There had been a long standing dream for the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in India to start a mission in the North East. In the year 2013 we became a new Province – the Province of Central East India/Nepal - with the Provincialate in Nagpur.The leadership team took a courageous step forward to make this dream a reality. We had no one to guide us in our exploration of the North East. It is Sr. Annie Enchanattilfma,a cousin of Sr. Sabina who whole heartedly welcomed usand contacted 5 different dioceses in the North East. Srs.Sabina and Pushpalanded in Guwahati for the first time in May 2016. Sr. Annie took them to all these five dioceses to meet the respective bishops. Bongaigaon was one of these five Dioceses. Bishop Thomas warmly welcomed them, since he already had some association with our Sisters in London. He mentioned to them that our Charism is special and we have something different to offer to women, girls and children of this area. He sent the sisterswith Fr. Mathew Kottaram VG to two different mission areas of his diocese,where we could begin. One of those two was Bahari. In the evening when the sisters returned to the Bishop’s house,he met them and asked which place they would like to choose for our future Mission.The Sisters selected Bahari. The next step was to get the approval from our Congregational Leadership Team. By July 2016 we obtained the permission. Sr. Sabina informed the Bishop the Good News. Fr. James from the dioceses made sure that the leadership team sent two Sisters at least by January 2017 as the academic year begins from January. MeanwhileFr.James identified a piece of land which belonged to Mr. Hannu Das and he was very much in need of finance for his medical treatment. Srs. Pushpa and Mercy George went over to see the land and to pay the advance money for the land. On 8thJanuary, 2017, Srs. ArokiammalSelvanayagamand HemalathaBodduaccompanied by Srs. Sabina and Mariam reached there to begin the Pioneering Mission in the North East. Fr. James arranged for the sisters to stay in a rented house. Frs. Mathew Kottaram and James helped the sisters with the registration of the land. Within one year the owner of the house without informing the sisters or Fr. James sold the house. The sisters had to hunt for another house and again Mr. Hannu Das offered his house for rent.
Seeing all these uncertain situations the leadership team decided to build the house for the sisters since the land was already bought. In the 164 years of the history of our congregation in India, this is the first house which is built within two years of its starting. It is God’s miracle and His special plan of love for us. There is no catholic population here, only St. Don Bosco School of Bongaigaon and Sisters of the Good presence are here to make a difference.At present the sisters are involved in the field of education. They are moving forward with great hope in Jesus the Good Shepherd to reach out to the poor and the needyof the locality.
The power of God revealed itself unexpectedly, the earth shook with the roaring sound of collapsing buildings. Thick dust clouds were rising high and covering the sky, loud cries of people were echoing in the valley, people around, astounded, looked at the reality unfolding. Alas! They recognized that an earthquake had taken place. It was noon on 25th April 2015, in Nepal and Gorkha was the epicenter.
The entire world looked at Nepal as telecommunication was quick in reporting the devastation that had taken place in different parts of Nepal. In a few seconds tragedy had taken away the lives of animals, birds and, above all, the lives of 9000 brothers and sisters of Nepal. Most of the bodies were found under the debris. It was sad to discover that the devastated earthquake left a huge number of people homeless.
The most affected were the poor living under thatched roofs, who lost their belongings and were desperately extending their hands for help. There was an immediate response from many volunteers to raise them up. Kind and generous people from various countries responded in solidarity providing food, clothing, medicines and temporary shelter.
The new Province Leadership team of Central East India/Nepal (CEIN) had received a mandate begin a community in Kathmandu. After a need assessment study the sisters decided to expand to Kathmandu and work on prevention of human trafficking especially of women and children of Nepal as it was of prime importance. The Jesuits in Nepal agreed to provide a residence for the sisters at St. Xavier’s School Jawalakhel and one Sister would teach in the school. On the day of the earthquake Srs. Amala and Taskila were traveling from Pokhara to Kathmandu to begin the mission. They were in the bus near Gorka when the earth quaked, but were unaware of it. The whole of Nepal was in panic, fear and in desperations due to the unexpected calamity. The sisters reached Jawalakhel, Kathamandu late in the evening and received a warm welcome from Fr. Mathew the Superior of the community. It was then that they heard of the earthquake and were thankful to God for preserving them from harm on the way. The sisters started the community on the 29th April, 2015. Sisters were in Jawalakhel for nearly three weeks and later they shifted to another residence called Aruna Bhavan at Nakipot, Lalitpur which was owned by the Jesuits in Nepal. After the earthquake the Jesuits decided bring in differently able girl children from the earthquake affected area. The girls were staying on the ground floor and sisters on the first floor.
On the third day after the earthquake, Sr. Lucy from Pokhara and Sr. Taskila from Kathmandu and their team reached the epicenter to render health services to the people in need. They received financial support from Good Shepherd International Foundation, Italy, Miseancara and Hilton fund for sisters. The sisters in Nepal extended the relief work in Partnership with Intersos an INGO and experts in Disaster management. With financial support received from UNICEF the sisters worked for the next three months improving the emergency access to medical care and availability of drugs for the earthquake-affected population of Gorkha district. All the funding agencies, government and people appreciated our untiring services.
