Phase 3 (1987-1997)

Phase 3 (1987-1997)

The Congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus grew day by day in spreading of God’s Kingdom in different places. Due to old age and sickness, Rev. Mother Scholastica, was unable to fulfill her duties as a Mother General satisfactorily. She informed the Bishop of Vellore about her inability and the Bishop delegated Rev. Fr. K. M. Sebastian to Convene a Meeting of the councilors and elect an Assistant Mother General. Accordingly, 26th May 1987, Rev. Sr. Selin Mary was elected by the Councilors as Assistant Mother General. From that date Sr. Selin Mary has been working very zealously for the welfare and growth of the Pious Union.

In the same year 1987, the Pious Union got membership in CRI and Subscription of the novitiate with the help of our Bishop Most Rev. S. Micheal Augustine. The work for upgrading the Congregation as a Diocesan Right was begun in 1988. Fr. G. Ignatius SJ helped us to develop the Constitution in different titles.

The orphanage at Kurusady is very much appreciated by the local people, who as a token of their appreciation, provide clothes and other requirements for the children. A monthly sum of money is also collected and given to the orphanage by the people. It is resolved by the sisters to set aside Rs 10,000/- for the marriage of orphan girls brought up by the Pious Union of Sacred Heart of Jesus. In addition to this amount, donations and gifts from priests, sisters and people are also collected and given to the girls as marriage presents.

For the purpose of giving witness to Christ among the non Christians of Cuddapah Diocese, Andhra Pradesh, the Bishop of Cuddapah Most. Rev. Aruliah invited the sisters to open a convent at Kodur village. A convent was blessed and opened by the Bishop of Cuddapah of 13th December 1987 and the sisters are doing educational service there for the welfare of the people.

Similarly the Bishop of Tanjore, realizing the good apostolate being done by our sisters in other Dioceses, invited our sisters to his diocese also. As a result a new convent was opened in the village called Valispet through the efforts of Rev. Fr. Charles the parish priest of that place. The convent was blessed on 28th December 1987 by the Most Rev. Arockiasamy, Bishop of Tanjore. Educational, catechetical and medical services are performed by the sisters in this place.

Another convent was opened at Kappiyarai Parish in Kottar Diocese (Kanyakumari Dt) on 10.06.1989, with the blessings of Rt. Rev. Leon Dharmaraj, the local bishop, for the spiritual and social development of the loving people there under the protection of St. Catherine. Here, our sisters visit people in their homes, share in their joys and sorrows and serve them in various ways, building up BCC (Basic Christian Communities), forming Teams for social upliftment and preparing the people for worship and Sacraments.

A new convent was started in Pudhuppalayam, a substation of Korattampattu Parish in Vellore diocese, on 16.06.1989, to proclaim the Kingdom of God through education. Through the zeal of our spiritual guide, Fr. Sebastian, and with the permission and blessings of the local Bishop, Rt. Rev. Michael Augustine, an English medium school was started. From the beginning, mostly the poor people are its beneficiaries, as our fees are kept very low for their sake. In addition to this education work, our sisters also cultivate good relationship with the people around, confirm the Christians in their faith and do the work of evangelization.

With the permission of the local Ordinary, Fr. Xavier started a High School in Rangapuram in Vellore Diocese for the education of the children of the stone-cutters who are all over the place in this area. On 21.04.1991, he handed over the full responsibility of that school to our sisters as a place to serve. Our sisters visit people in their homes and conduct evening classes for the children in addition to their school work. At present, (“The Home of Hope” for the abandoned / handicapped people which Fr. Lazar Savarimuthu had been conducting, has also been entrusted to the care of our sisters there. They are looking after it very well. Many have profited from this institution: families and individuals have recovered from abandonment and have begun to live with hope and joy because of this.

In God’s providence, as described earlier, Most Rev. Michael Augustine, the auxiliary Bishop of Madras-Mylappore, came to take the place of the late Bishop Antony Muthu in Vellore in 1984. He was sympathetic to Mother Scholastica and her Pious Union. Hence with the help of the Bishop, the Novitiate House was built up. When Mother Scholastica fell ill seriously in 1991, Bishop Michael Augustine visited her in the C.M.C Hospital she asked him to appoint someone in her place to take up the leadership. He admired her virtue saying: “You are one in a thousand, Amma, whose greatness the secular world is unaware of, Amma.”

