Oration – Sr.Miriam Therese

Farewell to our Dear Sr. Miriam Therese

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith From now on there is reserved for me, the Crown of righteousness Which the Lord the righteous judge, will give me on that day “. 2 Tim. 4:7-8

Sr. Miriam Therese was born as the third child to Mr. Antonisamy and Mrs. Arpudamary on 27th February 1938 into the family of deep faith in God and love for humanity at Varaganeri, Tiruchirappalli. Sr. Miriam was loved, petted and cared by her family and was very precious to her brothers and sisters. She was a loving, affectionate daughter and sister. She was good at studies and her father, who was a teacher used to invite the less privileged children of the locality to his home in order to assist them in their studies. This made her more responsible in her behaviour towards others in society and helped the students in their studies. She also helped her mother to make some edibles for those children, who would have starved at home.

Her parents were pious and faithful Catholics who brought up their children with strict discipline and with strong religious consciousness. Sr. Miriam used to go for daily mass and loved reading the lives of saints specially the life history of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus, Blessed Alphonse and St. Francis Xavier. She was inspired by their heroic Spirit, dedication and sacrifices they made in their lives. Her longing to join the Great Carmel order was bluntly refused by her Father but with much struggle she got permission to join Sisters of the Cross in June 1958 where she studied, with five other companions. She had a feeling that she was loved much at home as well as by her Novice Mistress Mother Theophine. She took life very seriously and made her First commitment on 21st December 1960. Her first community was Fort, started to work in the office, co-coordinating, unifying and even rectifying things with the help of senior sisters. There she learnt to keep up confidence and help the senior sisters, specially the sick and ailing members. She had the gift of relating with different people amicably and had learnt the art of silence.

In the year 1969, she was enrolled as a student of Commerce in a Hindu college at Nagercoil. She had secured a Gold Medal in Commerce. Then she worked as an Assistant Superior and Bursar at Mater Dei, Goa for three years. She was spiritually enriched by the courses attended to serve the Lord joyfully and fruitfully. After this she was appointed as Province Bursar and in charge of the Technical Institute at Mambalasalai. Later she took charge of the community at Fort from 1979 to 1982. Simultaneously she completed her Master of Commerce in Venkateswara University, Tirupathi in the distant mode of education.

Deeper study of our Origin and charism made her serve the poor in a village set up at Vadugarpet in 1982 to 1992. While working in the school she completed her B.Ed. in Annamalai University in the distant mode of education. She worked in Vadugarpet School for 5 years later she joined the Community at Kallakudi visiting the villages in the neighborhood and giving non-formal education in tuition centers, after her class. From 1989 to 1990 she lived in the village called Pudur – near Kulithalai and was engaged in evangelization and social work.

After her retirement from 1997 to 2000 she was in Novitiate as Sister- in- Charge to re-live and share her youthful spirit with others. From 2000 to 2002, she was Sister -in- Charge of the community at Golden Rock and 2002 to 2004 she was the Sister-in-Charge of Oliyamangam community. From 2004 to 2007, she was in charge of Diocesan Nursery School – Christ the King Matriculation School, at Namakkal and from 2007 onwards she took care of the neglected and deserted women in Shanthi Villa, Destitute Home at Amaithi Nilayam community.

For 14 years till her death, she had been the Director of the Destitute Home – caring and sharing her entire self with the neglected women of our society. Due to vomiting blood, breathlessness and distended abdomen, she was taken to Child Jesus Hospital and got admitted on 18th July 2021. As she was having some internal bleeding and low HB, she was administered one unit of blood but still they could not stop the bleeding therefore she was shifted to GVN Hospital at Mambalasalai, Trichy on 21st July 2021. From then onwards she was administered three units of blood, diagnosis was going on, after doing the endoscopy treatment she was diagnosed to have cirrhosis of the Liver (grade 3 ) subsequently leading to Ascities, portal hypertension and esophageal varices causing Haematemesis and Malena and stomach was getting distended.

After her persistent request, she was discharged from the hospital, on 1st August 2021. She was brought back to Shanthi Villa, Amathi Nilayam. She was with the sisters and the inmates for two days and three nights. After coming to Shanthivilla, she visited all the inmates individually, prayed and blessed them. She handed over all her responsibilities diligently to Sr. Lourdu Adaikalasamy, the newly elected Provincial. On 3rd August 2021, during the evening prayer, all the sisters were gathered around her and she expressed her gratitude to the members of the community and blessed them.

