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Convent Light Street School

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Convent Light Street School

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Convent Light Street School Penang Attractions

Convent Light Street or the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus, a girls' school established by a French Sisters' Mission in 1852, is the oldest girls' school in South East Asia. Sisters of the Infant Jesus, previously also referred to as Sisters of the Holy Infant Jesus or Les Dames de Saint-Maur, is a Roman Catholic Missionary order. It was founded in 1666 by Father Nicolas Barré, a Minim priest, for the gratuitous instruction of poor girls. Sisters of the Holy Infant Jesus were among the pioneer missionaries in Malaya and Japan. The Sisters arrived in Malaya as it then was in 1852 – the first mission on foreign soil since the Founding of the Institute in 1666. The first School as well as an Orphanage was in Penang.

Four Sisters were sent to the East. After a long and perilous voyage, three of them landed at Penang in 1852; one had died at sea. The three Sisters established a convent which contained an orphanage and school in Penang that same year. The school, Convent Light Street, is Penang's oldest girls' school and has occupied its current site along Light Street near historic George Town for over 150 years. While on the peninsula, the Sisters continued establishing schools with help from the local community such as Kuala Lumpur's oldest girls' school Convent Bukit Nanas, now recognised as one of the city's premier schools. During World War II, the Japanese invaded Malaya and either took over or closed down many such mission schools, notably the iconic Convent Primary School in the hills of Tanah Rata. The Tanah Rata convent is one of the few in the region which still contains an operating school and a church. Today, CHIJ schools can be found in most states and many major cities and they continue to educate local girls of all races and religion.