The Province Leadership Team, especially Sr. Sabina, was passionate in supporting the team in Nepal for all their courageous steps in reaching out to the helpless, desperate and vulnerable survivors of the earthquake. During the emergency relief operation Mrs. Sasirekha Natarajan our Lay Partner from Chennai was with us for a week at the initial stage of our relief work and extended great support to the sisters. Srs. Pushpa, Mary Jose, Rachel, Arokiammal and Dibya came to support us. Srs. Mercy, some staff and students too came to support us for a few days. The programme continued for several months, there were many volunteers who joined us in reaching out to the needy. We constructed two primary health centers with two bedded rooms, a labour room and Staff quarters for long term relief work. These health centers were built in Thaklung and Thaglichowk villages of Gorkha. In the second phase of the relief work we supported both these villages with WASH (water sanitation and health). This was a water lifting project which brought water to these health centers and to the nearby villages.
As the sisters in Nepal expressed the need for a strategic plan for Nepal, a consultant was hired from Nepal to prepare the strategic plan and Opportunity Village, Nepal Office was set up in the sister’s residence in Kathmandu. After a year on 7th April, 2016 the sisters shifted their residence-cum-office to a rented house in Arun Thapa Chowk, Lalitpur. It was a compulsory rule by the government to have the Head office at Kathmandu for Opportunity Village Nepal. The initiative of Sisters in the Earthquake relief work brought lot of visibility to the mission of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd all over the world and also to the sisters in Nepal. So some funding agencies came forward to support the sisters in their mission in Nepal. The Sisters independently started working in field of Anti human trafficking, with the focus of preventing internal Trafficking, and safe migration aiming at the youth in the entertainment sector (Youth working in Dance Bar, Cabin restaurant etc.) where internal trafficking takes place. The projects started simultaneously both in Pokhara and Kathmandu. This was the first Project in Kathmandu after the registration in 1998. The staff had training on capacity building periodically and regular planning and evaluation of the project, enthused them to keep up their spirit and commitment. As the number of beneficiaries and the training programmes and activities increased, the beneficiaries found it difficult to travel long distance from their workplace to our office and the staff too were unable to meet the needs of the youth. According to government rule it was mandatory to have the Head office in Kathmandu, so according to the project need and the Government requirement the Head Office of Opportunity Village Nepal was shifted to Koteshwar, Kathmandu from June 2017.
The Kathmandu community started as a satellite community of Pokhara and on 15th March, 2018, a coordinator was appointed.
On 2nd May, 2018, a branch office of Good Shepherd International Foundation (International Non-Governmental Organization) was registered in Nepal.
From 1st May, 2015 Relief Work was carried out in Gorkha and completed on 15th July, 2019
15thJune, 2015 one sister started working in St. Xavier’s School Jawalakhel, Lalitpur
15th October, 2016 – Ongoing Empowering of youth to combat human trafficking (Kathmandu and Kaski, Pokhara)
15th September, 2019 - Ongoing -Cross Border Anti human trafficking Project was extended to Bhirawa, Runandhei District (Border of Nepal)
15th October, 2019 –a ongoing Transit home for youth at risk in the entertainment sector was opened. (Kathmandu and Kaski, Pokhara)
In 1988 at the invitation of Archbishop of Nagpur Most Rev. Leobard D’Souza, the Good Shepherd Sisters opened another convent in Balaghat which is the district headquarters. This house was also meant to assist the sisters during their long travels from the remote village in Garattola to the South of India.
Sr. Cecelia Goveas, Amala Savarimuthu and Helen D’Souza were the pioneers of this mission. They were welcomed by the Parish priest and the parishioners. The sisters stayed in the parish house until a rented house was ready for them. On 19th October 1991, our sisters moved to a new house in Bhattera named ‘Asha Nivas’. It was built on the land belonging to the diocese in order to be closer to the people of the villages we were working with. From 1988 to 1999 the sisters worked with different groups of people like rickshaw pullers, fisher folks and beggars. Our sisters faced lots of difficulties and this mission went through different phases. Meanwhile the sisters bought a piece of land in the same village and built a house and it was blessed on 10th November 2007 by Archbishop of Nagpur Most Rev. Dr. Abraham Viruthakulankara. From 26th June 2013, Asha Nivas has become a formation house too for young girls who are aspiring to become Good Shepherd Sisters.
Our Province of India Nepal was getting vocations from the diocese of Gumla ,Jharkhand, from the late 1990’s. We were happy to respond to the invitation of Rt. Rev. Paul Alois Lakra DD, the Bishop of Gumla to have our presence in his diocese.
On 16th June 2012 Srs. Monica Kujur and Aruna Malkari were accompanied by Sr. Deanna Pereira the Province Leadership Team Member, for the new mission to Chainpur. On their arrival at the Bishop’s house on 17th May 2012, they were warmly welcomed by the priests. After the lunch Fr. Samuel Kujur the 2nd Vicar General accompanied the sisters to Barway High School Chainpur ,Gumla ,Jharkhand. Fr.Prakash Kujur and Fr. Sanjay Minj welcomed the sisters. In the evening before supper they were welcomed by the Barway High School community. For six months the sisters stayed in the Father’s community. They began teaching in St. Micheal’s English Medium School and Barway Primary School Chainpur which belongs to the diocese of Gumla. On 24th November 2012 the diocese handed over a renovated house to the sisters. Sr. Deanna Pereira the Sector Coordinator of Madhaya Pradesh and Maharashtra and her councilors Srs Pushpa Louis and Taskila Nicholas, nine priests from the diocese, the parents and relatives of the Good Shepherd Sisters of the locality, students and teachers of three schools were present for the blessing .
