Look for the Special Golden Jubilee Events

Sophia High School - a bookmark down the ages ...

In August 1948 when the Intennuncio and the Apostolic Delegation shifted to Delhi, his residence and grounds about 5 acres, was taken over by a Religious Order of Nuns called the Religious of the Sacred Heart . They planned to open a school at this residence, and run it from a great White Bungalow. This great White Bungalow became as famous as the White House of Washington D.C. to hundreds of girls and boys who had passed through it's portals. The pioneers of the Order to this residence were Rev. Mother Catherine Andersson of British-Irish origin, Mother Ivy Bourke who was Irish, and Sister Dorothy Bullen who was British. The School was called "Convent of the Sacred Heart".

A small Montessori Nursery class with 17 children and one qualified teacher (Miss. Meena), was started in January 1949 at the White Bungalow, the strength gradually grew to 59 by the end of June 1948. The tuition fees were then Rs.10/-, admission fee was Rs.10/-, and the charges for elevances ( biscuits and a cup of milk) was also Rs.10/- It is hard at this stage to picture the class rooms, but one should consider a large Manor with large drawing rooms, large windows, filled with little benches. Infant "A", "B", and "C" were conducted from the parlour of the building. About 40% of the children admitted were foreigners.

The First Batch of Children who registered in January 1949:

Carolyn Kent; Jeffery Giles; Raj Kumar Rao; James Campbell; Kanya Subba Rao; Mahendra Subba Rao; Mohan Subba Rao; Santa Phillips; Christobel Anderson; Gita Matthan; Dianne Robertson; Rosemary Wells; Srikantan Ramanathan; Raja Jaya Ram; Elizabeth Mayne; Sugathri Naidu; Piloo Sundaram (Vijay Kumar); Tiddy Sundaram (Nishat); Melba Pinto; Adrian Pinto; Ram Mohan Lakshman; Gautam Ubhayakar; Usha Nayampalli; Surjeet Singh; Kishore Ramaswamy; Govardan Ramaswamy; Salil Gangully; Mary Santhu Devsundar.

Rev. Mother Andersson was the founder Principal, Mother Bourke was the Vice-Principal, Treasurer, Mistress of Discipline and Administrator, while Sr. Bullen was the nurse and sewing mistress. In 1949, work started on a new building that was finished by the end of the year. In January 1950 The classes were shifted fro the White Bungalow to this building that was christened "Barat Building" after the Founder of the Order of the Sisters. However, the Std.V was still in the old Bungalow because of lack of space. The classrooms were suitable built for 20 to 25 children. The enclosed quadrangle of size 25' x 25' inside the Bungalow which had a red-oxide floor was called the "The Red Hall" where all the functions like Weekly notes, and prizes for Christmas were distributed. In September 1950 the first Public Concert was put up in a Shamiana (pendal / tent) erected under the mango trees (where the present Duchesne Building is situated).

The School was recognised as a Primary School by the Department of Public Instruction. 1950 was an eventful year for Sports, as one can imagine, Long Jump and High Jump were introduced for the first time! It was recalled that way back on 3rd December, 1951, when the children who attained a good average in studies of over 80% from the Std. and Upper Preparatory were treated by the Principal to a party in the garden. Later on 11th December, Rev. Mother Andersson, Mother Cunningham, Mother Burke and the Staff conducted Orals for the Upper Classes. For the Orals, Std.III did the Geography of Mysore, Std.II Old Indian History in the form of questions and answers. This was followed by a Spelling Bee for Std.II and III. (Studies in those days was so simple and non-taxing to the student). Sr. Carmel (sister of Miss. Bernie Pinto ) was also on the Staff and played the Organ. The School Management wanted to close down the School because there were inadequate finances to run it. Parents came to the rescue and agreed to double the fees, and a couple years later Duchesne Building was built with a first floor, and catered for students up to the Std.X. Each class had about 8 to 10 children. When the numbers increased, Recognition by the then Govt. of Mysore in 1956, then the first batch of ISC (Indian School Certificate, affiliated to the University of Cambridge) was sent up in 1957. It would be recalled that Rowena Mathias stood first for India, Pakistan and Ceylon in the Examinations, thus the School was established as a Centre of Learning. In the year 1957-1958 a Concert Hall was built and designed by an Italian Engineer, Mr. Betty Jelly (Batterchellai?). The wavy ceiling and acoustic arrangement was the first if it's kind in South India. A well remembered teacher of the School was Mrs. Mary D'Lemos (mother of Jeff D'Lemos).

