1. SR.BERNARD (1903-1948)
Sr. Bernard, formerly Ms Flora D’Souza, a graduate of the Madras University, with all the qualities of head and heart, came to Ernakulam as a teacher from Mangalore in the early 1930s. But very soon she came under the influence of Mother Mary and decided to become a Carmelite nun. She was received into the novitiate and at her vestition was given the name Sr. Bernard of Jesus. She was appointed lecturer in English in St. Teresa’s College. She was very devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and on the whole, she was a very good and dutiful religious. She was very human in her approach and kind in her dealings.
Naturally the students loved her .She had much to do with them because in addition to her classes, she was in charge of the sodality, the Catholic Students Union, music and other extra-curricular activities. Her example and influence lead many to join the convent during the years 1935-48.
She was an asthma patient .Her room was near the hostel, facing the backwaters. Every night the students could hear her wracking cough, but despite such disturbed sleep, she was up every morning, ready for Chapel. She was tall and graceful and full of humour.
At the same time, she was a stickler for correct pronunciation and grammar, laying a good foundation for correct English speaking.
In the community, she was much loved as she was jovial and friendly with everyone. Her hearty laughter resounded during recreation. I recall how often my seniors, who loved her, used to recall her memory with nostalgia. Invariably their remark, at knowing that she had died before I joined the convent, would be, “Oh, what a pity. You would have loved her!” She was also outspoken and if she found something wrong, she would not hesitate to see that it was put right, instead of grumbling from behind.
When the convent was evacuated during World War II and the college shifted to Trichur, Sr. Bernard walked the mile to the college and back, daily. It was a common sight to see her accompanied by students who enjoyed accompanying her.
When Carmel College was shifted from Trichur to Bangalore, Sr. Bernard could not go as she was very sick. She died on the 4th July 1948 at the early age of 48.