Mrs. Bernice de Mel, wife of the Mr. Mohandas de Mel, was the daughter of the Late Mr. & Mrs. L. John Fernando of Panadura. She was born on 12th March 1910, and received a sound education at a then leading girls’ school, St. Bridget’s Convent, Colombo 07.
It has been said that behind the life of every successful man is a dedicated, supportive and dutiful wife, so it was with Mrs. Bernice de Mel. She encouraged all Mr. de Mel’s efforts to build up Buddhist Ladies’ College and gave unstintingly of her time, she also substantially supported the school financially to get it started by May 1954. She shouldered many responsibilities unobtrusively and took a keen personal interest in the smooth functioning of the BLC hostels. She drove a light blue Vauxhall Ensign car and was able to reach the hostels even late at night to help with any crisis or sick hostellers. By her simple lifestyle and example she inculcated in the hostellers qualities of simplicity, patience and stood as an example model for happy and harmonious living.
It was Mrs. Bernice de Mel who maintained the personal relationships by her friendly nature and rapport with students, hostellers, members of tutorial, office and minor staff. Their personal successes and problems were shared with her. It was she who was at the bedside to comfort a sick hosteller, or grace a past pupil’s wedding and there first to visit a teacher to greet, a new addition to the teacher’s family or to lend a sympathetic ear to the problems of the minor staff and their families. Many times she stood in for her husband who was busy attending to numerous other matters pertaining to the school.
She awarded many scholarships in memory of her parents and several special prizes in memory of her late husband Mr. Mohandas de Mel.
On the 16th of July 1985, she passed away at the age of 75 years. To her, every hosteller and the whole of Buddhist Ladies’ College owe a deep sense of gratitude.
May she attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana!