CFMSS in India

The Indian Mission of the CFMSS was inaugurated on 3 February in 1901, when Venerable Mother Seraphina sent out the first batch of CFMSS Missionaries to India. The Mission is built on the sacrifices of the pioneer missionaries and their successors as they slogged determinately against all odds, battling sickness, death, scorching heat, deprivation, loneliness, rejection etc., for half a century relying solely on Divine Providence. As the houses at Sardhana (1901 – 1907), Meerut (1903 – 1912) and KheraKhurd (1924 - 1947) had to be closed down due to extraneous reasons, our presence remained confined to St. Francis Convent (1912) Agra and St. Anthony’s Convent, Delhi (1934).

The two World Wars added to the woes of the valiant missionaries but things began to look up in the late 1950s, under the direction of the inimitable Mother Benigna - the Superior of the Indian Mission. She visited the Catholic strongholds of South India at the suggestion of Mother Carlina, the then Superior General of the Institute. The entry of zealous girls from Kerala and Karnataka turned the tide in favour of the Indian CFMSS. Besides her faith in the Divine Providence and in her favourite patron St. Anthony, Mother Benigna’s personal qualities, farsightedness, resourcefulness and organizational abilities, the assistance of her compatriots and young Indian daughters contributed to the rapid growth of the mission which was almost wilting in the 1940s.

Convents and schools came up in Dehradun (U.P.), Gurgaon (Haryana), Patiala (Pyunjab), Bulandshahr (U.P.), Pathankot (Punjab), Mussoorie (U.P.), Chandigarh, and Hauz Khas (New Delhi). Finally, St. Francis Province came into existence on May 20, 1971 when the Institute was restructured and organized into Provinces as a direct consequence of the Second Vatican Council and the initiatives of the then Superior General late Mother Pasqualina Munno. St. Mary’s Convent, Clemet Town, Dehra Dun became the seat of administration for the newly constituted Province.

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