a peace accord in 2006. Subsequently, a freshly elected assembly in 2008 abolished the 239-year-old monarchy in Nepal and declared the then Hindu kingdom a republic.
Apart from the two schools in Godavari and Jawalakhel and two more in Jhapa district in Eastern Nepal, the Jesuits run a social service center, a drug rehabilitation center, a center for the sick and elderly and the Human Resource Development Center in Kathmandu.
They also run a child care center in Pokhara in western Nepal, while around 3,500 students pursue higher education at the St. Xavier’s College in Kathmandu.