On 4th August 2021, from 2.00 pm onwards her health was deteriorating, she had severe breathlessness, her pulse was slowing down and community members were present to attend to her needs. The end came swiftly and painfully but she could no longer voice her feelings, the Lord alone, whom she faithfully served, could understand her as she breathed her last at 3.00 pm. Till the end of her life, she was very grateful to the Congregation, Province and all the sisters who had guided her towards reaching her goal to follow the crucified Lord.

Always her wish and prayers were authentic and true to her belief. Her love for the poor and the destitute, the less privileged were praise worthy. She never complained about struggles of life but lovingly accepted all the challenges and used it as an opportunity to glorify God. The routine task she performed never led her to boredom or frustration; she was always attuned to the signs of the time and was prompt in responding to it creatively.

Dear Sr. Miriam you have touched our hearts and left a legacy of your hard work, determination and loyalty to the Congregation. Farewell to you dear Sister Miriam, enjoy the eternal bliss with the entire Celestial Court. The great and mighty souls will definitely inherit the kingdom of God and we firmly believe that you are counted one among them.

Good bye to you dear Sister Miriam till we meet again in heaven.

Sisters of Amaithi Nilayam
Province of Tiruchirappalli,

Oration of three sisters


“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” – John 5:24

It is a privilege to have been asked by Sister Immaculata to give her eulogy. A year ago, when she asked us to do this, we said we would but please not so soon, for which Sr. Immaculata simply smiled. Her smile was her greatest gift to us and to those of her beloved. For the past 5 years, sister was with us in our community. We all lived together as little birds in this beautiful nest called Ashirvad. Soon the call came from God and she flew away from the presence of the other birds.

Sr. Immaculata’s favorite Scripture verse was from Micah 6:8: He has shown all you people what is good. And what does the Lord requires of you? “To Act Justly and to Love Tenderly and to Walk Humbly with Your God.” And she did walk humbly with God.

Sister Immaculata was born as the only child to her beloved God fearing and pious parents Mr. Amolorpavanathan and Mrs. Rita Amolorpavanathan. But she lost her mother when she was only a six-month old baby. God never abandoned this child but rather she was blessed with a caring and a loving step mother, under whom our sister Immaculata grew up in God’s love. At the age of seven, our beloved sister received her first Holy Communion. From that day until her death, it was very visible, the moment she receives the Holy Communion in her hand, her eyes would light up and she would just love to ‘be’ in the intimacy with the Lord. Every day she would receive the Holy Communion in an atmosphere of rapt attention and utter reverence to Jesus in the Host.

Her early education with the FMM Sisters developed in her a taste for religious life and as a response to the unfailing love of Jesus, she entered the family of the Sisters of the Cross, Amravati, in June 1953. She then entered the novitiate in January 1954, and made her First profession in January 1956 and the Final Profession in 1959 at Trichy.

As we look back at the life History of our beloved sister, we would like to tell everyone that she was a vibrant and an enthusiastic young religious in her early years. After equipping herself as a trained teacher, she served the Congregation at various capacities as a Teacher, as an Assistant Head Mistress, Head Mistress, Pastoral minister and a prayer warrior in various places like Vadugerpet, Karungal, Fort, Puthur Provincialate, Vellore, Vepoor, Butterworth, Golden Rock, Cantonment and finally at Ashirvad from 1963 to 2021. The experience of knowing Sister Immaculata and of journeying with her life, touched our hearts deeply. I must record here that, living with her and experiencing her as a person and her character in our community is probably one of the best formative years of experience for each of us. These years of living with her has taught us the meaning of sisterhood, and has illustrated to us in full color, what it means to give one’s life, until death, surrendering totally to the Mission of God.

We all know that sister Immaculata lived an austere life, fully dedicated to God. Her deepest love for the Sacred Heart and Mary Immaculate was unquenchable. She was a very smart and a generous woman who loved her Congregation very much and tried her level best to show the world what it means to taste the mercy of God. She continued her ardent search to find meaning and purpose in her religious life. She would spend long hours before the Blessed Sacrament praying for the Church, for the World and for our Congregation. She was very much particular in praying for the Priests and for their commitment in their Consecration to God. Besides participating in the daily morning Eucharistic Celebration, Sister Immaculata was ever eager and willing to participate in another Holy Eucharist whenever there was an opportunity. Many of her students who still remember and love her, would come from abroad and far way places, only to visit her and to get her blessings. Her love for the Church was very visible and she would never miss reading any news about the Church and would ever be willing to read all the encyclicals of the Pope and the pastoral letters of the Bishops. She was also a multitalented woman and was blessed with a great artistic sense.

