In Memory

Sister Callaghan



"Sister" Callaghan, mother of Nigel Callaghan '67, worked at the school Infirmary from 1962-1967. She immigrated to Australia in 1988 and passed away in April 1999.


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18/01/12 05:46 AM #1    

Lawrence(Larry) Rydquist (1963)

Fond memories of a kind and generous lady. Her smiling face wiped away many a bruise and fever in the years she managed our infirmary at SXH. My family and I were fortunate enough to also count her in our circle of personal friends. Rest in peace, dear soul.

23/01/12 03:55 PM #2    

Devashish Ghosh (1973)

Gratefully endebted to her for looking after me during my initial years at SXH - used to fall sick quite often then. Was one of the pillars of SXH. May she rest in peace.

07/02/12 11:45 PM #3    

Prasenjit Banerjee (1969)

Sister Callaghan used to know us all by the names and she would also know who needed to be coaxed into feeling better.  She had on her right side Francis the compounder.  In those early days Francis used to be good. With the right instructions he would hold our nose and make swallow the RED Mixture.

The writing in the sticking plaster would say "Carminative Mixture".  Yes these mixtures were made in the Infermary under the guidance of Sister Callaghan.  There was another Mixture I can't recall the name but "KALA" and there was the APC Tablet, Red Lotion - the plaster said Mercurochrome 2% and the Tincture Benzine for the medium cuts  Surprisingly the names Carminative and APC couldnot be tracked outside the School Infermary.  

I remember Sister stitching up somebody, I can't recall, but it was a sight to bolster and perhaps to relish we were in good hands.  I spent a lot of time talking to her and once was surprised to know Nigel was her son.  Actually 2 +2 did not add. Callaghan is an Irish surname and a discovery like Moore, Dullard, Louis, Walsh, Slattery, Keogh, Meagher, Slack and so on, the latter being the names of Fathers who taught us.

The care also started from all the Fathers we had and the school Doctor KK Sen followed by his son Dr K Sen. Much later around 1967, I think, Dr K Sen diagnosed Fr Doyle to be suffering from hyperthyroidism, something practically no one knew anything about.  So Fr Doyle was back in Australia for an early operation coming back thinner, leaner and softer.  

Yes Sister, see Sister he is doing .  . .  .  .Look how he is cut . . . . .yes she was also a Mother to us also about 240.

"J" was how Nigel felt while so many of us used to clamour to Sister for the fellow who was hurt.

08/02/12 07:37 PM #4    

Nigel Callaghan (1967)

Thanks! Guys, for the tributes to my mother.

Fr.John Moore S.J. gave my mother the job of School Nurse and me a place in SXH in 1962. I do not think my Mum realised what she had let herself in for! I say this because she had never before worked in a school environment or with hundreds of children to take care of. Although she had done her training in Agra, and worked in a German Hospital in Rourkela, her previous job before SXH was in a small hospital in Gurda, Bihar. It was a shock to the system when she faced a Chicken Pox and Measles epidemic in her first school year. Bless!

Prasenjit sums up Infirmary rituals and medicinal formulas worryingly accurately, that is why I avoided the Infirmary like the plague. Hence, I was one of few who didn't get chicken pox, measles, mumps, berry berry and the like while in school.  I remember how iodine applied to open cuts made you jump! Needles made your arms stiffen up automatically. Benzine seals with cotton wool were the order of the day. If you didn't have one of those on your body you were certainly not in the running for a "Sick Note!" (I jest of course!).

The purple ointment which Prasenjit refers to as "KALA" is/was known as Jenson Violet. Only Sister knew what these lotions and potions meant and the miraculous functions they performed. Remember the sweet gluey cotton wool swab (medical term for treating sore throats) which Sister would have on the end of a thin 6 inch twig made from broomsticks? You would have to say, "Aaaaaah!!" (for at least 5 secs) while she tickled your tonsils with this swab of many tastes and colours. Tools of a bygone era. But, fascinating nonetheless.

The saying. "You look like you've been in the wars" could easily have originated in SXH if you were that boy who was discharged from the infirmary with your tonsils tickled, your cuts covered in benzine patches, your rashes painted with mercurochrome, your boils dabbed with iodine / jenson violet, your arm in a sling, and hobbling back to "the Dorm" using a crutch.

I am deeply touched that you remember Sister Callaghan (my dear mother) with such affection. RIP.


19/02/17 02:53 AM #5    

Kalyan Das (1967)

Sister Callaghan was very special person. She looked after me when I had measles and two years later when I had chicken pox and had to be "isolated", she brought me "goodies" to cheer up my spirits.  On occassion when I sought refuge in the infirmary, she knew my mischief and sent me packing with a placebo! 

The mother of one of my three best friends, I also knew her socially whenever I dropped in or went home with Nigel. She was one of two mentors in school and I always valued her counsel. In December 1966, she was particualry instrumental in helping me through a sticky situation.

I finally caught up with Nigel in November/December 2000 and was truly sad to learn of her passing away in Australia where I gather she spend several years enjoying "retirement" (I can never imagine her retired!). Heaven is a better place with her smile and encouraging spirit.

Thank you Sister Callaghan for being my mother in school!

Kalyan Das (one of the 57 of '67) 

12/08/18 05:35 PM #6    

Seshan Krishna Kumar (1967)

Sister Callaghan aka Florence Nightingale of SXH!!!!

That is the Sister Callaghan I know of.

Like someone has already said, she knew us all by our names and what mischief we would have been upto.

She was a fairy Mother to look after all of us in our place away from home, but always helped us to feel that you are not far away from home.You have a cold, a cough,an upset stomach,and Home and Mother were just a run away and then Presto! The Magic Wand would work on us.

No words can really descibe that Noble Soul!May she rest in peace and my way of remembering her and saying thanks is to visit her son,Nigel in the UK everytime I travel to London and then reminisce about our wonderful school days at SXH.

In the summer hols of 1966,I was infected with Chicken pox on the last day of school in April and so was confined to the infirmary. My Florence Nightingale took care of me for those 3 weeks in a way that even my own Mother could not have done.

We pray for her soul to be in peace and I am sure that her blessings will be there for all of us.

Thanks you my Florence Nightingale aka Sister Callaghan.

Seshan Krishna Kumar

Class of 1967







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