Santhidham Province, Ghaziabad
Bishop Patrick Nair, the Bishop of Meerut, invited us to open a convent at Sarsawa to run St. Mary’s Academy and to build up a strong Christian community. Srs. Gracia, Lekha and Leena were the pioneers. Sisters started teaching staying in the school. Fr. Joseph Puthett, the Vicar General helped us to purchase 2 acre of land near the school for a convent and a hospital. On 10th August 1986, the convent building was completed blessed by the bishop.
Santidham Hospital: In 1992, the Santidham Hospital was completed and blessed by Bishop Patrick Nair. Santidham hospital was a great haven to the poor and suffering of the surrounding villages. Mobile clinics and awareness programs were conducted periodically.The school has grown into Senior Secondary inculcating good values in the children. Besides imparting education and health care, Sisters are involved in village development programs. Sarsawa functioned as Santidham Regional House from 1994 to 1998.
At the request of Bishop Patrick Nair, we ventured into the remote neglected village of Sirsanal on 2 October 1986, to strengthen the catholic community in faith and morals and to work for the integral development of the village. Fr. Valerian OFM cap was the first missionary who had been living a very simple life with the catholic families, meeting the spiritual needs of the villagers. A dispensary attached to the convent is a great blessing to the villages far and near having no medical facilities.
The Catholic Diocese of Meerut Hindi medium School started in1986 has reached up to a High School with more than 1000 students keeping very good standard. Though the school is under the management of the diocese, Sisters bear the responsibility of the school.
On 1 October 2005, we got the permission from Bishop Patrick Nair to open a house in Dehradun and bought a plot of land with the help of OCD fathers. On 23 July 2012, Srs. Sandwana (Sup.), Josmy and Jitha Rose the pioneers stayed in a rented house. Sr. Sandwana was in prayer for one year in the perpetual adoration chapel and others were students of Government College. With the hard effort of Sr. Francilin the councillor, the land at Clement Town was sold and bought a house for the convent near the parish church at Dehradun.
The new convent and ‘Santisadan’ were blessed and inaugurated by Rt. Rev. Francis Kalist, Bishop of Meerut on 26 April 2014. ‘Santisadan’ is a home for the destitute ladies and they are accommodated in the ground floor where as Sisters stay on the first floor of the house.
Bishop Hippolytus had a great desire to have the presence of the SD Sisters in his diocese. He built a convent in the Christian colony at Premnagar and blessed it on 10 February 1990. Srs. Roselima (Sup.), Florin and Paulin Therese were the pioneers. Premnagar is the biggest parish having 200 catholic families. Two Sisters are fully engaged in contacting the families through counselling, prayer sessions and Bible classes. Moral and Christian values are implanted in the young minds through the Kindergarten owned by the diocese. Sisters are actively involved in all parish activities and charitable works.
Mandal is an undeveloped village 10 km from Premnagar. Bishop Hippolytus Kunnumkal donated 3 acre of land to start a school and a rehabilitation centre for the physically challenged girls at Mandal. On 4 September 1994, a convent was constructed supervised by Sr. Eliza and blessed by the Bishop. Srs. Trinita (Sup.), Zeena, Sobitha were the pioneers.
St. John’s Convent School
St. John’s Convent School had a very humble beginning in one of the rooms of the convent. Now it has become a High School imparting quality education to the children of 35 villages. A two storeyed building with an administrative block and auditorium was constructed supervised by Sr. Sindhu Puthuserry. ‘Jeevandhara’: In October 1996, ‘Jeevandhara’ the centre for physically challenged girls with a dispensary was blessed by Bishop Hippolytus and started functioning. Jeevandhara serves as a multi-rehabilitation centre accommodating differently able children and destitute ladies. Sisters take pains to build up a strong catholic community through faith formation, prayer sessions and home visits.
With the permission of Bishop Symphorian, Fr. Patrick Mootheril, the mission superior of OCD invited us to Baijnath to collaborate with them in the work of evangelization through education. On 31st March 1992, the convent and kindergarten were opened in a rented building blessed by Bishop Symphorian. Later 1995, the school and the convent were shifted to the new buildings. Srs. Gracia (Sup.), Elsius and Anjana were the pioneers.The School has grown into a High school maintaining good standard promoting moral and Christian values to the younger generation.
In response to the invitation of Fr. John Mundackal, the Regional Superior of CST, we opened a convent at Moga on 15 July 1997, to run a school and to collaborate with them in pastoral ministry. The convent and nursery were blessed by Fr. Mundackal. Sr. Roselima and Sr. Sheena were the pioneers. Later the convent and the school except the nursery were shifted to a new place. Now the school has developed into a High School imparting good education. Sisters are actively involved in parish activities and village visits and keep a good rapport with the people around.
As a response to the request of Fr. Patrick Mootheril, the Mission Superior of OCD, we opened a convent at Nandachaur in Hosiarpur on 20 March 1999. Sisters regularly visit the catholic and non-catholic families. Nandachaur has become a centre for prayer and counselling guided by Fr. Tobias OCD, the parish priest. Thousands of people of all castes and religion would come to attend the novena of the Blessed mother and return peacefully receiving favors. The parish has three sub-stations. In 2008, Jyothir Bhavan, a boarding for poor catholic girls, was opened to impart integral formation.