In November 1952, the Middle School of the Convent was recognised, and by September 1953, the number of students rose to 200! On 4th September 1953, the first voting by the Staff and students for "Green Ribbons" - The Third Green Ribbon was to Usha Burman; the Fourth Green Ribbon to Prabha Ramakrishna; the Fifth Green Ribbon to Malathi Swamy. Ribbons were distributed on 11th September. When the School reopened on 15th January 1954, the children were told that they would be divided into two groups - one under the care of St. Madeleine Sophia with the color Red, the symbol of Love; the other under the care of Blessed Philippine Duchesne with the color Green, the symbol of Hope. In September 1954, Rev. Mother inaugurated the "Fatima" Fund for the poor. Each child was asked to contribute "one anna" weekly. In March it as offically announced that "Greens" will be called "Duchesne House" and "Reds" will be called "Barat House".

In September 1957, a letter from the Deputy Director of Public Instruction approving the change of the School from "Convent of the Sacred Heart" to "Sophia High School". The School Motto "Truth and Universal Love" was framed. The School Song was written by Rev. Mother with the refrain ... "Flame of Truth so strong and sure, Make thy Children free and pure, Flower of Love, by silent speech, Gift of self unto us teach". Holidays!!... 10 days were declared by the Government as an influenza epidemic broke out. With the new "Colours" , At the Sports Day in August 1957, the "Reds" won the High, Middle, and Group cups, the "Greens" won the Primary cup ...

Later the Mater Building and Lunch Pavilion (June, 1960) were constructed. The Novitiate Building (that also houses the present Staff Room), the 2nd Floor of the Duchesne Building and the Guest House were also put up.

In 1959, Mother Bourke took over as Principal. However, in 1961, she and Sr. Bullen were transferred to Ahmednagar District, to start a school for the poor in Harigaon. "Fatima (Andersson) Fund" as it was known - a collection of 10 paise from each child per week was collected to make the children learn to share and help the poor. This collection was sent to Harigaon.

1961 brought a sad moment to the School as on 18th August, Rev. Mother Fatima Andersson passed away, and Rev. Mother Napier became Mother Superior.

Mother Wilcox took over as Principal in June 1961. Being a dynamic person and a very good expressive English Teacher, she was called the Shakespeare of Sophia. Her General Instruction classes were very much liked, and she stressed on Moral Science. March 1965 saw the scaffolding go up for the new floor on Duchesne Building. In November 1965, the Centenary Celebrations were held in honour of St. Madeleine Sophia Barat. "Fire" a symbolic representation in Indian Dance of Mother Barat's life was presented to parents and friends of Sophia High School. In 1968, Mother Celia Braganza became the Principal, and there was much joy returned to the School as Mother Bourke and Sr. Bullen were transferred back to Bangalore. December 1968 brought some shocks to the parents and children of the School. Mother Ward spoke to the Staff telling them of the decision taken by the Religious of the Sacred Heart to close the School or to hand it over to othr Religious. In 1970, Mother Wilcox became Principal for the second time. On 20th September 1970, the girls from Std.V to Std.X, were arranged into four Houses: Anddersson, Barat, Bennet and Dduchesne. A few das later the first Prefects were chosen. Parul Shah for Andersson House; Devyani Mundkur for Barat House; Smitha Shah for Bennett House and Shyamala Nivsarkar for Duchesne House.

Sophia had some new inspiration as Sr. Mary Vaune, Sr. Randal and Sr. Lalitha belonging to the Religious Order of Notre Dame Sisters, came from Patna in 1970 and worked with the Sacred Heart Sisters for two years. They took over the School in 1972. Mother Wilcox and others of the Community of Sacred Heart Sisters left for Bombay to the famous Sophia College which was founded by Rev. Mother Andersson. Sr. Vaune became the Principal of Sophia High School in January 1972. On 2nd February of the same year, a School for the Physically Handicapped children was started in Julie Cottage with three children. Sr. Joelle was the Principal. Sr. Vaune raised funds in various ways to construct this special building which is referred to as the Sophia Opportunity School .

