About Our College
At ST. JOSEPH'S COLLEGE, students receive so much more than an ordinary education. We pride ourselves on creating a unique, exciting environment that embraces all types of learners and promotes growth both academically and personally. Students and families are also welcomed into a dynamic and supportive community.
The Architect Behind Our Hallowed Institution – our founding father
Archbishop Christopher E. Bonjean
Christopher Ernest Bonjean was born on the 23rd of September, 1823 in Riom, Clermont, France to Yvonne Tardiff and Jean-Baptiste Bonjean, an Attorney-at-law of the Court of Appeal. Though his parents were born Catholic, their faith had withered and become obsolete. In fact, it was his elder sister who guided young Christopher to the light of his Faith, where he would eventually receive his calling to the Holy Orders. After successfully completing his degree, Bonjean joined the Seminary in October 1842, at the young age of 19. At long last, he was ordained a Priest of God on the 19th of December 1846.
In the fall of 1847, Fr. Bonjean of the Paris Foreign Missionary Society journeyed to India —where he would spend the next nine years of his life working in Coimbatore Tamil Nadu. He would eventually join the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Ceylon and arrive in Jaffna on the 28th of November 1855.
In 1883, near 30 years after his arrival in Ceylon, the now Msgr. Bonjean was transferred to Colombo as Vicar Apostolic of the Southern Vicariate. By then, he had come to be known as the “Father of the Denominational School System” in Ceylon, and had started the weekly publication of the Jaffna Catholic Guardian. When the hierarchy was established in 1887, he was appointed the first Archbishop of Colombo.
Dr. Bonjean, who had made education the study of his life; paved the path for the foundation of a Catholic College in Ceylon. This was owing to his firm belief in the importance of a College where children were given an outstanding secular education within a Catholic atmosphere and in the absence of a threat to their Faith. This vision of his, would in due course, grow to become the cornerstone for St. Joseph’s College.
Though this eminent prelate did not live to see his ideal of a Catholic College come to fruition —having being called to eternal rest on the 3rd of August, 1892; his dream would be carried on by his successors —thus, it would be no error to call Archbishop Bonjean the Founding Father of our hallowed institution.
Past Rectors of St. Joseph's College
Rev. Fr. Charles Collin OMI
Rev. Fr. Charles Collin OMI
He was formally appointed as the 1th Rector of St. Joseph's College on 27th November 1896. The building was solemnly blessed on 27th November 1896 by his excellency Msgr. Zaleski. The Governor General of Ceylon, His excellency Joseph West Ridgeway formally declared open the school on 2nd of March 1896 with 211 students after much pioneering work in those early days which also saw changes. Fr. Charles Collin retired as Rector of the college in March 1910. Hardly six weeks later on 1st May 1910 he passed away and went to receive from his Maker an imperishable crown.