At the invitation of Mar Chittilapilly, the Bshop of Kalyan, we bought a house at Vashi in New Bombay for the spiritual renewal of the catholic community of 300 families. The house was blessed by the Bishop on 16 February 1993. Sr. Maris (Sup.) and Sr. Nithya Katteth were the pioneers. The presence of the Sisters strengthens and activates the catholic community there. The newly constructed church was blessed by Mar Thomas Elavanal, the Bishop of Kalyan on 8 June 2014. Thus the long awaited dream to have a place of worship for the people of Vashi was realized.
In October 1997, we bought a piece of land from CIDCO to build a care centre for HIV/AIDS patients in Kalamboli. With the generous help from the Congregation of John of God Munchen and other benefactors, the building was completed under the supervision of Sr. Redempta and blessed on 26 December 1999.129This centre accommodates 40 patients. The Sisters give great care and concern to the patients in their miserable condition due to sickness and abandonment. They are given counselling and spiritual assistance. This centre serves as a beacon of hope to thousands of HIV/AIDS patients. Hundreds of out patients are getting treatment and many awareness programmes are conducted to eradicate this fatal disease. We have to keep on record the generous support of the people in maintaining and in assisting the last rites and cremation.
Thaloja is a rehabilitation centre for HIV affected women who had overcome the terminal stage. It was built in a plot of one acre donated by Fr. Carlo Torani PIME with the help of Japan group projects under the supervision of Sr. Eliza. Sr. Gracia (Sup.) and Sr. Saphalya were the pioneers. The centre accommodates 30 women. The inmates are engaged in small income generating handiworks, cultivation and house hold duties. Sisters assist in the medical camps run for the children of AIDS patients and lepers of ‘Swargadwar’ a rehabilitation centre for lepers.
As a response to the invitation of Rt. Rev. Antony Fernandez, the Bishop of Bareilly through CMI fathers of Najibabad Province, we opened a house at Jaspur. Sr. Sheena (Sup), Sr. Jesmy and Sr. Jasmine Jose were the pioneers. On 7 April 2001, the Bishop blessed the residence of the Sisters in the School building and they stayed there till we completed the convent building in our plot in July 2003. Sisters are teaching in the school, taking care of the poor catholic girls accommodated in the first floor of the convent and assist in parish activities.
On 30 August 2011 CMI fathers bought the convent building with the plot for their school but the Sisters continue to teach and look after the girls in the boarding staying in the convent building. Sisters visit the houses and animate mahilamandals.
In 2008, Sr. Annie Thaipodath and Sr. Joice stayed in a rented house and studied the felt need of the people. The council then decided to open a home for sheltering mentally ill women, the neglected ones of the society. In 2010, we bought a plot of land and constructed ‘Santisadan’ the convent and the destitute home with the guidance of OCD fathers. Rt. Rev. Paul Lakra, the Bishop of Gumla blessed the house on 14 June 2010. Santisadan is situated in a tribal interior village Armai, Gumla. The home accommodates 20 inmates between the ages of 20-50. They are given treatment and counselling and are able to do household duties and cultivation.
This convent functions as a study house and the formation house of candidates. As there is no source of income, it is supported by the provincial house. Sisters visit the families regularly and try to inculcate moral and spiritual values.
On 20 December, we got the permission from His Eminence Cardinal Telespore Toppo, the Archbishop of Ranchi to begin a convent and a Home for the Destitute. With the help of Fr. Sebastian, we purchased 95 cent land at Ormanchi on 18th August 2006. In 2009, Sr. Annie Thaipodath constructed the compound wall and a small house and it was blessed by Fr. Mathew Choorampanthiyil on 25 November 2011. Sr. Ranjana and Sr. Delphy were the pioneers. Vocation promotion and initial formation takes place here. Sisters visit houses and carry out railway platform ministry and take care of wandering children.
Mawthong is one of the far flung villages in the district of Nongstoin in Meghalaya state. There are 18 villages around, with about 15000 people. People of this area are very poor depending purely on rain for their one time cultivation. They have no access to the good schools and hospitals.
We were invited by Rt. Rev. Victor Lyngdoh, the Bishop of Nongstoin to work among the people of this remote area. The mission entrusted to us is to teach in an upper primary school, to run a dispensary, faith formation and Gospel touring. We arrived at Mawthong on 7 December 2013 expecting to begin the mission. Subsequently, parishioners, under the guidance of the parish priest Fr. Sylvester, did all the arrangements for the blessing of the temporary house. They themselves repaired, white washed, and made it new and offered us to stay. It was blessed by Bishop Victor Lyngdoh on 11 December 2013 in the presence of the parish priest and the parishioners. Sr. Francilin, Sr. Florence and Sr. Anugraha were the first members of this community. The Sisters run the dispensary, teach in the parish school and take part in pastoral activities.The parish offered the land to build the convent and the dispensary. The construction of the building is completed with the hard labour of the parishioners and will be blessed on 18 October 2014.