Sr. Monica Kujur was in -charge and the sisters were part of the Nagpur community. The sisters managed their daily maintenance with their salary which they received from St. Michael’s English Medium school. The presence of the Sisters helped to raise the standard of the school and the admissions started to be on the increase. The sisters also involve themselves in the vocation promotion mission.
At the Invitation of Most Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrao, Archbishop of Goa and Daman, the Sisters of the Good Shepherd began their mission in Rachol in the year 2006. We were asked to work in colloboration with the CARITAS-GOA for the ‘Responsible Tourism’, a project of the Archdiocease. Srs. Colette Monteiro and Zita Oliveira were assigned to this new mission . They lived in a rented house for about seven months.
At the request of Goa diocese Mr. AB Ferandes offered his residence in Colva for the sisters on 8th March 2007. The centre for ‘Responsible Tourism’ and its office too was shifted to AB Ferandes’ campus. Srs. Zita, Martha and Bibiana collaborated with CARITAS-GOA for two years (2007-2009).
The new Province Leader Sr. Maria Rose met the Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao and expressed our inability to continue to collaborate with Caritas Goa. The Archbishop understood the problems and suggested another parish in a rural set up. On 27th June 2009 we moved to Tollecanto - Velim belonging to St. Rock’s Parish. Srs. Bibiana Lobo and Vinaya D’Souza were assigned to this mission.
We gratefully acknowledge the assistance and encouragement given by the diocese and all the lay collaborators.
In 1999, the Sisters of the Good Shepherd were invited by Rev. Fr. Glen Mascarenhas to work in the Martin Nagar Parish of Nagpur Archdiocese. After getting the permission from the Archbishop Most Rev Dr. Abraham Viruthakulangara the sisters began their mission staying in a rented house for about a year after which a house was bought in Mecosabagh and the sisters continue to stay here. In 2001 when the Province for administrative purposes worked in 3 Sectors of Karnataka and Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, Nagpur became the Sector House for Maharashtra Madhya Pradesh and Sr. Leela Mattam the Sector Co-ordinator.
In Mankapur a piece of land was available at a reasonable price with a small house. We bought this and Kripalaya – the Sector House came to be. It was also decided at the Province level that the Candidates just joining us would stay for one year in the respective sectors and so Kripalaya was the Candidate House too.
The house in Mecosabagh was renovated and the first floor was added to it to make it more conducive to become a Sector House where meetings could be held. Once this was ready the Sector House was shifted to Mecosabagh and Kripalaya in Mankapur became the Candidates House and today it is the Pre Novitiate. On 5th January 2014 when the new province of Central East India/ Nepal was formed the convent in Mecosabagh became the Provincialoate.
We mainly serve the dalits and tribals who have been displaced due to natural calamities and have come in search of a livelihood.
Around 50 children come to study in our centre in different batches; most of them are either from broken families or children of single mothers, domestic servants and alcoholic fathers. Through the remedial classes we help them rediscover themselves by giving opportunities to display their talents by organising camps and occasions on National and Festal holidays to showcase their talents. Having worked with them for the last about 15 years we have some boys and girls who are pursuing higher education or are undergoing technical training.
There is a big slum surrounding us and most of the women work as domestic helps in various families. We have reached out to more than 1000 women staying in about 30 slums in Nagpur by visiting them often and conducting sessions on Leadership, Personality Development, Savings, Health and other topics. Through continuous representations to the Government we have succeeded in getting them recognised as unorganised workers. So far about 800 women have been registered with the Government.
The convent of Madras was founded on November 21st 1924, at the request of Bishop De Castro of Mylapore.
Our first house was at “LUZ” with Mother Paula as its first Superior. After sometime the sisters shifted to “Somerford” Adyar as the Luz property belonged to the Diocese, and could not really ever belong to the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. Another property was sought and “Somerford” was thought suitable. It was a large property overlooking the Adyar River, with spacious grounds, and ample accommodation, for the girls, and later, the lady boarders who came.
Here life was very difficult, as the place was so far from the city. The sisters supported themselves by giving lessons in English, music and art. They also did laundry work for the boys of St.Bede’s School. The fees were low and inadequate for support. It was decided to shift near the town if the work of the Good Shepherd was to prosper in this large city.
Once more we searched for a suitable site, and in October 1929 the sisters occupied the present one known as “Moorats Gardens”. There was no compound wall, only a large old house dating from East India Company Days, this was occupied as the convent.
In the few out-houses the children were housed by day, and at night slept on the sisters’ verandahs, and so life took shape, in those distant days. The history of the convent is one of hard, up-hill work – a debt of Rs.90,000 had to be paid for the property. Mothers Philip, Aiden and Matilda, the first superiors, made great efforts to pay off this amount, but as our income was low, it was finally paid only in 1946 by Mother Ita of Burmah, R.I.P. Our school began with eight pupils. Up to 1942 we followed the Cambridge System when on the advice of our chaplain, Father Murphy S.J., we switched over to the Matriculation Examination – In view of the political situation in the country. Our school became very popular and over the years has grown to its present strength of 2500 pupils.
