Enclosed within the historical stretch of land under the loving gaze of Our Lady of Happy Voyage commonly known as Our Lady of Bandel, lie 777 bighas of land donated to Rev. Fr. Joao Da Cruz by Emperor Shah Jahan. The Salesian Sisters took possession of part of this place in 1951. The building we see now definitely existed in the mind of God, but when Sr. Clotilde Appiano, Sr. Eugenia Cazzuli, Sr. Angela Daglio
and Sr. Alice Correa, the pioneers arrived, there was only a ground floor structure in good masonry but somewhat neglected having been in disuse for a long time. It consisted of a few small rooms, a large hall with a broad veranda and a dark and dilapidated worker’s quarters. Jackals, monkeys and large venomous snakes were seen everywhere. Hardly could a sister take a few steps on the grounds even in broad daylight, without running the danger of stamping on a poisonous snake. The four sisters had to scrub and rub for days on end before the house looked fit for living. The first classes were attended by only one pupil. The number of pupils increased in such a short time that almost all the available places had to be used as classrooms. Consequently, the sisters had to change those classrooms into dormitories at night. This necessitated the erection of a new building large enough for the need of the hour, and also to house a few aspirants to religious life.
Mother Catherine Mania, the then Provincial, took the task in hand with the help of Fr. Provincial of the Salesian Fathers who lent her the funds necessary to make a start. The work went ahead so very fast and so well that we would only kneel down in astonishment and say “THANK YOU, MOTHER MARY’. The house was blessed on 20th January 1955. Meanwhile the first aspirants came. Today Auxilium Bandel, runs a full fledged English Medium High School. The school prepares the students for the ICSE (Class X) examinations.
The school invariably secures remarkably good results each year. There are 1,700 students in school at present and forty-seven teachers.
The aspirants are no longer at Auxilium Bandel. They now have their training at Barasat in the diocese of Calcutta. A boarding is conducted for young girls who are belonging to the different parishes of Calcutta. At present there are 63 girls.
The Salesian Cooperators are engaged in many works of mercy both corporal and spiritual. The Past Pupil’s Association is well organised and active in its work.
Auxilium Convent and School is situated just across the road from Bandel Church and faces St. John’s School. A huge concrete statue of Mary, Help of Christians, stands on top of the building watching over all under her maternal gaze.