Once known as the hub of education in Northeast India, Shillong is home to many renowned educational institutions that have been rendering their services to the people of the state and the region for over a century now.
One such educational institution is the Loreto Convent which was founded in 1909. It is a Catholic institution under the management of the Sisters of The Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM also known as the Loreto Sisters).
In this episode of Shillong’s Iconic Structures, we are featuring one of the oldest schools in the city – the Loreto Convent, an educational institution that has stood the test of time and is still serving the people of the state in different capacities.
Loreto Convent is owned by the Loreto Convent Society, Shillong, a body registered under the Registrar of Societies Registrations Act XXI of 1860. It celebrated 100 years of service in 2009.
In the initial years of the Catholic Mission in Shillong in the 1890s, a Salvatorian priest put in a request for a Catholic school for European children.
At the beginning of the last century, there was a need for a high school for girls, especially for the children of Europeans and Anglo-Indians. The Prefect Apostolic of Assam, Fr. Christopher Becker requested the Loreto Sisters to start such a school in Shillong.
He undertook the responsibility of constructing the school building and a convent for the sisters as soon as possible, and the blessing of the house took place on May 1, 1909.
This spectacular Assam-type structure is divided into two sections – the main school on one side and the sisters’ quarters on the other. The heritage building is a sight to behold as this well-maintained structure is a reflection of European architecture with its firm wooden foundation, the iconic circular lawn with a fountain in the middle and is adorned with seasonal flowers of different colours on all the four sides, a lush green garden that serves as a perfect study spot, a summer house surrounded by green foliage and trees, the children’s park and many more.
Like every other school in the city, Loreto Convent also has a library but what’s unique about this library is its furniture. Apart from the library, the school also has a chapel which is also located in the old building next to the Sisters’ quarters, and an age-old conference room. Some of the existing articles are as old as the Loreto Convent itself.
The property is spread across a huge plot of land comprising mostly the school and playgrounds. Almost three-fourths of the classes are located in the old building and the new building, which was inaugurated in 2017, accommodates students from Classes VIII to XII. There is an age-old organ at the chapel, a very old tennis court on the school campus, and the school still uses an antique bell that dates back to 100 years which is unique in its shape.
To know more about the history of this heritage structure, watch the full episode on our Youtube Channel @TheShillongTimes as we take you on a trip down memory lane.