The Sophia High School, Silver Jubilee was celebrated in March 1973 in a small way. Under the able guidance of Sr. Vaune, several extra circular activities were started and the strength of the children in various classes were gradually increased. She developed good contacts for the School and continued the School Motto and School Song , she also had a deep respect for the Founders of Sophia School. To cater to the local environment, the S.S.L.C. (Secondary School Leaving Certificate) was started in parallel stream with the I.C.S.E. (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education). In February 1973, the First Sophia Day was held.

Mother St. Thomas became the Mother Superior and Sr. Roselle was the kitchen-in-charge, The Notre Dame Junior College for Teacher Training was started in January 1974, and (the late) Sr. Jesslin was the first Principal. ( This Junior College was a take off from the Training College that was earlier run by the Good Shepherd Sisters at their Convent on Museum Road ).

Sr. Aneeta (the present Primary School Principal who replaced Sr. Sujata) came in 1976 to join the Staff and liven up the surroundings. The Resource Centre was established, a collection effort by means of a Fair called "Sophia Fair" in 1978 helped the School build up Funds for their Projects.

In the year 1975 -1976, Sr. Faith came to become Vice Principal. She introduced the Sophia School Band ( this Band was earlier led by Mr. Ronnie Lyke who has settled in Australia, now it is under the keen guidance of Mr. Ashley Williams ( son of the famous Organist of St. Andrew's Church and Classical & Jazz Musician - the Late J.T. Williams). The Band has been performing at various programs, the latest was for the Memory Tribute of Mr. J.T. Williams at the Violin-shaped Chowdiah Memorial Hall. They were also winners at the 130 Year Celebration Music Competition of the Cathedral High School, known in the past as the Cantonment Orphanage ).

In December 1979, Sr. Vaune was transferred to Mysore and Sr. Anima became the Principal in January 1980. She was very instrumental in developing the beautiful garden of he School. Two major Projects took place during her tenure. The "Julie" and the "Leans" Buildings were put up, also an open stage was built. A kiddies play corner was also created and for the first time a "Big" School bell was sounded. Sr.Anima, as described by the late Sr. Jesslin was a very dear person who won the hearts of many people. She however was transferred to Mysore in December 1985, and Sr. Mary Joan became the Principal from January 1986. It is indeed a tribute to St. Madaline Sophie Barat, the Patron of the Sisters, that inspite of the many changes, developments, and improvements, the tradition of Sophia never changed. Sr. Joan was not new to Sophia's as she was already on the Duchesne Staff in the capacity as an English Teacher, a subject that she excelled in. She soon completed the Lunch cum Sports Pavilion, which was a long felt need and fulfillment of Sr. Anima's dream. On 30th October, the Pavilion was Blessed. Her vision for the future was marked with the introduction of computers in the School Curriculum. Sr. Joan brought about a change in the long accepted practice of Assemblies. The regular Day1 Assembly was to be put up by each class was introduced. This gave all the students a chance to meet as one big family and gave everyone a feeling of oneness and not broken up on the basis of buildings. It was also an opportunity to inculcate in students a sense of values both spiritual and moral. Because of environmental changes in the climate of Bangalore, the need for fans was essential for each class room. An appeal to the parents and well wishers was received most generously and contributions came pouring in and soon every class room had a fan, a introduction greatly appreciated by the Staff as well as the children. To cater for the changes in Science and Technology, the Science Laboratories and Computer Laboratories had to be upgraded. A fair was conducted called "Sophair'88", and although it was a success, the amount targeted was not met. It was on the 7th February 1989 that the Corner Stone for the new Duchesne Building was laid. Another ambition that Sr. Joan had was to start the "Plus 2" class at Sophia 11th and 12th Std. Parents felt that there could be no better idea and were very enthusiastic about it, but unfortunately the plans did not materialise and it was hoped that the future Principals would consider this. One of the key factors was the lack of space or the necessary buildings available to immediately take up this on a practical level.