The industrial school was opened in March 26th, 1929, by a good friend, Mr.File, who gave the Sisters every support by granting government recognition. Orders for needle-work used to come from the elite of the city. And under the guidance of dear Sr.Mary Bernard R.I.P. many skilled needle workers were turned out, capable of earning a living.
In April 1942 due to the fall of Singapore, and Japanese threat of invasion the whole convent shifted to Yercaud – to a place known as “Bears Cave” the property of a very good benefactor, Mr.Thambuswamy, a Lutheran.
During our absence the convent was occupied by Best & Co., with their rent we existed, as we had no other income at this time.
Once more we returned and opened the school in August, but few pupils came due to the war-scare. In 1946, cracks were noticed in the present building and a catholic engineer from Prynn Abbot ordered immediate evacuation of the convent. We had no place to occupy except Fathima Hall, which served as chapel, dormitory and parlour for two years. During that time the classes were held in the convent, all round the chapel, on verandahs and small rooms. Since the convent was unsafe, a building was rented near Christian College High School and here the sisters used to go every day and teach our pupils.
Mother Matilda made great efforts to rebuild the old convent. She also built one part of the high school, now the junior school. Again we were faced with financial trouble, so to meet the need Mother sold the land bordering Nungambakkam high road, on which people built the present houses.
Pressure for admission in the school increased so much that Mother Lucy R.I.P. extended the present junior school, before she died in 1957.
In 1951 the nursery section of the school was started. A new construction was built in the year
In the year 1952 Marian Home was started for young girls for protection and skill training. Due to the bad condition of the building a new building was constructed in the year 1997.
In 1958 Mother Matilda purchased “Eccleston” house and property from Binny& Co at a cost of Rs 4.5 lakhs borrowed from Indian Overseas Bank. In 1966 the present high school was completed at a cost of Rs. 5.5 lakhs borrowed from Egmore Benefit Society.
In 1967 the present convent was undermined by white ants which eroded the wooden beams in the sisters’ dormitory, necessitating major repairs and alterations. During this time the community occupied Eccleston until our present chapel was blessed on April 23rd 1969, by His Grace Mgr.Arulappa, Archbishop of Madras – Mylapore. This building was rented out to poompuhar and later to Fr. Immanual for social service. After a major renovation this building is used for the young working girls and students from the year 2000 and is known as Roshini Nivas.
In 1970’s a programme was initiated by Sr. Anthony for the children of slums. It was called Priyavanam. This was closed in 1995. In the year 1996 a home for the disadvantaged children was established which is known as Mottukal. It also has outreach programmes in some of the slums in Chennai.
Despite many hardships our mission has prospered and our old girls and friends are loyal, devoted and helpful to us. As we glance through the pages of the past, our hearts go out to God in gratitude for His manifold graces and blessings to us.
Good Shepherd Convent, Karjat was established in the year 1992. Initially we were invited by Frs. Fred Sopena (SJ) and Fr. Lesli Ratus to collaborate in a new mission (TARA) at Karjat for the development of the people.
Srs. Martha and Flora were assigned for this mission. In the beginning they stayed in a room attached to the Church of Our Lady of Fatima, the famous shrine until they found a suitable place. Later the sisters got a rented house and here too life was difficult, as they did not have proper water, and they had to go quite far to collect water.
In the year 1993 sisters started visiting nearby tribal villages and slums and started working with them. In 1996 sisters shifted to a flat of our own which brought great joy after four years of struggle. The flat was blessed by Rev. Fr. Vincent, the parish priest of Karjat.
Since our work with the people required more space to conduct coaching classes, training programmes and meetings we purchased a plot of land and constructed the convent. It was blessed by Cardinal Ivan Dias, the Archbishop of Mumbai on 11th August 2003. On 15th December 2003 Karjat community was established as a Canonical community and Sr. Vinaya Molly was installed as the Superior.
Good Shepherd Home, a boarding for the tribal children was started in 2003 with 3 children. At present there are 43 school going girls including some sex workers’ children.
In April 2003 an English medium school was started for the children of our area, especially the tribals, SCs and the poor. We began with 42 children and gradually the number has grown to 583. In spite of the lack of infrastructure and other limitations the school has a good reputation in the locality.
At present we work in 16 villages. We have 10 centres for supplementary classes supported by Centre for Social Action, Mumbai. Through these centres, we could undertake many other activities such as forming SHG groups, income generating programmes, savings, helping people to get important documents, like ration cards, BPL cards, Caste certificates etc.
Chalice Sponsorship Programme: We have 83 children sponsored so far. This programme has brought remarkable changes in the lives of children and their families. Many families have started some income generation programme and have improved their economic status.
As we look back our hearts are filled with gratitude to God and the many generous persons who helped us to reach out and touch the lives of people who live on the margins of the society.
Good Shepherd Convent Mulakalapalli was started on 27th June 2002 at the request of Rt. Rev. Maipan Paul Bishop of Khammam diocese. Srs. Deepti and Udya were the pioneers who were commissioned to take up the challenge of setting up the new community and work with the tribals of this remote area in Andhra Pradesh, now in Telengana state. Sr.Bridget Paily Province Leader, Sr.Philominal Pillai, Sector Coordinator of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, Sr. Madeline then Superior of Mangalagiri Community and other sisters from Amaravathi and Chennai communities were present for the inauguration. Initially the two sisters stayed in a small house at Rajpeta that belonged to the Diocese of Khammam and started their work among the tribals in the far flung villages.
