Alphonsa College, Pala, Kottayam District is one of the pioneer institutions for the higher education of women in the state of Kerala. It perpetuates the sacred memory of St. Alphonsa, the contemplative mystic whose saintly life of love and service has always been an inspiration and source of strength for the people around her. She was beatified by His Holiness Pope John Paul II when he visited India in 1986. Saint Alphonsa was canonized by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on 12 October 2008. She is the first Indian woman to be raised to the Altar by the Catholic Church. Established in 1964 as a Junior College with 400 students and 13 teachers, Alphonsa College has now attained the status of a First Grade Woman’s College.
The college is a standing monument of the farsightedness and pioneering leadership of Mar. Sebastian Vayalil, the first Bishop of Pala diocese. Though advanced in several respects, this area lacked facilities for women’s education. Fully convinced of the fact that total progress of a society is possible only through the education of women, His Excellency took the bold step of starting a women’s college in Pala with the support of several eminent leaders of the locality. The college is run by the Catholic Diocese of Pala. His Excellency Late Mar Sebastian Vayalil was the founder – patron of the institution. His Excellency mar Joseph Pallikkapparambil Emeritus Bishop of Pala was the patron of the college from 1981 to 2004.
The institution at present is run under the efficient stewardship of His Excellency Mar Joseph Kallarangattu, Bishop of Pala – the present patron, His Excellency Mar Jacob Muricken – the Manager, and Rev. Dr. Sr. Regeenamma Joseph – the Principal, Rev Dr. Shaji john and Rev. Dr. Sr. Minimol Mathew – the Vice Principals and Rev. Dr. Jose Joseph – College Bursar. The college was declared as a Minority Educational Institution by the National Commission for Minority Educational Institution, Government of Kerala.
The fundamental aim of the Alphonsa College is to impart spiritually-oriented and value-based education to young women under circumstances congenial to their all-round development. It encourages the students to aim at excellence not only in academic pursuits but also in every aspect of human endeavor to achieve perfection. The students are prompted to strive for academic excellence so that in course of time they may take up suitable careers for the betterment of their lives and also for their families and society at large. The various co-curricular activities of the College, especially the extension programmes provide them with a rare social consciousness that motivate them to reach out to their fellow-men, particularly the needy and the marginalized.