Rev. Mother Mary Matilda
Rt. Rev. Fortunatus Henri Caumont
The beginning of the Mission Sisters of Ajmer (MSA) Education System was laid first
in 1913 in a school, in the city of Ajmer
for the poor street children and orphans. It was known as St. Imelda's school.
In 1919 the Rt. Rev. Fortunatus Henri Caumont, our Founder, established the first
Sophia School in Ajmer for the education of girls. He was the first Bishop of
the Ajmer Diocese which covered then, practically the whole of Rajputana (the
present Rajasthan). Hailing from the beautiful land of France, Rev. Fr.
Fortunatus Caumont O.F.M. Cap. came to India as a young missionary priest in
1897. Being a man of vision and foresight, he realized that the extreme
backwardness and illiteracy of the people especially in the rural areas could be
eliminated only if the women were given basic education. While the men enjoyed
the rights of a princely feudal system and the best of education in Mayo College, at Ajmer,
women's education was neglected. This was particularly the case of Rajput women.
Bishop Caumont saw the prime need of uplifting the
women, so he took up the gigantic task in 1911. With the help of his sister Mother
Mary Matilda, he founded an indigenous Congregation, the Mission Sisters of
Ajmer to serve the needs of the people of Rajputana. He entrusted the task of educating the girls,
to the Mission Sisters of Ajmer, and in 1919, he started
the first school for them in Ajmer, Rajasthan (Rajputana). The name he gave to the
school and the motto he framed are both significant of the educational ideal he
had in mind. ‘Sophia’ in Greek means WISDOM, and Wisdom is summed up in ‘VACHAN’
the Eternal Word, the source of true wisdom. We, as educationist, are to give
true wisdom to the children in our schools and colleges. In 1930, Bishop Fortunatus Henri Caumont passed away.
In him, Mother Mary Matilda lost a great
supporter and adviser. Over the years, Mother Matilda saw the Sophia School in
Ajmer take deep roots, turn into a High School. Through her team of dedicated sisters,
the Mission Sisters of Ajmer, she was able to establish such schools in other parts
of the country, mainly in the major cities of Rajasthan.