A house of our own was constructed and blessed on 25th September 2005 by Rt. Rev. Maipan Paul, Bishop of Khammam diocese and inaugurated by Sr. Bridget Paily Province Leader of India/Nepal. Many sisters, priests and collaborators joined us on this memorable occasion. As the activities were progressing they felt the need to have a Centre to organize training for the staff and beneficiaries. Hence the Tribal Animation Centre( Good Shepherd Convent) was constructed and blessed on 5th November 2007 by Rev. Fr.Charles Antony, the parish priest of Mulakalapalli and inaugurated by Sr.Mariam Kulangara the Sector Coordinator of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh in the presence of many sisters, priests, collaborators and beneficiaries.
Name of the progrmme – Integrated tribal Development programme.
Area of operation- 2 mandals namely Mulakalpalli and Kukknur
No of villages- 95 tribal hamlets
Stakeholders- Koyas, Kothikoyas, nayak and few Schedule cast families
No of sisters 4, Total no of staff , full time-11, part time-4
No of CBOs 96, No of youth groups-54, children’s parliaments-45, Tuition centers-3, Students undergoing skill development training (tailoring – 20 girls)
No of organizations with which we net work- 20 Tribal federations from 10 districts .
In Chalmanagar village 40 children are helped to continue their education with the generosity of Good Shepherd School Chennai.
One sister continues to work in Jeevan Jyothi English Mediam School, run by the diocese of Khammam. At present there are 450 students.
Chalice Sponsorship programme; was initiated in Mulakalapalli in 2006 to help the children of the tribal villages. At present 184 children and their families are being helped through this project. We reach out to them through child education, nutrition, clothing and health care. Yet we are aware that it is only a drop in the ocean since many more children and their families are still waiting to be helped.
His Excellency Ignatius Mummadi, the Bishop of Guntur diocese invited the Sisters of the Good Shepherd to open a house in his diocese and offered a plot of land measuring 3 acres and ¾ cent with an old bungalow. The sisters responded to this invitation and opened their first convent at Mangalagiri in Andhra Pradesh in June 1967. Sr. Mary Rita Rozario and Sr. John de Britto were the pioneers of this new foundation. Since the house was not ready for the sisters to stay, they stayed in Vijayawada with the Sisters of Franciscan Missionary of Mary from 21st June 1967. Good Shepherd pre-school was started on 1st July 1967 with 40 children. Sisters used to come from Maris Stella College every day till the their residence was ready.
On 11th July of the same year they left Maris Stella College with hearts full of gratitude for the happy days spent there. On 12th July the sisters started their life in Mangalagiri with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
On 24th Sept 1970 there was a very bad accident as one of our rickshaw left our school premises taking the children home. A lorry struck the cycle rick from behind and three little ones were killed on the spot and three were seriously injured. It was a very shocking and heartbreaking experience for all of us who were connected with the school. After this incident there was a decline in the number of children for admission.
On 21st February 1972 we opened a small Dispensary in the premises of Mary Anne parish Church in order to provide health care to the poor people of the neighborhood.
In 1973 we had the General Chapter and for the first time a document on Justice and peace was brought out. A few of our sisters had attended a session in Philippines in 1972 on the reality of the poor in Asia. These two echo sessions in the Province helped the sisters to realize that they need to be catering to the poor in rural areas. As a result of this reflection process on 18th April 1975, Good Shepherd English Medium School was closed and sisters began some work with the poor. Sr. Rosemary Robert went for a short course to ISI Bangalore and equipped herself for Social work.
On 16th January 1975 the Good Shepherd Convent, Mangalagiri was registered under the Indian Societies Registration Act of 1886. Sisters started literacy classes for the poor children in Dolas Nagar and other neighboring villages around. On 1st November 1976, a Telugu Medium Primary School was opened in Nulakapetta at the request of the people and the support of the government.
In 1977 there was a very destructive cyclone which claimed thousands of lives, houses were destroyed and washed away and the rice fields were filled with salt water in Krishna and Guntur districts. Sisters carried out relief services with CRS in the Diocese. Oxfam from Bangalore wanted to do a long term service to the people who were affected by the cyclone. They used our big bungalow for that purpose for one year and the sisters renovated the small building and shifted their residence to that building. The dispensary was functioning from morning till evening in one of the classrooms in the school building.
In 1980 the people of Nulakapetta faced the problem of someone quarrying just behind their houses causing a great threat to their own lives and property. Since the man quarrying was rich and influential the people could not get justice easily. With the assistance of P.D. Mathew S. J. the sisters and people approached the Supreme Court for justice. After four years of legal battle the verdict was given in favour of the people. The victory of the people in 1984 was the victory of the poor. It was a process of learning, empowering and liberating the people with the sisters accompanying them at every step.
On 18th August 1982 two sisters shifted to Mandadam village and lived in a small house among the dalits. From 1984 all four sisters began to stay in Mandadam and only for the weekends the sisters returned to Mangalagiri. The sisters began to reflect whether they needed all the land and the building when they were not making use of it for several years. Since the Salasian Priests who were taking care of the physically challenged children wanted to have a separate residence for the smaller ones requested us to take care of them in our old bungalow. We could not oblige them as we found it not in line with our charism. Sisters of St. Anne from Vijayawada were brought in, the building and the land was handed over to them keeping only 40 cents of land and the school building for us. The property was gifted to us hence it could not be sold.
