The Cathedral hosts this Sunday a religious celebration that brings together the educational community, the sisters, authorities, students and families
In 1922, the Siervas de San José opened their first school in Badajoz. It was a house at number 10 Menacho Street, where the first students who would come out with their degree and the teachings of the religious congregation were trained. Thousands of students from Badajoz have been trained since then under the motto of ‘Work, faith and love’.
That is why this Sunday the Cathedral has opened its doors for a ceremony presided over by Bishop Celso Morga. Former students, the educational community, the nuns who remain in the city, former students and authorities have attended.
The nuns continue today in Cerro de Reyes, where they contribute to the Center for the Promotion of Women and the NGO of the school on Santa Marina Avenue. The school continues under the teachings of the Siervas de San José. Because many of their teachers and administrators learned with the sisters. Santa Bonifacia continues to be present in a center with more than 1,200 students ranging from Infant to Baccalaureate.
Antonia Brandón belongs to the congregation and taught for 14 years in two different stages. Today she continues to work at the Mérida school. He recalls that the Badajoz center was forced to rely on the Catholic Education Foundation (FEC), which coordinates 22 centers throughout the country, in order to continue running the center in the year 2000. As has happened in other congregations, the lack of vocations has made it impossible for the religious to continue alone in front of the schools. For Antonia Brandón, the FEC has managed to maintain the spirit that they created in the first school on Menacho Street.
Although today boys and girls are mixed in their classes, their beginnings were focused on female education. “The education of women has changed a lot since then – acknowledges the nun -. But in this we have been a pioneer out of conviction and charisma, because our founder had a sense of equality. Now it seems that it is new but we have worked on it from the beginning ».
Mother Bonifacia, founder whom the students continue to name today, «was a pioneer in claiming equality and dignity in the 19th century, at a time of the industrial revolution that had exploited girls. She dedicated herself to promoting and moving women forward from social commitment ». Antonia Brandón reflects on the importance of training, without which she considers it unlikely to achieve rights or equality. That, assures this nun, they have instilled it in the classrooms.
Nineteen years after their arrival in the city, in 1941, the sisters opened a second school in Badajoz because the first had become too small. This opened at 51 Menéndez Valdés Street. Only five years later, the sisters would lay the first stone of the school on Santa Marina Avenue, where it remains today. In 1948 the first students began to study there and on October 5, 1949 was the official inauguration.
Since then “thousands of students” have passed through it. Antonia Brandón makes an estimate of 500 students on average for a hundred years because although today they attend an average of 1,200 per course, for decades there were not so many students.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.