On 03.12.1991, on the request of the Foundress herself and with the approval and blessings of our local Bishop, Sr. Selin Mary was formally chosen as General by the sisters in the Chapter meeting. She thus became the first elected Superior General of the Institute and as such worked hard for the next six years. Her pioneering works in many fields made the Congregation’s mission to flourish with great success and to spread it in various parts of the country. Besides, with the collaboration of her able team members, she succeeded in dividing the mission of the Congregation in different commissions and for the first time an effective structural setup was put in place to move forward our services in an enduring way, towards the less privileged members of the grass-roots. Under her regime, the Congregation got its full set-up in order.
Mother Scholastica, being retired but has been an observer of the growth of the institute in building the Kingdom of God. Rev. Mother Scholastica and Mother Margaret dedicated totally to work more ardently for God and for the people. During her last days of pain and suffering, Mother Scholastica was an edifying model, not only to her sister but to all who visited her.

In Kanjampuram parish in Kottar Diocese, almost on the border of Kerala, a new convent was started on 28.05.1992 with the permission and blessings of the local bishop Rt. Rev. Leon Dharmaraj. In order to strengthen the faith of the people, to promote their standard of education, to help them through handicrafts Fr. Panivanban Vincent generously donated his house and gave some financial support also to our sisters. Here our sisters are conducting an English Medium School. Besides they visit the people in their homes and pray, take part in BCC activities, and prepare them all to take part actively in the liturgy of the Mass. They develop the talents of the boys and girls there and help them to make progress. Their services are very much appreciated.

A new convent was started in Bhakrapet in Cuddapha Diocese (Andhra) on 30. 06 1992, at the request of the local bishop, Rt. Rev. Arulayya to do evangelization, social service, tailoring training for women and other such works there. The village folk there are very backward in their education, economic condition and faith-level. They are scattered in far off places. In order to meet them, the sisters sometimes had to walk long distances. Yet they met the people, formed women’s guilds and promoted savings, with the help of the Diocesan Social Service Society. They have undertaken mother-child welfare schemes and thus promote betterment of the health of the people. They also conduct tailoring training classes and thus work for the promotion of many young women. Our sisters give the people social awareness and thus enable them to benefit all the helps of the Government and the Diocese. They have begun to save and their life is fast improving. Evangelization work is done here in a wonderful way and our sisters go to many villages where Jesus is not known and through video and audio tapes, make his love known to them. They train the faithful to grow in their Gospel knowledge and deepen their faith life through prayer meetings and thus help them to live their lives happily. They have bought some musical instruments and with these the people are able to involve themselves in liturgy with great joy in the Lord. They bring together people of various religions to celebrate Feasts like Christmas, Deepavali etc. and thus promote religious harmony among them. Many people, together with our Bishop and Priests, are helping us to serve these in an area where our sisters have to learn a new language.

At Murasangodu, Mother of Carmel Church Parish in Kottar diocese a convent was opened on 02.01.1993, accepting the invitation of the local bishop Rt. Rev. Leon Dharmaraj, in order to improve the school and also to look after the orphanage there. A new house was bought for our sisters to stay. Our sisters together with the works mentioned above, look after the church, teach catechism classes and involve themselves in BCC activities. All are happy to see the improvement that has come about after the arrival of our sisters who also do some social work. Two girls from this place have joined our Congregation and bring honor to it by their dedicated, cheerful ministries.

In Kamplar, a substation of Vizhunthayampalam parish in Kottar diocese, a new house was started on 01.05.1993 to do evangelization, social work and education, with the permission and blessings of the local bishop, Rt. Rev. Leon Dharmaraj when Fr. Lucas was the parish Priest, Mr. Chinnappan’s family bore all the expenses for our House and also provided us with a Fixed Deposit of Rs 50,000. Others also presented the new House with things it needed. Here many services are done like evangelization, BCC activities. Catechism classes, Pious Associations, youth Association, Preparation for liturgical celebrations, children’s welfare etc. In order to promote the economic situation of the people, women’s welfare and widows Rehabilitation groups have been formed by our sisters. Thus people got many benefits and some got even houses built for them. There has been growth in faith too: some vocations are already budding. The Church is now always open and people often pay visits to the Blessed Sacrament. Evening classes are conducted for the children. Evening prayers are said in the church. Now the sisters are also looking after the Collage Hostel and helping the young girls there.

A new convent was started by the blessings of the local bishop, Rt. Rev. Remigius himself at Kalathil Vendranpet ( K.V. PET) in Kumbakonam diocese for education, social service and evangelization. Our sisters work in the school in the nearby village and help to raise its educational standard. In the beginning there was not much of social work, but evangelization was done to some extent. But now all our works including health care are done well. Sisters relate themselves well with the simple and the poor; share with them in their joys and sorrows and raise the hearts of many by their social work with God’s grace.