January 1989, saw a new face around the Sophia School Campus, this was none other than that of Sr. Jesslin. (It is difficult to refer to Sr. Jesslin as "late", as her Spirit still lingers in the minds and hearts of all who came across her path, and Sophia High School, so till the end of the paragraph we will just refer to the late Sr. Jesslin as just "Sr. Jesslin.").

Although Sister was new to many of us, she was not new to "Sophia", as she was here earlier as the "First" Principal of the Notre Dame Training College. Many were curious as to her presence at Sophia's, but soon it was out that she would be replacing Sr. Joan.

Sr. Jesslin's poise and elegance, her endearing ways and being a very communicative person soon put every at ease. When she took over her duties as Principal, the Staff and Parents felt very free to express their views and problems to her. She was very open to change and very accommodating towards peoples problems. She got down to work in a forthright manner, ensured that the usual school activities were carried out with minute attention to detail. Sr. Jesslin went on to complete the on going schemes of the School, as completing the Duchesne Court which acts as an Auditorium for many of the School's functions. In June 1991, the building was formally Blessed and opened. In October 1991, the new well equipped Science Laboratories were Blessed and opened.

Starting with a humble beginning of the first concert held in a Shamiana erected under the mango trees way back in 1950, and with the School growing in leaps and bounds, the present hall was inadequate to hold large numbers, so for the first time in the History of Sophia's a Public Concert called "Shakti" by the High School was held at the Chowdiah Memorial Hall, and which was a great success. Inspired by the success of the High School concert, the Mater Students were not far behind in following suit and the Musical "Oliver" was held at the sam venue and that too was a tremendous success. One has to thank Sr. Jesslin for her initiative and encouragement in having these concerts at this popular venue, which is acoustically conditioned for Musical Performances.

In October 1991, another important event was slated. The starting of a P.T.A. (Parent Teacher Association). A General Body Meeting was held with elections and the P.T.A. became an active part of Sophia High School. Another change which took place was the uniforms for Prep. and Jr. I students. Earlier the children could wear what they wanted, but this led to certain comparisons in the dress worn and children felt a complex. The construction of a new Basket Ball court was appreciated by all Sports lovers, and it has been used to train many a University or State player down the years.

The Historical moment in Sophia's History soon saw History being literally brought down in May 1992, when the long standing famous "White Bungalow" as famous to Sophia's Students and Staff as the "White House" in Washington, was raised to the ground. Both students and Staff especially those who were long associated with Sophia's brought back nostalgic memories of the years spent in the White Bungalow. They prayed that the new Bungalow, thought different in stature and structure would maintain the white color and continue as the White Bungalow and Sophia's White House. Perhaps because of the difficulty in the maintenance of keeping the building white, the New Bungalow is of a different shade. However, to any "Sophite" really getting a hangover about the White Bungalow, the large arched beautiful green trellis grills are used as a pathway guide to the playground, so the spirit of the White Bungalow is still, around. Lets hope that the wood is treated with some chemicals so that the white-ants or termites do not crumble the remains of what was once a beautiful elegant building, that gave everyone who entered it an aura or Peace.

Sophia's has always been on the move to give the children the best, and especially keeping in mind that "Sophia" means "Wisdom and Knowledge", the Library, was moved to encourage the children it inculcate good reading habits. A children's Junior Library was also started for the Primary and Middle School Sections of Sophia High School.

Notre Dame Junior College of Education - T.T.C. (For Anglo-Indians)

Notre Dame Junior College was started in January 1974. Sr. Vaune initiated the beginning of this college with the then Provincial Sr. Wt.Thomas. The training college had its recognition with the Good Shepherd Sisters who in turn handed it over to the A.C. Sisters. These Sisters continued this special section of the Anglo-Indian Teacher Training for a time, along with their Karnataka recognised T.T.C. Later these sisters discontinued sending trainees for their exams. The college at that time was under the Board of Maharashtra. During the years of discontinuing the exam, the Sisters lost tough with the Depart of Education. The recognition however was still with the Sisters. When on transfer to the Sisters of Notre Dame during 1973 -1974, they could only hand over this single paper. The late Mr. Barrow, the then Secretary for the Council of the I.C.S.E. Board of the All India Anglo Indian Schools urged Sophia's and gave his untiring help, support and encouragement in taking over the discontinued T.T.C. for the deep love he had for the Anglo-Indians. In June 1973, the Province decided t take up the work and Sr. Jesslin was asked to come over to Bangalore t start the preparation for the work. In August 1973, Sr. Jesslin along with Sr. Vaune, the then Principal of Sophia's, began the preliminary work of starting the college. In January 1974, the first course for a group of 24 Anglo-Indian students and others. The College was inaugurated by the Archbishop of Bangalore. Rt. Rev. Fr. Arokiaswamy and in the presence of Sr. Amala, the new Provincial, Sr. Vaune, the Principal of Sophia High School, Sr. Jesslin, the first Principal of Notre Dame Junior College and many parents, Sisters and well wishers.

