PROVINCE OF TRICHY APPLAUDS THE 50 YEARS OF SERVICE IN THE VINEYARD OF THE LORD

The province of Trichy celebrated the Golden Jubilee of our dear sisters Juliet Soosainathan, Ruby raj, and Borgia Michael with a lot of gravity on 3rd January 2021. The august assembly gathered for the solemn Eucharistic celebration to thank the Almighty for the inestimable gift of their life and precious religious vocation which was indeed a journey of fidelity. Rev. Fr. Michael Raj from St. Paul Seminary was the main celebrant along with four more priests who were the special invitees.

The celebration started with the welcoming of the Province Animator Sr. Jyothi Selvaraj followed by garlanding and the procession accompanied by the little flower girls. They were felicitated by Srs. Julie Kulandaisami, Arockia Mary Soosaimanickam and Dhanamary Manickam. The theme of the celebration was “His goodness shall follow me to the end of my days”. Sr. Juliet thanked the group.

Everyone was excited to see the three kings appearing from far to greet the Jubilarians. They were quite fabulous in their costumes, with the star and message in their hands. We thank the Jubilarians for their generous service to the Congregation in different places to various people. The celebration ended with the cutting of the cake followed by the festive meal. Everything was set right by the systematic plan of Srs. Sathiya Selvi and Amali.

Sr.Arokia Mary, Novitiate

Province of Trichy.

Silver Jubilee Celebration of ‘POWER’ at Viralimalai, Tamilnadu

30th December 2020 marked an awesome day in the history of ‘POWER’ the Social Centre at Viralimalai as it celebrated the 25th year of it’s birth. Jubilee year is a year of thanksgiving to the Almighty God who blessed immensely with showers of light and encouragement to delve into the untrodden paths in creating the space for the last and least in the society.

POWER stands for Participation and Organisation of Women for Empowering Rural India. This social centre was started on 5th July 1995 by Rev. Sr. Josephine Chinnarani, Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod, Province of Trichy, in view of women empowerment among the illiterate and rural women.

 

The main aim is to organise the rural women to SHG (self-help groups) and make them participate or participant of their own development – economically, socially and culturally. This development includes not only the women but also their children since they are the future citizens of our country. Hence we have study centers for the children in our project area.

The celebrations began with the blessing of newly built Claudine Training Hall by Fr. S. Melchior, the Par ish priest, Viralimalai, and cutting of the Ribbon by Rev. Sr. Jyothi Selvaraj, the provincial of the province of Trichy. 25 years is not just a stone to cross over rather it has taken lots of hurdles.

The great and awaited events of the Jubilee celebration began by invoking the presence of God with the multi-religious symbols and the lighting of the lamp. The chief guest of the day Sr. Jyothi Selvaraj, the provincial of the Province of Trichy, the speaker Mrs. S. Sundaravalli the Social activist, the guest of honor Rev. Sr. I. Josephine Chinna Rani, the director of SOC SEAD and the founder of ‘POWER’, Rev.Fr. Paul Mike, the director of IDEAS, Madurai, Rev. Fr. Eugene, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Trichy and Mr.M Palaniyappan, the businessman, Viralimalai were warmly welcomed by Rev. Sr. Jeyarani the Director of POWER. All the invitees were honoured with a shawl and a Momento.

The highlights of the day’s programme were the release of the Silver Jubilee souvenir, screening of a fabulous documentary to the audience, release of the flag for POWER Social Centre and the cash of Rs.1,50,000/- for the education of the poor children handed over to Sr.Jeyarani, the director by the women federation of POWER.

The Children of POWER entertained the audience with their colourful cultural performance like Kummi, kolattam, Thappattam, songs, dances and skit on the theme ‘love one another’. The jubilee celebration ended with distribution of coconut saplings to 1200 women. May the silver bells continue to ring in the minds and hearts of the poor and the downtrodden of the society through POWER to witness the Golden years.

TRICHY HOLDS PROVINCE MEET

The province meet of the province of Tiruchirappalli for 2018 -19 was held on July 27, 2019. The day began with invoking the presence of God with a meaningful and inspiring prayer by the sisters of Namakkal community.

Sr. Jyothi Selvaraj, Provincial Superior, set the tone for the day with a cordial welcome with a thought provoking inaugural address.  It was delightful to see the newly professed sisters becoming the stars of the day during the opening ceremony with the colourful welcome as they take part in the province assembly for the first time.

The Province Report was presented by Sr. Regie Chinnappan, Provincial Secretary through video presentation followed by Bursar’s Report by Sr.Vimala Singarayar, Provincial Bursar through powerpoint presentation. Various commission Reports were presented by coordinators of each commission through Video and Power Point presentations. The timely intervention of the sisters with their appreciation and comments after the report of each commission was enriching and enlightening.

Mr. Jinna gave a talk on “Personal Health Care” through one-touch therapy, using which diseases can be cured without taking drugs. He shared his experiences through video clippings of different stages of patients getting cured through his one touch therapy.

The Junior sisters kept the congregation alive and active with their Action Songs and Quiz from Family Annals by the MCs (Sr.Amutha and Sr.Dhanam Mary) of the day.

To cap it all, Sr. Jyothi Selvaraj addressed the gathering again. In her address she appreciated the sisters for their tireless commitment and hard work in living the patrimony of the Congregation and for carrying out the ministries entrusted to them with utmost care. The areas we need to look into also were highlighted and brought into notice. Sr. Jyothi thanked the sisters for the arrangements made to make the day meaningful.

The Holy Cross Anthem, which is dear to the heart of each member of the Congregation, was sung at the close of the Province meet.

 

10th Annual Retreat, HOLY CROSS LAY ASSOCIATES

The celebration of the 10 years of successful completion of the annual meet of Lay Associates (2008-2018) was conducted on 10th March 2019, from 9.00am to 4.00pm at Sophie’s Hall, Holy Cross College, Trichy. There were 110 Lay Associates from 13 Units.

The first session began with a meaningful prayer in which the significance of milestones and the activities of the yester years (2008-2018) were brought out by the Butterworth Unit. Followed by an hour of reflection shared by Rev.Sr.Mary Johnsi Amaldas on the topic “Joyful Witnesses of Christ’s Mission” and 19 God’s abundant graces from the book of Hosea”.

There was a group sharing on the obstacles in reading the Word of God followed by adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Thanksgiving Eucharistic celebration was celebrated by Reverend Father Marianus Isaac for the milestones as God had travelled with our lay associates during ten long years. During the Eucharistic celebration 14 Lay Associates renewed their promises.

We had the presentation of Annual Reports followed by felicitation. Our provincial Rev.Sr.Jyothi Selvaraj and the golden Jubilarians – the President Mr & Mrs.Joseph Raj Rosebel were honoured. The day came to an end with the Unit wise photo session.

Sr.Amalorpavam Louis, Co ordinator, Commission for Lay Associates

ANNUAL MEET OF THE LAY ASSOCIATES

Annual Meet of the Holy Cross Lay Associates was held on 17th Sep. 2017, at Holy Cross College, Fort, Trichy. 102 lay associates attended the meeting. The day was inaugurated with the Holy Eucharist Celebrated by Rev.Fr.Micheal John SJ. with the significant liturgy prepared by the members of three units – Cantonment, Plani and Namakkal.

The elected office bearers were presented and their duties were delivered to the group in the presence of Sr.Savari Savarimuthu, the provincial councillor in charge of the commission for lay associates.

The theme of the day was “குடும்ப வாழ்வில் மகிழ்வும், மனநிறைவும்”. Rev.Fr.Micheal John SJ. animated the group on the theme of the day and cocluded with the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The session came to an end with the fellowship meal.

FINAL PROFESSION

Final Profession of our five sisters – 3 from the province of Trichy, 1 from the province of Guwahati and 1 from the province of Tenali was on the 16th Sep.2017, at Holy Cross Convent, Teppakulam, Trichy, solomonised by Rev.Antony Devottta, the bishop of Trichy in the presence of Sr.Eugene D’souza the Superior General, Sr. Lourdu Adaikalasamy, the General Councillor, Sr.Peuma PERES, the provincial of Srilanka and councillors, Sr.Gratia ANTONY, the provincial of Guwahati and her councillors, Sr.Lucy Maliekkal, the provincial of East Africa and her councillors, Sr.Priyanthi SAMALA, the provincial of Tenali and her councillors, Sr.Jyothi Selvaraj, the provincial of Trichy and her councillors. It was indeed a great occasion to praise and thank God for the gift of our sisters to OUR congregation.

Mother Claudine Echernier


Mother Claudine Echernier
1801 – 1869

It was in the village called ‘vers le Creux’ in the parish of Feterne in Chablais, that Claudine Echernier was born on the 29th of may 1801. Her Fater, Francis Echernier, and her mother, Anne Dutruel, had nine children, four of whom died at a tender age.

Poverty was their lot yet they were very rich in faith. They possessed only a small cottage, consisting of a single room without wooden flooring and a small portion of land whose produce together with the work of the father who was a day labourer, kept the wolf from the door. The parents taught the children to fear the good God; they advised them to be good; that was all they could do.

Claudine evinces from her young age a most astonishing thirst for knowledge, and a great spiritual sensibility. At the age of 10, urged by necessity, her parents send her as a shepherdess to a rich proprietor of champagnes, Mr.Maillet. About the age of 15 she had the misfortune of losing her mother and had to replace her in tending to her brothers and sisters. Active and diligent, this girl of 15 had made up her mind to become a seamstress. A friend, Miss Poncet, an expert in the trade, taught her the art of cutting out and stitching.

But soon, a new trial arose: her father, having yielded to the lure of smuggling, might serve a sentence of several years in prison. Claudine became at once the head of the little family and the support of the prisoner. Being endowed with a generous heart, she fulfilled these austere tasks with all the vigour of her 20 years. After his release, Francois Echernier remarried. Then Claudine who was 26, being freed from her obligations as housekeeper, entered the service of the Parish Priest of Feternes who had just been appointed to the parish of Chavanod.

But her life was so well ordered that no one could point out the least thing that was disedifying; everything breathed piety, modesty, humility, charity and mortification; in a word, she was as exemplary in this parish as she had been at Feterne.

In the Parish House of Chavanod, she looks after the old mother of Father Delalex with much devotedness, and very soon she becomes conscious of this great evil- ignorance- and its harmful consequences. She , who never experienced the joy of crossing the threshold of a school, opens her kitchen to the little girls of Chavanod to teach them their A B C, give them some notions of needle work and at the same time, to speak of God.

Fr.Martin who was Claudine’s director advised her to apply henceforth to Fr.Mermier, superior of the Missionaries, for spiritual direction. From then on, Claudine was Fr.Mermier’s most humble and most obedient spiritual daughter. She never undertook and thing without consulting him, she did nothing without his permission.

She was strong and energetic because the Holy Spirit himself formed the spirit of this girl by his divine inspirations. Having found a loyal heart, he supplied all that lacked with regard to education, and rendered her, who was nothing in the eyes of the world, capable of great things.

Fr.Peter Mermier observing the simple and inspiring life of mother Claudine asks her to see the Bishop of Annecy, Mgr . Rey, to speak to him of her life and disclose to him the desire which she was no longer alone to foster. She was listened to with attention and kindness. And on the feast of St.Jane de Chantal 21.8.1838, Father Mermier conveys to her the following message: “Mgr Rey grants you full liberty to give yourself up to your undertaking, and does not prevent you from following the inspiration of grace, as long as they come from God, and a wise director recognizes them as such…”

Father Mermier drew up and gave them a small manuscript rule of life which already contained, with less details, the spiritual exercises prescribe by our present Holy Rules. Mother Claudine continued her classes for the little girls. She had about thirty pupils. As the sisters had no beds, they slept on the straw mattresses spread out on the floor of the two rooms. They ate what the children gave them. Occasionally, when the parents baked bread, they loved to send them a loaf. They did needle-work, knitting, spinning to earn their living.

They also went as workers to houses, which asked for their services, and worked in the fields or at spinning. In all her actions, in all her undertakings she had only the glory of god in view. She lived only for him. She sought him alone, all the rest was nothing for her. It was in her meditations and conversations with her God that she learnt so many things. She ascribed everything to God. When some admired the progress of her institute in front of her she said: ‘it is the good God who has done everything.’ on the 30th November 1862, Father Mermier who, since 1838, had been travelling the same road as the Sisters of the Cross, having finished his appointed task, ends hid earthly course.

In that year 1869, she was keen to pay a visit to all the schools run by the sisters. Once more she started on her way, from the mountains of savoy to the confines of dau-phine and of Switzerland, to visit the 39 houses in which 300 sisters of the cross were then working. Everywhere she derogated from her wonted austerity, showing great kindness towards all the Sisters and accepting the alleviations offered her. On her return she could say, “I saw all the Sisters. I am happy: everything is all right everywhere. “A last journey to La salette fulfilled the wishes of Mother Claudine who, for a long time, had been desirous to make this pilgrimage of thanksgiving.

Once she was back at Chavanod, sickness is not long in coming: on the 10th of August, at dawn, just as bell was ringing to wake up the community, Mother Claudine awoke to the brightness of God.

Fr. Peter Mermier


Fr. Peter Mermier
1790 – 1862

Peter Marie Mermier was born on 28 August 1790 at Vouray in the parish of Chaumont en Genevois, in Savoy. The French Revolution had badly affected the Church in Savoy and many priests left the country while a few went in hiding. Peter’s parents, who were fervent Christians, risked their lives and property by welcoming the priests. Between the age of four and ten Peter had the rare privilege of assisting at the Mass celebrated secretly in the house. The faith and courage of his mother and of those daring priests motivated him to make a decisive choice for the Lord.

