I. A BRIEF HISTORY OF ST. BRIDGET COLLEGE, BATANGAS CITY
The last decade of the 1800s and the first decades of the twentieth century were years of turmoil for the country and the Church in the Philippines. The Philippine Revolution against Spain with its anti-friar character, the Spanish American War (1898) ended the 400 years Spanish colonization and ushered 40 years of the American Colonial Period.
The Americans established an efficient Public School system where students flocked to learn English and their 3 Rs. The Americans also brought Protestantism and the public schools were venues for introducing the new Religion.
In 1910 the Diocese of Lipa was created, comprising the provinces of Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Mindoro, Marinduque and Tayabas. In this vast area there was no Catholic School and Bishop Joseph Petrelli the first bishop of the diocese was desirous of establishing a Catholic School to protect, preserve and strengthen the Catholic Faith of the young students. Thus he invited Sisters of the Good Shepherd whose Motherhouse was in Angers, France to open a school, the first Catholic School in the diocese of Lipa. His specific request was for English speaking sisters.
In October 1912, two Irish missionaries, Sr. Mary Constance Phelan and Sr. Mary Ligouri Burke arrived in Batangas from Burma after a long fatiguing sea voyage. In January 1913, they were followed by Sr. Mary Cyra O’Kane and Sr. Mary Clare Morrisey. Informal classes for girls were promptly opened and in June 9, 1913 the school was given government recognition and incorporated as St. Bridget’s Academy, after St. Bridget of Ireland.
“To reform morals and to strengthen FAITH in souls” St. Mary Euphrasia’s precious advice to missionaries, were the pioneer sisters’ guiding lights in their educational endeavors.
For 34 years the educational program of St. Bridget’s Academy was limited to the elementary and secondary levels. In 1946 however urged by the people of the town and realizing the need, St. Bridget’s opened the College Department which offered Associate in Arts and Bachelor of Arts courses. Sr. Mary Assumption Ocampo, the first College Dean bravely took up the task of establishing the College Department. Associate in Arts, Associate in Secretarial Science, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Education were the initial offerings. In 1954 Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education were introduced.
In 1958 Graduate School classes were opened at the request of many public school teachers desirous of continuing their education towards a Master’s degree. Again with courage and determination to face the challenges of the times St. Bridget’s College committed herself to these ever-increasing demands for greater fulfillment of Christ’s work among His people through the teaching ministry. The last M.A. degree was granted in 1982.
In 1974, the College Department offered a new course, Bachelor of Science in Social Work. All the first fifteen BSSW graduates passed the Government Examination for Social Workers. In 1993, the College Department opened its educational opportunities to male students whose courses of choice are the service-oriented professions of Teacher Education and Social Work.
In 1993 and 1994 St. Bridget’s College was included among the top performing colleges in the Professional Board Examination for teachers. In Region IV-A, St. Bridget’s ranked FIRST and in the National level was among the top 25. In 1997 St. Bridget’s ranked THIRD on the National level in the SOCIAL WORK Licensure examinations conducted by the Professional Regulation Commission.
With the opening of the College Department in 1946 the name St. Bridget’s Academy was changed to St. Bridget’s College. In 2001 the ‘s was dropped from the name of the school which is now known as St. Bridget College.
In 1953 in response to the insistent requests of parents who desired a Catholic Education for their sons, the Boys High School was opened. In 1980, however boys and girls were integrated in co-educational classes.
In 1971 with a growing awareness of a great number of Filipinos marginalized by poverty and heeding the Church’s call for JUSTICE, ST. BRIDGET’S COMMUNITY CENTER was established to respond to the needs of economically disadvantaged families and individuals. The Center’s humble beginnings supported by the Christian Children’s Fund (CCF) which paid for the education of children has spinned off to a strong based people’s organization, THE BUKLOD UNLAD BATANGAS INCORPORATED (BUBI) based in Dumantay.
In 1998 sensitive to the rapid development of Information Technology, St. Bridget took up the challenge of integrating technology in the academic instructions familiarizing students from elementary to College with computers, computer knowhow, software programs, the internet, websites, power point etc.
At the start of the 21st century St. Bridget College, College department in line with the Good Shepherd Congregation’s thrust “TO BE LIFE BEARERS FOR AND WITH THE POOR” offered new educational opportunities for the economically disadvantaged.
In 2002, evening classes were opened to male and female students who worked in the morning to earn a living.
In August 2004, a Ten-month TESDA Accredited Course - International Food Service Management (Food and Beverage Service Management) trained students in personality development, basic accounting, basic cooking, food preparation, cafeteria management and restaurant services. St. Bridget College hopes that after those ten months they would have the skills for a gainful employment.
Knowing that THE TEACHER is a key factor in the learning process, the faculty’s professionalization and ongoing formation provides them with opportunities to attend seminars, conferences, conventions, masteral classes and retreats to hone their teaching skills and to keep abreast of the latest trends in education.
Cognizant of the role of the laity in post modern times and heeding the call of the Church for the lay people’s responsibility to build a JUST society, St. Bridget is working towards lay empowerment, training their faculty and staff in 3 the principles and skills of lay leadership and entrusting them with positions of responsibility.
The Department of Education’s prescribed curriculum is enhanced with human and timeless gospel values and by a thrust towards WOMEN, JUSTICE, PEACE and the INTEGRITY OF CREATION.
Then tiny mustard seed sown in 1912 has grown to a giant tree and growing still towards the Centennial in January 2012.
Faithful to the Church and the charism of St. Mary Euphrasia, looking out to the societal needs and challenges St. Bridget College presses forward in her MISSION OF EDUCATION fostering a caring community of COMPETENT, COMPASSIONATE PERSONS OF INTEGRITY.