The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) also known as Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco arrived in Mumbai but proceeded to Tanjore in Tamilnadu in November 1922. The Sisters spread quickly in South India and wanted to begin their Salesian work among the young in the West and other parts of the country. Rev. Mother Maria Avio who was the Provincial in the 40’s prayed hard and left no stone unturned to start a foundation in the Gateway of India, namely Bombay.
In September 1945
Rev Sr. Catherine Marnetto and Sr. Lutgarde Pereira were sent to Bombay to request Archbishop Thomas Roberts S. J. for a house in Bombay.
Rev. Fr. Balaguer S.J., Vicar General was then told to bring a map of the Bombay Diocese, and the Archbishop pointing to Wadala Church said, “here is a poor parish school, just three furlongs from Don Bosco which you may have if you care to and you may come right now.” The Sisters immediately informed Rev. Mother Avio, the then Provincial of Madras and Rev. Sr. Luigina Appiano, the Superior. The Sisters soon received a telegram – MIRACLE, ACCEPT AT ONCE.
In January 1946
The newly appointed Provincial Rev. Mother Teresa Merlo and Sr. Luigina Appiano came to Bombay to finalize matters and decided to send four sisters to teach at St. Joseph’s Wadala.
Four sisters – Sr. Eugene Versino, Sr. Catherine Mania, Sr. Priscilla Fernandes and Sr. Lutgarde Pereira occupied the Military barracks behind Don Bosco’s school and trudged the three furlongs to teach at St. Joseph’s Parish School, lodged in a dilapidated tin shed within the Church Choir. The Salesian Fathers at Don Bosco (SDB) took care of the Sisters and treated them as a part of their own community.The students were composed of big boys and girls mostly poor Catholics from the surrounding village and Sindhis who had just evacuated from Pakistan after the division of the country.
Four attempts at marking the plans for the foundation of the school building were destroyed by the villagers around the site. Rev. Sr. Eugene went high and low begging funds but to no avail. When she found herself in dire need of funds, she together with her Sisters would go about begging for funds.
19th MARCH 1950
The Sisters moved into the almost completed new School Building from the Military Barracks at Don Bosco’s Matunga. The school strength was about 500 students. The Sisters used to go from door to door begging the poor people around to have their children educated instead of sending them to work.
30th MARCH 1951
Sr. Eugenia Versino went to Bandra with Sr.Clementina Lobo to beg for supplies. On their return she had planned to alight at King’s Circle Station close to Don Bosco’s to consult Rev. Fr. Aurelius Maschio on some business, but the train was overcrowded and before she could follow Sr. Clementina down the footboard the train started so she decided to go to the next station and made signs to Sr. Clementina to meet her at Don Bosco’s. Suddenly she was thrown off the train on to the platform against an iron pillar where she expired on the spot. She was rushed to the nearest hospital; while people called up to convey the sad news to the Sisters and the Salesians who rushed to Sion Hospital. The funeral next day was averitable witness of the great esteem the people of Bombay held for the Salesian Sisters and for Sr. Eugenia in particular. Even the hostile villagers around now became very friendly and helpful.
The Sisters taught at St. Joseph’s High School at Wadala.
The girls from St. Joseph’s High School at Wadala were shifted to the new building at Auxilium Wadala and in 1954 the two schools became independent.