By 1986 the sisters spread their services to more villages by starting Balawadis and Mahila mandals. The coordination of this work could not be done from Mandadam where they had only a single room. The Sisters became aware of atrocities on women and children and began an organization called Aadavalla hakula Sangam (Organization for women’s rights) in 1987. The sisters involved themselves very actively, took up many cases of atrocities on women and girls and got justice for the victims through fact finding and publishing the same in the media. The sisters’ involvement in grass root level to empower women and fact finding of many cases led to further their net work with other like - minded NGOs within the district and beyond. Sisters were part of a state level net work for the landless agricultural workers too. In 1988 the sisters shifted back from Mandadam to Mangalagiri. The activities and programs spread to more than 30 villages, organizing training programs for women and study classes with other NGO’s were a regular feature in Mangalagiri. Sisters were considered to be very radical during those years since many rallies and dharnas for the rights of the victims revealed the Sister’s commitment for the cause. By the end of nineteen nineties the Mahila Mandals were asked to become part of a state level network which would empower them to have a collective voice in a bigger forum and 60 Mahila Mandals became part of the state level network in the year 2000.
In the year 2001 we requested sisters of St. Anne to give a piece of land to build Karunalayam a centre for rescue and rehabilitation of girl children, along with sisters’ residence and they were kind enough to gift to us half an acre of land which was registered on 30th April 2002. The Good Shepherd Convent and Karunalayam were inaugurated on 13th December 2003 and blessed by Rt. Rev. Gali Bali, bishop of Guntur.
Centre for Street and Disadvantaged Girl Children: karunalayam, a centre for rescue and rehabilitation of girl children, was started in the year 2000 in response to the ever- growing incidences of abuse against girl children in and around the city of Vijayawada. Karunalayam picks up girls who are pushed to the streets as a result of family instability, violence and economic circumstances and thus become vulnerable to exploitation.
Community development Programmes
Good Shepherd Convent at Garratola, Madhya Pradesh was founded on 10th October 1981 at the request of His Grace, the Archbisop of Nagpur, Most Rev. Leobard D’souza D.D,
The Provincial Superior, Sr. Bertha Nobbey missioned Srs.Priya, Amala and Prameela to start a community at Garratola, a remote village in the Arch diocese of Nagpur.
The sisters stayed in the parish house for a few months and then shifted to a rented house. Gradually the sisters got acquainted with the people and began to understand their struggles and difficulties, especially those of the women. They attended their village meetings, interacted with them and came to know their needs.
On 16th March 1982 a piece of Land with a mud house was bought and registered in the name of the tribal priest(Fr.Loius Ekka) because tribal land cannot be registered in the name of the society.
On 3rd July 1995 the sisters chose the name Saathi Sadan as the house name in the presence of the provincial Sr. Sabina. The ‘Movement of Peoples Empowerment’ a project got sanctioned on 5th January 1996. Thus the sisters widened their mission to the other villages.
In 1998 on 23rd February the foundation stone was laid for the new community building. The new convent was blessed by His Grace Most Rev. Abraham Viruthukulangara, Archbishop of Nagpur on 28th November of the same year.
The sisters continued to educate the men, women and children using different methods like songs, drama, and posters etc. The sisters helped to open balwadis in many villages so that the little children could be motivated to go to school. Health camps were organized to treat the sick with the help of the doctors and the ANMS.
St. Mary Euphrasia’s Boarding was started on 4th July 2000 in order to cater to the educational needs of the poor girl children from the remote villages. The boarding accommodates 40-50 girls in the age group of 11-17 years.
Good Shepherd Dispensary was established in 2001 to meet the health needs of the people of the area who otherwise have to travel miles to reach the nearest hospital.
This project began in 2001.The aim of the project is Child Focused Community Development. The project caters to the socio-economic development of Gond, Oraon and Baiga tribes in Birsa Block area. Various programmes are conducted in the villages through this project .
The Archbishop of Bombay Cardinal Valerian Gracious met our Provincial Superior Sr. Francis Xavier and invited the Sisters of the Good Shepherd to open a house in his Archdiocese. In 1964 the sisters started their work in Chembur. Srs. Visitation, Gerard and Theresa Grimes were the pioneers of this mission. On 8th December 1965 Mother Rose was installed as Superior. Since we needed a larger area of land to have a convent, school and hostel we decided to purchase a plot of land in Andheri West and in 1968 they shifted to Four Bungalows in Andheri and started a school and a hostel for low income working girls. In 1971 the school was closed down since there was another school in the same locality. In 1985 the parish church was built on the land given by us and was named Good Shepherd Church.
In 1997 Sr. Sabina Pathrose, the Province Leader of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, India received an invitation from Canadian Jesuit International to start a home for the poor and marginalized women and girls in Nepal. Accepting the invitation the Provincial Team decided to open a convent in Pokhara.
Srs. Vandhana Lobo and Colette Montero were missioned to Nepal on 14th January 1998. They reached Kathmandu on 18th January 1998 and on 22nd to Pokhara. Dr. Jim the Executive Director of Canadian Jesuit International accompanied the sisters to the plot purchased by them and donated to the sisters. The land which is 15 km from the city of Pokhara, is situated on a hill slope with a river flowing in front of it. The original plan was to build 10 cottages for eight girls each with a house mother to take care of them. This mission is called Opportunity Village.