In short, we can say that Rev. Sr. Immaculata lived her Religious life to the full. This contentment is very much seen in her diary, where she has written as follows: “I loved and lived my religious life with the deepest joy and contentment and lived it to the full purely by God’s grace”. This shows how Sr. Immaculata had lived her commitment and we are sure that the she would be happy to enter the Joy of the Master in heaven, hearing the words of Jesus: Welcome home, good and faithful servant. Due to the advancement of age, though she had few complications with regard to her health, a very good medical care was given to her and the health condition of our sister was always kept under control.

None of us imagined that her final call will come so suddenly. On 5th June, her condition suddenly deteriorated and she left us all suddenly and went to receive her eternal reward on 6th June at 8.45p.m. The loss of our dear sister is painful and inconsolable to all of us who are close to her. As we all pray for the repose of her soul, we can be rest assured that she will continue to inspire us and intercede for us in the holy presence of God.

The Sisters of the Cross are ever grateful to the Family of Sister Immaculata for the gift of her to the Congregation. Let’s all pay homage to this Godly woman as we take this lesson from her life, to ‘Grow in the personal attachment with Christ who has called us to this religious life’.

Adieu to you our beloved Rev. Sr. Immaculata. God Has crowned you with the crown of Eternal Joy for the life you have lived. You are always loved and never forgotten!!!! Rest in Peace Dear Sr. Immaculata.

Sisters of Ashirvad,

A tribute of gratitude to our beloved Sr. Jyothi Selvaraj (1959 – 2021)

“How precious to me are your thoughts. O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.” Ps 139: 17-18.

May 17th 2021 is an unforgettable day in the annals of the Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod , Province of Trichy, as our beloved Sr. Jyothi Selvaraj, the Province animator has entered her heavenly abode to join the multitude of saints singing forever the glory of God. Her life on earth was a joyful witness to the Paschal Mystery and she enjoyed praying daily her favourite Ps: 139 and made her life, a life of gratitude and surrender. We profoundly thank God for such a wonderful life of dear Sr. Jyothi Selvaraj.

Sr. Jyothi Selvaraj was born in Kandy – Sri Lanka on 15th March 1959 to Mr. Selvaraj and Mrs. Jayamary who were pious, simple and humble. She was the third of five siblings of four sisters and one brother. As her beloved family members are with us participating in this virtual meeting, we offer our heartfelt condolences to them and thank them for gifting the Congregation with Sr. Jyothi Selvaraj. She did her schooling in a well esteemed Good Shepherd Convent School, Kandy, Sri Lanka. In 1974 her family came to India and completed her Std. Xth and XIth in Zamindar’s Hr. Sec. School, Thuraiyur. After her schooling in 1976 she did her typing and shorthand in Mambalasalai. It is here that the Lord called her through the instrumentality of Sr. Genevieve Mani who often used to tell her, “You have a vocation, think and pray over it”. After one year of study, she joined the Aspirancy at Mambalasalai in 1977. After her Aspirancy she was sent to do her Teacher’s training at Palani and joined the Novitiate in the year 1981. She made her first and final commitment in1983 and 1989 respectively.

After her first profession she began her teaching ministry. From 1983 to 1984 she taught in St. Ann’s School, Hyderabad, from 1984 to 1989 in R. C. Middle School, Namakkal, from 1989 to 1991 St. James Middle School, Kovandakurichy, from 1991 – 1992 teaching in R. C. Middle School, Fatimapuram and Community Animator, from 1992 – 1994 she taught in R. C. Middle School, Kallakudi. From 1994 to 2001 she was the Novice Mistress at Holy Cross Novitiate, Trichy. After her term of office as Novice mistress, from 2001 to 2003 she was the Community Animator cum teacher in Kovandakurichy. From 2003 to 2006 she was teaching as well as animating the community at Fatimapuram. From 2006 to 2010 she animated the community at Sathuvachari Vellore and again from 2010 – 2011 in Namakkal and from 2011 – 2015 in Trichy Novitiate she served as the Community Animator. From 2015 to 2016 she was sent to Peradeniya – Sri Lanka, to help the province as Novice Mistress. From 2017 to till her death she served the province of Trichy as the Province Animator.

Sr. Jyothi Selvaraj was a person of God. As a teacher she loved to teach the little ones. She treated all of them with respect and love. She was spreading the sweet fragrance of God’s love among them. As a community animator in various places especially in village communities she loved the people like her own family members, she took part in their joys and sorrows and strengthened their Faith. They fondly remember her for her affection and compassion. People from all walks of life felt at home in her presence. The poor had a special place in her heart. She enjoyed her community life where ever she was. She had great admiration for the sacrificial lives of the pioneers of all the communities and Institutions of our Province. As a Novice mistress she found joy in accompanying, directing and forming the Novices. As an animator in the Novitiate community, she was very optimistic and always radiated positive energy, inspiring the Novices, preaching more by her very life than by her words.

