Father Ferdinand Bonnel, SJ
Founder of St. Michael's College



Bonnell on Sri Lanka Scott  870
SRI LANKA, 1988, Scott 870

Ferdinand Bonnel was born in Roubaix, France on the Belgian border in 1869, and died in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, in 1945. In 1901 he joined his brother Charles, also a Jesuit, who was then a missionary in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). When St. Joseph’s College in Trincomalee was transferred from the Oblates to the Jesuits Charles became the principal and served as such from 1902 to 1912. Ferdinand founded St. Michael's College in the early 1900s, and was its director more than 40 years. Under his care it developed a great reputation in the sciences especially meteorology and astronomy. He began the electrification of Batticaloa and is considered a pioneer of the modern development of the city.