History Of House

On April 30, 1962, Fr. Hubert D’Rosario, Fr. Eliseus Bianchi and Fr. Rubio took possession of the Nazir Bungalow which was rented out to begin our work in Lonavla.

Fr. Joseph Murphy, Lonavla’s first rector arrived in Lonavla on June 15,1962 and he led the first community: Fr. Eliseus Bianchi was prefect; Fr. Joe Dhyrianathan, headmaster and prefect of studies; Bro. John Samala and Bro. M. O. Mathew were assistants.

June 28, 1962, was another red letter day: Don Bosco, Lonavla, officially commenced its first academic year. The school began with 31 students, 10 from Bombay, 4 from Goa, 7 from Ernakulam… and with the arrival of some more students from Kerala the two approved classes started with 14 students in Std. VIII and 17 students in Std. IX. Fr.Jos Menezes was another welcome addition to the staff. Everything took place under one roof at the Nazir Bungalow.

On March 19, 1964, the new building was inaugurated and the Apostolic School was shifted to the new premises. The new scholastic year brought a real reshuffle among the Salesians. Fr. Murphy and Fr. Jos Menezes together with Fr. Joe Dhyrianathan moved off, making way for the visionary Fr. Mauro Casarotti who came back to become Rector. He had sown the seeds and now he was here to reap the first fruits.

In 1965, Fr. Casarotti was appointed Provincial of the Calcutta Province. Fr. Antonio Alessi was appointed to take his place. Meanwhile, the number of candidates volunteering to join the apirantate was increasing. In 1966 there was already a need for five assistants to look after more than two hundred and forty boys. Hence with the help of Fr. Maschio, Fr. Alessi began the second phase of construction in 1967.

In 1969, Fr OLIVIO Miranda was appointed Rector & in 1974 Fr Tony DSouza was appointed Rector & he built a separate block which was completed by Fr Joseph Casti who was Rector from 1975 to 1978.

Special mention must be made of two Salesians who had played a major role in shaping and inspiring many a Salesian in the province today: Fr. Cajetan Lobo, affectionately called “Jimmu”, who worked mainly as confessor from 1964 to 1977 and from 1987 till his death in 1992 – a total of 18 years. Then there was Bro. P. M. Thomas, who served in various capacities (practical trainee, prefect of studies, Principal) for 15 years.

Our province & the house of Lonavla owes a debt of gratitude to them and to many other confreres. To date, Lonavla has given to the province approximately two-thirds of its total Salesian population.