Sister Menezes: Guyanese historian and former St John Bosco head dies


One of Guyana’s greatest historians and educators, Sister Mary Noel Menezes, affectionately called Sister Menezes has passed away at the age of 92.

Sr Menezes was a Roman Catholic nun belonging to the Order of the Sisters of Mercy.

A trained historian, Sr Menezes’s pioneered work in Indigenous and Portuguese history.

Sr Menezes, who held a PhD in history from the University of London for her ground-breaking dissertation “British policy towards Guyanese Amerindians in the 19th century”, spent most of her academic life at the University of Guyana.

Sr Menezes not only transformed the History Department into one of the best in the Caribbean at the time but also initiated the university’s first Master’s Degree Programme – a Master of Arts in Guyanese and West Indian History.

A passionate and charismatic teacher, Sr Menezes trained a new generation of professional Guyanese historians and public figures. These include former President David Granger, Dr. James Rose, Dr. David Chanderbali, Mr. Tota Mangar, Ms. Cecelia McAlmont, Dr. Basdeo Mangru,  Dr. Marguerite Chase-Garvey and Dr. Kimani Nehusi.

In addition to her prolific historical research, Sr Menezes was also well known for her work at St John Bosco Orphanage, for boys aged three to sixteen (3 to 16) in Plaisance which she ran from 1968 to 2003.

In 2000, she founded the Mercy Boys’ Home in Georgetown for boys 16 and over, to help them transition to adult life.

Over the years, Sr Menezes received several honorary doctorates from universities all over the world, including the University of the West Indies in 2005.

She was awarded the Golden Arrow of Achievement by the Guyanese government in 1982, and in 2015 was inducted into the Order of Roraima.

A true national treasure, Sr Menezes, will be remembered not only for her mountainous contribution to Guyanese history but also through her teachings and love for her students and ‘Bosco boys’.

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