The revolutionaries had closed Churches and schools. So Peter Mermier had his primary education by his own mother. Peace returned to Savoy in 1800. He did his secondary school studies as a boarder in Melan. In 1807 he was received at the major Seminary of Chambery. He was fervent at prayer, a hard worker and with thoughtful regard for his fellow students. He was ordained priest on 21 March 1813 at the age of twenty-three and a half.  His first appointment was at Magland as Assistant Parish Priest to Canon Desjacques. As a young priest he was a tireless worker. He taught the little ones by day and continued his theological studies by night. After three years he was asked to teach at the college of Melan and be Prefect of Discipline. The Arch Bishop of Chambery appointed him Parish Priest of Le Chaterlard in 1819, at the age of thirty.

Fr. Peter Marie Mermier was an austere priest of unbounded zeal. But most of the people were indifferent to Catholic Faith and practices due to the influence of Jansenism, Gallicanism and French Revolution. With a view to enliven the people in true faith he contacted Joseph-Marie Favre who gave missions in the diocese of Chambery with great success. They met in 1821 and it was very significant for Fr. Mermier as he fell in love with the apostolate of Parish Mission. In the same year they, with the help of a few diocesan priests, dedicated themselves exclusively for this task. They went from parish to parish staying from 4 to 6 weeks in each parish. They prayed, preached and motivated the people to build up their faith. It was a wonderful opportunity for solid religious instruction and reconciliation.

Mgr. de Thiollez, Bishop of Annecy, appointed him spiritual director at the major Seminary in 1823. But in 1826 the Bishop permitted him to dedicate himself entirely to the mission. Gradually a small group of missioners were formed. In the meantime Fr. Peter Marie Mermier sensed the irreplaceable role of the parish missions, the necessity of a religious Congregation of Missioners and the meaning of the patronage of St. Francis de Sales.

Peter Joseph Rey became the new Bishop of Annecy in 1832. He allowed the missioners, at that time six in all, to move to a house in La Roche in June 1834. On September 29, 1836 Bishop Rey gave provisional approval for their rule and they were known as Missionaries of Annecy. They set up a motherhouse in Annecy at a place called La Feuillette on August 8, 1837. It became a house of prayer and study. It was the house where the young religious received their formation in the apostolic and Salesian life. The civil approval to the new religious society from the Duke of savoy came on October 15, 1838. It stated that the Missionaries were approved under the title of St. Francis de Sales. On October 24, 1838 Bispop Rey issued an official document giving canonical approval to the Congregation founded by Father Peter Mermier known as the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales.

Fr. Peter Marie Mermier founded the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales for parish mission, foreign mission and education of the youth. His missionary zeal impelled him to ask the Holy Father for a mission abroad and accept a vast mission territory in India when the Congregation was in its infancy with just eleven professed members. As regards education he opines that one has to be a mother to the pupil by one’s tenderness and a father by one’s prudence. He accepted the management of the college of Avian in 1856 and the college of Melan in 1857. In Chavanod he came into contact with Claudine Echernier who wanted to live a humble recollected life devoted to the apostolate of the poor in 1836. This resulted in the founding of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod for the education of the needy girls. They had to work in the poorest and lowliest circles in the country.

Between 1828 and 1857 Fr. Mermier himself conducted ninety missions. He considered sermon as the chief means of proclaiming the word of God. He adopted carefully prepared simple preaching. He spoke with faith and conviction using a fatherly tone of voice marked with a kindly understanding of sinners like St. Francis de Sales. He guided the missionaries to live a life of pleasing and kindly charity in their apostolic ministry and daily relationship. He considered devotion to Our Lady of Seven Sorrows to be an eminent Salesian devotion.

In spite of his old age Fr. Mermier took over the Parish of Pougny as priest-in-charge on 26 June 1857. Even in his old age he retained a lively and curious mind. His last years were a time of purification and edification. He fell seriously sick in Pougny and was taken to La Feuillette. His eye-sight and thinking capacity weakened. As he was a little better he took up a pilgrimage to Our Lady of La Salette in July 1859. He suffered a fierce attack on June 6, 1860 and became fully blind. Meanwhile the Sacred Congregation of Bishops and Regulars approved the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales as a congregation with simple vows.

On 10 August 1862 Fr. Peter Marie Mermier had a fall, which caused a double fracture of his right leg. He left for his heavenly abode on 30 September 1862.