St. Francis Province Today

Today members of St. Francis Province serve 5 archdioceses (Delhi, Agra, Patna, Ranchi and Thalassery) and 7 dioceses (Bareilly, Bhagalpur, Buxar, Jabalpur, Trichi, Mananthavady and Palakkad) spread across 9 States. At present the Province has 23 houses of which 7 are exclusively at the service of the dioceses.

Most of the members are engaged in various forms of education. In all our communities sisters are actively involved in pastoral activities and our hostels for poor girls - both in the urban and rural areas, empower and equip a sizeable number of girl children hailing from underprivileged families. The dispensaries in the rural areas are nucleus of healthcare and social uplift projects enabling the rural people to access the benefits of social schemes initiated by the Government at different places.

Education Philosophy

Seraphina considered school as an effective agent in promoting the integral formation of the child in the Gospel’s spirit of love and freedom: an inclusive love that excludes no one because of religion, region, race, or ethnicity in order to shape a better human society. To her the school was a God-given vineyard, the classroom a greenhouse where each child with her unique character – whether highborn or lowborn - had to be tendered and nurtured with love, concern and solicitude. She believed that the most effective teachers are artists at discovering, recognizing, encouraging and fostering the unique interests and abilities of each individual pupil.

An individual knowledge of the children entrusted to their care was required of both the Principal and the staff in order to help develop their particular talents, snip their vices and cultivate virtues.

Seraphina advises the teachers to be compassionate with the tantrum of the growing adolescent, to be prudent in handing out rewards, vigilant in giving the students no occasions to be defiant and discontent by denying them their rightful needs or treating them harshly. A teacher must be a mother/father, counselor, guide, friend and a confidant / confidante to the pupils.

She wanted each girl to be acquainted with the fine arts and crafts and household skills not only to keep themselves occupied in their free time but also to become diligent homemakers, exemplary mothers and above all, useful citizens - pride of their families and the wealth of the society

Seraphinian Education emphasizes

  • The inner formation of the child; development of each one’s talents and potential.
  • Acquisition of life skills, lasting values, fine conscience and social concern.
  • A pedagogy of heart aimed at forming a community of persons- including the highborn and the lowborn, the advantaged and the marginalized alike - with mutual responsibility and accountability.
  • A faculty of well-qualified committed persons, ever keen on updating themselves with the latest teaching techniques.

In tune with the vision of our Foundress, our education policy aims at the integral formation of the pupils with stress on life skills and character training based on the Gospel values. It runs 1 Senior Secondary School, 8 Secondary Schools (5 in English medium and 3 in Hindi medium), 1 Middle School, 1 Primary School and 2 Pre-primary schools, besides 3 Healthcare Centres, 8 Children’s Home for underprivileged Girls, Social Uplift programmes in 5 Centres and a Hostel for Working Women. While Nirmala Convent School runs Balwadis for 200-odd rural children, St. Anthony's School, Faridabad and Our Lady of Fatima School, DLF-14, Gurgaon run Evening School for slum children/ rag-pickers/ child-labourers. In the former there are 200-odd pupils studying from Class I – V, while the latter has 80-odd children undergoing non-formal education. Evening Classes for slum children are Besides, our sisters serve in 4 senior secondary schools, 3 junior schools, 2 boarding for tribal/destitute children and a Home for the Aged run by dioceses / congregations.

Every school admits pupils from economically backward sectors, especially Christian children and sponsors the professional/vocational studies of some select/deserving ones. Some of these beneficiaries have become doctors, engineers, trained graduates/post-graduates, nurses, call centre employees et al.