The first classes were held in the basement of Duchesne Building. At first furniture was purchased for on 30 students. All classes were held in the same room, but the Hall, playground and other facilities were shared with the High School. One of the outstanding features of the Training College of that time was that the teachers fro the High School took all the classes, Teaching practice supervision, etc. and everything seemed to be "one". Even the two public performances of the T.T.C. - "My Fair Lady" and the "Sound of Music" had a few children from the school for the characters of the play.

The biggest and hardest hill to climb was the trouble the College authorities had to go through to obtain the N.O.C. from the Karnataka Government. Sr. Jesslin had spent hours, days, months going from one office to another in the Education Department, spent sleepless nights and days even shedding tears infront of the Education Secretary to get this permission and finally only in the last month before the final sending up for the exam, the N.O.C. was granted. This agony and anguish could never be forgotten. Sr. Vaune was an invaluable support, and the constant encouragement and support of Mr. Barrow, made the Colleges hope come true of having the T.T.C. begin and continue. The College is deeply indebted to both of them. The first group of students for the exam was sent up in December 1975. Today the T.T.C. has separate class rooms, separate teachers and functions independently. The T.T.C. 1st Years do their Teaching practice in the Primary and Middle School. They consult the teachers and prepare the lessons and teach. Mr. Ashley Williams, Sophia School Music master and Mr. Kunju the P.T. Master also assist the Trainees during their course.

(Late Sr. Jesslin was 1st Principal; Sr. Jyothi was 2nd Principal; Sr. Aruna was 3rd Principal; Sr. Vishala was the 4th Principal. Sr. Vishala is the current Principal of the Notre Dame Junior College of Education .

The Principal, Staff and Trainees of

Notre Dame Junior College of Education

cordially invite you to their

Valedictory Function

on 28th February 1997at 4.30 p.m. I.S.T.

at Sophia High School Auditorium

(Sophia High School), 70, Palace Road, Bangalore 560 001.

Rev. Dr. Percival Fernandez, Director of St. John's Medical College & Hospital has kindly concented to be the Chief Guest and confer the Diplomas .

25 Years Jubilee Celebrations

(Sr. Jesslin's death at Patna was rather tragic, and we feel that details are not required. We know that her last words were to her Loving Saviour, Jesus, calling on Him to take her to Him. If you wish to send in your condolences, please write to the Principal of the School or send an e-mail to ronnie.johnson@usa.net (or) ronniejohnson@hotmail.com )

Sophia's latest Wonder Girl! Nisha Millet

National Games Bangalore, June 1997

Nisha learnt to swim in June 1991 at Madras because the Shenoynagar Swimming Pool was just 5 minutes. away from her house. Within 2 months of training, she beat everyone in the pool!
In less than one year of learning to swim, she won the Individual Championiship of the Tamilnadu State Championships, breaking the record in the 50 meters breast-stroke.
In 1992, she won her 1st National Medal, a bronze in the 50 meters backstroke at the Sub-Jr nationals held in Trivandrum. From then on there was no turning back for Nisha.
Nisha won the Individual Championship in her age group ever since.
In 1993, at the Sub-Jr Nationals held in Bangalore, she won the Individual Championship with 2 National records in 50 Meters and 100 Meters Freestyle.
She represented India at the Asia Pacific Meet in Hong Kong and won a Bronze in the 100 Meters Freestyle and a Silver & Bronze in the Relays.
1994 was a memorial year, Nisha created Aquatic history by being the youngest Senior National Champion at 12 Years!!. This was in Goa at the Senior Nationals where she won 5 Gold Medals and was the fastest swimmer of the Meet.
Again at the National Games in Pune, she was the youngest Gold Medallist winning the 50 and 100 Meters Freestyle.
1995, at the Asia Pacific Championships in Colombo, Nisha was the only girl in the Indian Team to win a Gold Medal. She received the Gold in the 100 Meters Backstroke event.
1996, at the Asian Swimming Championship held in Bangkok, Nisha came 3rd in the "B" Finals and ranked 11th in Asia.
At the Sr. Nationals held in Indore, Nisha won 10 Gold Medals, was Individual Champion and broke Anita Sood's record in the 200 Meter Freestyle, (which Anita set when Nisha was just 2 years old!).
1997 National Games at Bangalore, Nisha collected 9 Gold Medals (all new records!), and was presented IOA Trophy for the "Best Sports Woman of the Games" by the H'ble Prime Minister, Mr. I.K. Gujral.