The sisters stayed in a rented house in Pokhara until the cottages in Opportunity Village were ready. In Pokhara they gave English tuitions for children and started to learn the local language and study the situation around the vicinity. On 10th February 1999 Sr. Mary Jose joined Sr.Vandana as Sr. Colette had to leave Pokhara for health reasons. In November I999 still being in the rented house the sisters started their mission by welcoming four young girls who were orphans and at the risk of being trafficked. The girls were given various skill training and some wanted to go to school. On 15th December 2000 the sisters shifted to Opportunity Village, at Baskot chowk, Hemja, Kaski District. When the sisters shifted to Opportunity Village only two cottages were ready. The original plan of ten cottages were not possible because of financial constrains.
Since the cottage system for girls were not economical and feasible a home for these children was constructed with the Help of Kinder Missionswerk in the year 2008. Good Shepherd Convent-Nepal was made a canonical community on 15th August 2014.
Home for girls at risk
Skill Training Centres for the poor women in the slums.
Mobile Health Clinic in the mountainous villages.
Medical Camps for people at various locations
Prison Ministry with focus on skill training and medical care.
In January 2001 the Province of India / Nepal was formed into three sectors. Our Sector was named as T.A. Sector comprising of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. To begin with, three sisters were assigned to the Sector Community with Sr. Philomenal Pillai as the Sector Co-ordinator. They stayed in the Nungambakkam community while they looked out for a proper place to serve as the Sector House.
With the help of Rev.Fr.Mark SDB and Rev.Fr.Lawrence Susai SDB and with the financial assistance of our Community in Chennai, we purchased a property with a house for Rs.30,00,000 (thirty lakhs 0nly) in Pallavaram which was under Madras Mylapore Diocese. On 29th September 2002 when the diocese was divided, our house came under Chengalpet Diocese. On 2nd October 2001 this house was blessed by Rev.Fr.Lawrence, the parish priest of St. Teresa’s Church,Nungambakkam and was named ‘Deepa Bhavan’. Sr. Bridget Paily cut the ribbon and opened the house to serve as the Administrative Centre for Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The candidates from Tamil Nadu too stayed here and pursued their Higher Secondary Education.
Later a ‘TRUST’ was formed for the sector with the name “Good Shepherd Convent Foundation”.
After the formation of the New Province – Central East India/Nepal in November 2013, this House ceased to be a Sector House and continues the activities of the Trust. We hope to expand our ministries to serve the children, youth and women of this locality who are poor and vulnerable.
Our Mission in Salem began in the year 1999 at the invitation of MSFS fathers. For almost a year our pioneering sisters Shantha Shivaram and Charlotte stayed at ‘Jyothi Darshan’, the Formation House of MSFS Fathers in Ayodhyapattanam. To begin with the sisters conducted a survey to determine the services we could render to the people of the area.
The following year we shifted to a rented house at Masinaikenpatti and started tailoring classes for school drop-outs and women.
In the evenings we travelled either by public transport or cycling or even walking to conduct coaching classes for children in some of the villages. We were actively involved in the pastoral care activities of the parish.
Inspired by our Mother Foundress who had a keen interest and concern for girls and women in prison, we volunteered to visit the Salem central jail twice a week, through the “Prison Ministry of India”.
We interacted with the inmates, counseled them; taught them awareness songs and spoken English. Those evenings we visited the families of some of the prisoners we had met.
We took turns to visit the mentally challenged children at the Institution of the Missionary Brothers of Charity and the street children who were taken care of by the Salesian Fathers.
Regular meetings were conducted for women of the neighboring villages. We also encouraged them to have Small Savings.
We bought a plot of land in Ayodhyapattanam and in the year 2002 we put up a small hall where they stayed and supervised the construction of the convent building.
When the construction was completed we occupied the present building and started the residential care ministry for school drop-outs which was a government sponsored scheme (SSA) for the eradication of child labour.
Coaching centers spread out over 15 villages
Children’s parliament in order to motivate the children to become service minded and prepare them in leadership qualities, as a result of which the children took active part in identifying some of the issues, affecting their villages, like repairing of street lights, cleanliness of the surroundings etc. by approaching the concerned authorities and succeeded in solving some of them.
In the year 2006, Chalice Sponsorship programme was initiated for deserving children through which a very large number of them are benefitting.
Now it offers a 3 months Certificate Course, named “Skills @ Chalice” for a batch of 20 girls at a time that gives training in tailoring.
Meetings are organized for Women, Youth and Children to bring about awareness of their dignity and responsibilities in their families and society.
We collaborate with like-minded NGO’s of the diocese and participate in rallies and public meetings organized to bring about justice and equality in the society and thus make the presence of sisters of the Good Shepherd effective here in Salem.
After 25 years of Good Shepherd Mission in Mangalagiri region of Guntur Diocese in Andhra Pradesh, the sisters were invited by Most Rev. Gali Bali, Bishop of Guntur Diocese to work among and for the marginalized communities in and around Amaravathi Parish. Responding to the invitation, in June 1993, Srs. Sabina Pathrose, Francina Michael R.I.P and Deepthi Mukalel stayed in a rented house and started to work with the dalit women and their families in 20 sub stations of the parish. Gradually they initiated Women’s Group in 12 villages and facilitated constructive interaction and encouraged savings and thriftiness. At times, depending on the situation, sisters used to stay back in the villages to facilitate the women groups functioning. The living conditions of the dalits at that time were quite startling. In most of the houses, children were not sent to schools, incidents of school dropouts, practice of early marriages for the girl children and atrocities against the dalits were common.
