Province of India
Foot Steps of Our Missionary Sisters...
The visions and dreams of Fr. Medaille and Mother St. John Fontbonne were first carried to India by the six French sisters in 1906. In 1907, the second batch of three sisters joined the six in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. During the next few years the Indian Mission kept growing on account of the missionary response of the sisters from France.
The sisters visited the people in their homes and engaged in direct evangelization. They travelled on foot, bullock-carts and at times by bus. Along with pastoral works, the sisters began to include health care and some of the sisters started to work in the Municipal Hospital.
In 1922 Sr. Rose Benedicte the first American missionary arrived in Madurai. The Colonial British Government requested the sisters reopen a school and boarding for "Kalar" ( a particular underprivileged section/caste of that time) girls. This was a turning point for the apostolate of the sisters and the first school was opened in Madurai. A creche, an orphanage and a school were established in Usilampatti in1934. In 1942, another school was started in Ramnad district about 90 kilometres away from Madurai.
Forty-five years after the missionary seeds were sown in Indian soil, the door of a Novitiate was opened for the Indians to join the Congregation and Sr. Marie de Britto was the first Indian to set foot in Assumption House where Sr. Gabrielle Carabelli , the first Novice Mistress welcomed her in 1951.
Realizing the need for women's higher education, Fatima College emerged as the first Catholic college for women, due to the charismatic leadership of Sr. Rose Benedicte. In the same year, Holy Family Convent was started along with an industrial/technical school and an orphanage.
Springs of New Life...
In 1977, Indian sisters began the animation and administration of the Province and the Novitiate was shifted to Peace Haven, Bangalore and in 1982 a more spacious Formation House of Anudhavana was built. The administrative structure of the Indian Province consisted of four statutory Sectors- Tamil Nadu, Karnataka coupled with Andhra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. In 2005, Madhya Pradesh (present
Chattisgrah and Orisa) became a Region.
At present the Province is blessed with 29 communities spread over four States of India where the sisters are engaged in various apostolates and services with special emphasis on option for the poor and the empowerment of women.
Some of the major areas of apostolate are:
Education from Kindergarten to higher education leading to doctorate
Social Action & implementation of Millennium Development Goals
Pastoral and Family Apostolate for Faith formation
Preventive & Curative Health Ministry which includes Hospital care and Health camps
Collaborative Ministry with the formation of Lay Associates
Indian Province responded to transcultural mission from 1970 to the present. The Province continues to respond to the international need of the Congregation. Nine sisters are presently ministering outside India.