In November 1997, at the recently Sr. Nationals at Trivansrum, Nisha won 10 Gold Medals (7 Individual events, 3 relays, breaking 3 National records, and was adjudged "Individual Champion" in the Women's Section.

Thanks to the Athlete International Ministry (AIM), Nisha had the opportunity to go for a 3 month training stint at Phoenix Swim Club, Arizona a leading Swiming Academy in the U.S.A. owned by Dr. Gary Hall, 3 time Olympic Medallist. While she was there, she had the wonderful exposure of training together with a couple of current Olympians like Gary Hall Jr, Jon Olsen, and Josh Davis.

Nisha is the only Indian Swimmer selected to participate in the World Swiming Championship to be held in Perth, Australia to be held from the 9th January to 18th January 1998.

Flashes of Nisha!! All the Best in 1998 at Perth!

Gold Medals: All Freestyle events - 50 meters, 100 Meters, 200 Meters, 400 Meters, 800 Meters and NATIONAL GAMES RECORDS IN EACH ONE OF THEM!!

Gold Medals: 4 x 100 Freestyle Relay, 4 x 100 Medley Relay and NATIONAL GAMES RECORDS IN BOTH EVENTS

Silver Medals: 400 Meters Medley Relay

Videocon Trophy for Best Sportswoman - 4th National Games 1997

Received Indian Olympic Association Trophy for Best Sportswoman from the Hon'ble Prime Minister Mr. I.K. Gujal

Another of Sophia's wonder girls: Nisha Ann Reginald - Hoopster on a High !!
Sophia Sparkle or Sabah Sparkle for Elle18

The Principal, Staff, and Students of Sophia High School & Notre Dame Junior College of Education, Wish All Indians on the Occasion of the 50th Year of India's Independence , Peace, Joy, Friendship, Love, and God's Blessings, and Welcome the World to Join in this Celebration at Bangalore in India, on 15th August, 1997.


"Heartfelt Condolence From the Principals, Staff and Students of Sophia High School and Notre Dame College Bangalore, India on the sad death of Lady Diana, a Friend of India. May God's Strength be with You All through this time of Grief and Always. God Bless You All!"

This Home Page is maintained by Maisy Johnson, Class Teacher of (II-J)

e-mail: Maisy Johnson or Ronnie Johnson

Sorry, there is no link to "Sophia High School Old Girls Association" "SOGA" Home Page! as it apparently 'officially' does not exist!! However, here is the "Unofficial" SOGA Page !!!

The School Song

Love and truth, fair gift divine
Honour, glory, praise be thine
Child like hearts to God's own heart
Fashion by thy gentle art.

Flame of truth so stroing and sure
Make thy children free and pure
Flower of love by silent speech
Gift of self unto us teach.

Boundless, quenchless, deathless fire
Stronger than all men's desire
Burn our souls with truths own flame
Peace and joy shall be thy flame.

Show our mind and guide our will
Love's dear duties to fulfill
To the needy, to the sad
Help us bring thy message glad.

God who art both love and truth
Lead our footsteps, lead our youth
Then within thy heart divine
Truth and love shall intertwine.

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Thought for the Day: " Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, For you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man's sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, Fon in the manner their fathers did to the prophets. But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did they fathers to the false prophets."Holy Bible: Luke 6:20-26