With the permission and blessings of the local bishop, Rt. Rev. Irudayaraj, due to efforts of Fr. Berchmans, a new convent was started in Agarakkattu, a substation of Thenkasi parish in Palayamkottai diocese on 25.05.1993. Here education, evangelization, social work, technical training in particular have been taken up by our sisters. Priests and people support them much. Due to the efforts of the sisters, this village is becoming almost 100% literate. Through women’s guilds and through the Diocesan Social Service Society, with the collaboration of all, many are benefitting: got drinking water facilities, more than eleven widows got houses of their own. Through Tailoring Course, some 35 young women are earning their livelihood. Some general souls are already thinking of offering themselves to the service of God and of the people.

With the invitation and permission of Rt. Rev. Amalanathan, the local bishop, a new convent was started at the village of Chettivilai in Tuticorin diocese on 26.10.1994. Here our sisters are working hard to improve the standard of education of the people: so much so, now children by themselves can prepare all that is needed for Holy Mass; they have got training in various arts and have even won some prizes; they are improving in their spiritual life too. In order to improve the education, an orphanage has been started there: those who are weak in studies are helped and have thus improved a lot. One religious vocation has already blossomed from this village, which is under the protection of Mary (Manal Matha and Alankara Matha).

A new convent was started on the invitation of the Bishop of Trichy Rt. Rev. Gabriel and due to the efforts of the Parish Priest, Fr. Jeyaraj, on 23.05.1994, in the village called Kuttathu Avarampatti in Trichy diocese, for the purpose of doing education work, evangelization, health-care and social work. Our sisters through their educational work, have brought about great progress among the students; through evangelization, they have promoted union with God; and through health-care, they have made the people experience God’s love. Here the people are fully involved: they help the sisters and one another at any time. After the sisters had come, there is not even one child who has not been to school. To raise the standard of education our sisters have started a nursery school there now. Two girls have become religious sisters from this village.

A new convent was started in Kothapalli Mitta in Cuddapha Diocese on 11.06.1995, on the invitation of the local bishop, Rt. Rev. Arulayya, for the spiritual, educational and economical promotion of the people, due to the efforts of Fr. Soosai Antony. Our sisters bore witness to the Kingdom first through social work like mother and child welfare and also through evangelization. They procured some loan facilities to improve the economic conditions of the people. By tailoring centre, they enabled many young women to earn a little more. They were running a Hospital to improve the health of the people, especially of the children. This was possible, only with the support of the local bishop. Rt. Rev. Prakash Pullavarappu and the hard work and cooperation of Fr. James and Fr. John. Now, at present our sisters were not doing their service there. They left the house in the month of January 2006.

A new convent was started in Mathapuram in Kumbakonam diocese, at the invitation of the local ordinary, Rt. Rev. Remigius, on 13. 06. 1996, in order to promote education and evangelization of the people, who live there under the protection of Our Lady of Lourdes. We are happy that our sisters have really raised the education and deepened the faith of the people there. Through their nursery school, the young kids are from childhood picking up good habits. Fr. Soosainathan has helped our sisters much. They are sharing the joys and sorrows of the people and teach them catechism, as well as various fine arts.

A new convent was started in Vellakulam in Tanjore diocese, on 01. 06. 1997, with the permission and blessings of the local bishop, to do evangelization and social work for the people there and all around it, who live under the protection of St. Ignatius. Here our sisters are conducting an English Medium school very effectively. The local people have been very generous: they gave the land and erected the buildings for us as their donation. Besides education, our sisters are deepening their faith and prayer-life, and are encouraging the people to work hard with trust in God and in themselves.

When we were trying to get the Roman approval of our Union as a religious institute in 1991, Fr. Felix George, a canonist of Kottar Diocese, worked day and night for two weeks with great patience and sacrifice, and revised these. These were sent to Rome. But they wanted some more documents. So, Most Rev. Michael Augustine, as bishop of Vellore and even later as Archbishop of Pondy, Cuddalore, got all the documents needed to be sent to Rome, including the letters of no-objection from the local ordinaries of the places where our sisters were working. This was on 09.03.1992. Finally, the required permission was given by Rome on 29.09.1992. Yet, due to some technical difficulties, the official erection of our Union as a religious institute was delayed.

In the meanwhile, in spite of special care, on 12.10.1993 Mother Scholastica had jubilantly gone to her eternal reward. On 14.10.1993, her body was given very great respect and was buried in the midst of all our sisters and weeping children in Rangapuram, Vellore Diocese at the back side of the Novitiate. She is already in the kingdom and is ever praying for its spread here on earth through her beloved daughters and collaborators.

Rt. Rev. Chinnappan SDB, the then bishop of Vellore, now the Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore, who issued the Decree of Erection of our Union as a Religious Institute on 11.02.1994, on the feast of our Lady of Lourdes, and our Congregation grew fast all over.

The sisters thank and praise the Sacred Heart of Jesus for His merciful love and care given all the past years to the members of the Pious Union of Sacred Heart of Jesus.