Fund-drive for social concern is a priority of each school: each institution bearing the medical/ wedding expenses of a few penurious in the locality, or building hutment dwelling for the roofless. Many less privileged persons – inmates of Welfare Homes, the physically/mentally-challenged, street children, daily wage-earners, irrespective of caste, creed and ethnicity – benefit through the social uplift projects undertaken by the schools. Some of the marginalized are provided with sewing machines, carts, cycle-rickshaws or auto-rickshaws to earn their livelihood. The avenues for higher studies and job opportunities given to the inmates of the Children’s Welfare Home bear witness to our contribution to make their life a success story. There are trained graduates/ post-graduates, nurses, secretaries, and business women, besides successful housewives among the former inmates.

Pastoral Apostolate

Faith formation of children, instruction to the adults for the reception of the Sacrament of baptism/ marriage, animation of SCC, youth ministry, decking the altar for every liturgical celebration – whether in the school hall or in the parish church, care of the altar linen, organizing the choir, et al are carried out by the sisters ever since the inception of the Mass Centre/parish in each locality.

St. Francis Province

New ventures were undertaken as the Lord blessed the growth of the Province with energetic and enthusiastic members. The late 1970s saw St. Francis Province gradually spreading its wings from its Northern perch to North-East India with the opening of its first mission in the remote inaccessible village of Jongksha in the Khasi Hills region of Meghalaya in 1977.

The period 1980-1990 also witnessed a more pronounced option for the poor as the Province took up remote mission stations in interior U.P., Assam and Bihar, some of them in collaboration with the dioceses. The Provincial House was shifted to New Delhi in 1983. Since December 1988, Clara Niwas at Kalu Sarai became the administrative centre of St. Francis’ Province.

As the number of personnel and institutions increased and the spheres of work expanded and the activities of the Province multiplied, animation of the Sisters and their apostolates became very demanding. With houses spread from Pathankot in the North to Parassala in the Southern tip of Kerala and from Mumbai in the West Coast to Mawkynrew (Meghalaya) in the East, the need for the bifurcation of the Province became very imperative. After due reflections, discussions and mandatory consultations, the Province was divided in May 1994 - thus giving birth to St. Clare’s Province with its headquarters based in Clement Town, Dehra Dun.

In 1992, a Mission Superior was appointed to look into the immediate needs of the members in the North-East region. Another landmark decision in the life of St. Francis province was the raising of the North-East Mission to Mother Seraphina Vice Province on November 21, 1998 and to a full pledged Province on June 15, 2006. Thus we have 3 Provinces – St. Francis (Delhi), St. Clare’s (Dehradun), Mother Seraphina (Guwahati) – in India. ). In January 2014, the Indian provinces have opened an Inter-Province Mission in the diocese of Ambanja in Madagascar.

These developments provided greater thrust to the growth of the Institute in India as it infused new vitality and fervor among the members of all the three entities, each zealously exploring new avenues of growth and apostolic undertakings. Each Province constantly seeks ways and means to reinterpret and live its Eucharistic Missionary Charism according to the signs of the times in order to respond adequately to the challenges of the fast changing milieu. We strive to be true to the missionary mandate of our beloved Foundress and reach out to the needy, particularly the youth, children and women in the far flung regions of our country.

Our Apostolate

“I wish to wipe away every drop of tears, alleviate every pain. Would that I could comfort all the widows and the broken-hearted! It seems that all the misery in the world is gathered into my heart, and I am at a loss how to help the people without any discrimination of status and race!”

The CFMSS in India carry on the mandate of their Foundress not only in the heart of the cities or in the outskirts of the towns, but also among the disadvantaged people in some of the northern and north-eastern tribal regions still untouched by the amenities of life like electricity, running water, postal system, or even a newspaper. According to the wish of the Foundress, most of our houses were/ or are being opened where no other religious/ Christian institutions were/are present.

The CFMSS in India carry on the mandate of their Foundress not only in the heart of the cities or in the outskirts of the towns, but also among the disadvantaged people in some of the northern and north-eastern tribal regions still untouched by the amenities of life like electricity, running water, postal system, or even a newspaper. According to the wish of the Foundress, most of our houses were/ or are being opened where no other religious/ Christian institutions were/are present.

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