SD Santhidham has opened its 31st mission station at Mawthong in the diocese of Nongstoin. Bishop Victor Lyngdoh – a kind and zealous missionary, blessed our humble beginning on 11th December 2013 at 10. Am. Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Silvester along with the parishners made all the arrangements for our stay and inauguration of the convent.
“Taking no gold or silver, or copper in your belt, no bag for your journey, two tunics or sandals or a staff; for labourers deserve their food”. (St. Mt 10:9) Yes! It was entirely a humble beginning; exactly we had nothing in our custody when we arrived here. No luggage other than our own personal belongings, no utensils, no other necessary items, above all no language.
Khasi- the language that was spoken by the people was completely knew for us. But we were successful in communicating with the people in the language of LOVE. Poor parishioners, under the guidance of parish Priest did share everything from their nothingness. One of them offered her house for our stay till we build our own. They themselves repaired, white washed, and made it new for us. They also made arrangements for the blessing of the house even they did the shopping, keeping in mind all the minute requirements of us. It was the fulfilment of a long cherished dream of the parishioners who were eagerly waiting for the presence of a convent in their parish.
“The necessities of life are water, bread, clothing and also a house to assure privacy. Better is the life of the poor under their own crude roof than sumptuous food in the house of others. Be content with little of much”. (Sirach 29:21). The word of God is absolutely appropriate for the people of these far-flung hills. Literally they have nothing of their own but they are content with what they have and consider everything as God given gift to them. Therefore, they are very glad to share whatever little they have with others. We did learn a great lesson from them within this short span of our stay over here that ‘Life is a free gift to be gifted away’. With this motto in our hearts we began our humble service with much excitement and zeal in this remote area of North East.
A piece of advice from the Parish Priest added flavour to our passion for this mission. He exhorted us that our presence will make the difference only if we have –Strong legs to climb these Khasi hills, a good stomach to eat whatever is set before us, a strong mind to embrace the culture, language and people and devoted a heart, burning with love, to convey the message of mercy. Well these are the qualifications of a dedicated missionary! We do request to you to pray for us that we may have all the above stated qualifications to accomplish God’s will- being the compassionate presence of Jesus Christ –in this area of our country.
The Mission House at Aluva was bought and blessed it on 13 September 1996. Sr. Cleetus (Sup.), Sr. Stephny and Sr. Lekha were the first members. In 2003, this old house was demolished and a new building was constructed supervised by Sr. Ligouri. The newly built convent was blessed by Fr. Jose Parapuram, the Vicar of St. Dominic Church Aluva on 4 February 2003. Srs. Ligouri (Sup.), Helen, Daisy Thettayil and Clarelet were the members of the new community. The Sisters find time to visit houses and participate in prayer meetings. Sr. Daisy who is working in the Aluva district hospital is a great help to the poor patients in the hospital as well as anyone in need of medical help. The community gives all possible assistance to the Sisters coming from mission centers to get refreshed and renewed spiritually, emotionally and physically.
According to the decision taken by St. Mary’s Provincial Synaxis of 1991 to start a house in Kerala for the missionaries, 3.5 acre of land with a house was bought at Palakal. It was repaired and blessed by Bp. Kundukulam on 4 September 1993. Srs.Gracia (Sup.), Deepti Chalissery and Anupa were the early members. After the establishment of Santidham Province the old house was demolished and a convent with a Home for the Aged was constructed. It was blessed by Bp. Jacob Thoomkuzhy on 16 February 2002. SD Palakal plays an important role in vocation promotion and initial formation. Sisters actively participate in all parish works giving new vigour and vitality to the parish. The mortal remains of Sr. Sumangala, a zealous missionary is laid in the convent vault.
Home for the Aged and Destitute
The Home for the Aged is run by the Sisters and accommodates 20 inmates. The inmates help in house hold works and cultivation. They pray for the intentions of the parish and benefactors. The house is maintained mainly with the local contributions of the ordinary people.
On September 11th 2017 we, the pioneer members (Sr. Seena Rose, Sr. Francelet, Sr. Josmy) of Burburia started our journey with Sr.Franciline from Ghaziabad. We reached in Agarthala on September 14th 2017. Fr. Mathew MSFS arranged the vehicle for us to reach to Burburia. We reached safely by the grace of God. Father gave us a warm welcome and conducted a short prayer service. Fr. Mathew offered Holy Mass and did inaugural blessing of the convent at 7pm.Father had arranged everything for us. We started to stay in the temporary convent building. On the next Sunday (sep 17th) we were welcomed by the parishioners. We introduced ourselves and thanked them for their warm welcome.
Official blessing by Bishop: On September 21st2017, Most Rev. Bishop Lumen Monteiro, the bishop of Agarthala offered Holy Mass and blessed the new convent. The fathers and sisters from neighbouring stations had come to attend the function. We gratefully remember the great support of Mother Liss Grace, Councilors, Sr.Franciline and all others.