During these early years, 10 cents of land was purchased to put up a convent. On 16th August 1995, Most Rev. Gali Bali, Bishop of Guntur Diocese blessed the house of Sisters of the Good Shepherd named as ‘Samatha Nilayam’.
During 1993 to 2000, the sisters involved themselves in forming Women’s Group in 20 villages for regular interaction focusing on individual and community development, organised the youth groups, established Child Care Centres, conducted after-school coaching classes for children of dalit communities and attended to the cases of atrocities on SC/ST communities.
Girl children who are out-of-school are identified and academically as well as psychologically trained to get back to school. During this academic year 2014 – 2015, as many as 57 girl children are benefitting under this intervention. At the Residential Bridge School, an attractive learning atmosphere is created and the children are prepared to be willing to go to school.
i. Bala Panchayats : Children in the age group of 11 to 18 years are oriented and trained to form as Bala Panchayats to become responsible and responsive citizens with right ideologies, in order to promote democracy work in words and in spirit for the good of all, especially the marginalized.
ii. Adolescent Girls Groups : Girls in the age group of 14 to 18 years are formed into groups at the village-level and trained to equip themselves with life-oriented skills that would protect their rights for a dignified future.
iii. Child Rights Protection Committees : In all the villages Child Rights Protection Committees (CRPCs) have been initiated and strengthened in order to monitor child rights violations.
iv. Community Sensitization : Through media, the general public is made aware of the rights pertaining to children; street plays, handouts, thematic posters and television spots are used to educate the people on ill-effects of child rights violations.
Since 1996, to reach out to needy children and their families, the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in partnership with CHALICE, Canada have established a programme that helps children and their families. The programme has the following components with specific purposes.
Supporting Formal & Vocational Education, Health & Hygiene, Nutrition, Medical Assistance, Community Development Programme
In 2012, the Good Shepherd Convent has been chosen as the Collaborative Organisation by the CHILDLINE India Foundation, Mumbai to manage the CHILDLINE 1098 at Guntur District. The CHILDLINE is a 24 hours free phone service, which can be accessed by a child in distress or an adult on his behalf by dialing the number 1098 on telephone. This programme is initiated and supported by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD), Government of India under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme(ICPS). (http://www.childlineindia.org.in/1098/child-labour-updates-stories-across-India-Guntur.htm)
Legal Couselling, Fact-finding & Legal Interventions, Observation of National & International Days related to human rights, Networking for Human Rights, Follow-up Programme, Community Sensitization on Dalit Women Rights
Good Shepherd Mission Development Office, India/Nepal is temporarily located in Amaravathi which plays a facilitative role for accelerating the social development mission in both South West and Central East India/Nepal Provinces of the Good Shepherd Congregation in India/Nepal.
Currently four thematic issues were considered to be of paramount important for collective interventions. They are . . .
The Good Shepherd Mission Development Office, India/Nepal aims at building the capacities of the Good Shepherd people to scientifically address the issues of the target people with appropriate strategies and activities for best interests of the marginalized, especially women and children. *****
On 2nd October 1993, Good Shepherd Mission in Virar began by Sr. Vinaya Molly D’Souza at the invitation of the Parish Priest. She started the work by visiting the parishioners and preparing the children for their First Holy Communion. Sr. Prameela Perumpally joined her on 9th December 1993. They stayed in a rented house and the main aim was to promote Vocations. They conducted English classes for college students at the request of the Parish Priest of Nandhakal. In June 1994, Sr. Prameela was transferred to Karjat and was replaced by Sr. Flora Fernandes .
In January 1995 the sisters began working in a slum area in collaboration with Fr. Andrew, Dean of Vasai Region. Soon they started a Balwadi in the slum area for the children of the locality. On 28th July 1995 they shifted to their own flat in Shripal Complex.
Later on, the sisters, in partnership with CARITAS INDIA, worked in different villages of Virar West for Adivasi tribals. They conducted literacy classes for women and children and formed Self Help Groups for women.
In 2001 the CHALICE PROJECT was started. We concentrated on children’s education, nutrition and health. Poor children were helped both from Virar town and villages. At the moment 44 children are sponsored.
In March 2006, the sisters shifted to Ambo Virar, Tirupati Nagar, Phase I, Virar West where there was sufficient place to conduct various programmes.
In June 2006 we started a Play Group cum Nursery in the same house.
On 17th April 2007 we started a balwadi in two rented rooms in Bhiwandi for the children of commercial sex workers. Sr. Divya Jacob visited the Balwadi every day and taught the children with the assistance of a lay person.
On 8th July 2007 Virar community was officially announced as a Canonical Community and Sr. Resi Joseph was appointed as the Superior.
In 2008 a children’s Home was started in Virar where children at risk were sheltered and sent to a nearby English Medium School. Most of the children are from our Shelter Home in Bhiwandi. This project is supported by H.C.D.I., Pune.
At present the sisters are involved in Pastoral Work, Play Group-cum-Nursery, Home for children at high risk and CHALICE Project.