In all the responsibilities given to her, she walked in the footsteps of her Lord and master Jesus Christ and Mother Claudine. She excelled in unconditional forgiveness. She was patience personified. The amazing thing that we absolutely admired in her was that she had great capacity to listen intently. Her confidentiality is very remarkable, we can confide in her anything and be sure that she will never ever betray us at any time to anyone. She was a kind hearted person, kindness in her thoughts, words and actions. She was so kind that even those who hurt her were given a word of appreciation, and a broad smile. We believe that this was the way Sr. Jyothi Selvaraj represented God through her life. ‘Be happy and make others happy’ was her motto that kept her joyful all the time. Sr. Jyothi selvaraj won over us with her goodness.

One of the greatest blessings in life is having a caring sister to love and stand by us all the time. During her four years of service as the Province Animator, Sr. Jyothi Selvaraj was a loving sister to all of us who stood by us, especially at the time of our difficulties. Sr. Jyothi Selvaraj was truly a spiritual mother, to whom we could pour out our hearts in anger or in love. But as a mother she only knew to respond to us in love saying “God Bless you”. As Provincial Superior she was a good shepherdess with tender love and compassion especially for the sick and elderly sisters of the Province. Her trust in the Lord was so deep that she was calm and serene even at the face of conflicting situations. Her life was a redemptive suffering that she neither grumbled, nor blamed but only passionately loved the sisters. When the mission in Holy Land was proposed to be under the care of the Province of Trichy, Sr. Jyothy Selvaraj readily accepted and worked whole heartedly for its growth. Despite her physical ailments she gave her very best till the end. Though it is painful to miss her physical presence we are happy that she will continue to live in our memories as she has left us a legacy of how to be spiritual mothers bearing fruits of the Holy Spirit.

In 1998 she was confirmed of cancer and underwent right Mastectomy. She has written in her dairy that at the time of her sickness she loved to sit at the foot of the Cross, for the Cross gave her power and strength. She also has written that she experienced Jesus carrying her during those moments of pain and sufferings. On 26th April 2021 after completing the work of the Province, she went to CMC, Hospital, Vellore for her checkup. During this time she was again confirmed of cancer being spread. On the 4th May 2021 she was found positive of COVID – 19 and was admitted in GVN Hospital, Mambalasalai. The doctors did their best to save her life. But God in His unconditional love took her to himself on 17th May 2021 at 5.15 a.m. Saying, ”well-done dear daughter, I am well pleased with you”

Dear Sr. Jyothi Selvaraj as we lived with you we understood that in the grounding of our lives, in silence, we experience the wisdom and the transformative Goodness that exists in us and around us. We thank you for your humble, simple, unassuming and beautiful life that will always be an inspiration for us. With much love we pray that you enjoy the eternal Bliss of the Divine. As you have returned to your Eternal Home, please do intercede with God for the Province which you loved much. With heavy heart we bid you farewell dear sister Sr. Jyothi Selvaraj until we meet again.

Sr. Saveri Savarimuthu,
Sisters of the Province of Trichy,

A Fond Adieu to our beloved Sr. Rose Mary Xavier

“I press on towards the goal for the price of the Heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14)

We are deeply saddened with the unexpected, untimely departure of our beloved Sr. Rose Mary Xavier who entered into the eternal abode on 19th May at 9.45 p.m.

The Lord found delight in baptizing our dear Sr. Rose Mary as His beloved daughter and placed on her the indelible mark of His ownership. She was born on 19th March 1966 at Poovai Ma Nagar, to Mr. Xavier Jeganathan and Mrs. Susaiammal. From her diary we read about her Parents as “My parents were Teachers. They were very prayerful, God fearing, committed, responsible, sincere and hardworking.” They were blessed with 4 children. Sister had one elder Sister, one elder brother and one younger Sister. This younger Sister Payrinbam is the member of our Congregation.

Although from the beginning Sister had many hurdles to join the Religious life, she was blessed with the strong desire and inner strength steering through, every stage of her life with unflinching faith. From all eternity, God had a plan for her to be a Sister of the Cross, so she joined the band of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Cross.

She made her First Profession on 28th May 1991 and final Profession on 25th May 1997 in the family of the Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod. She has spent 30 years of humble, dedicated service in the vineyard of the Lord. She served the Congregation in different capacities. Her first appointment was as Office-in- Charge at St. Joseph’s Anglo-Indian Girls Hr. Sec. School, Cantonment. She was good and accurate in accounts so she was placed in charge of office for many years. She had been Sister-In-Charge at Vepoor and Oddanchatram. She served as the Province Bursar for 6 years (from 2005 – 2011). She equipped herself and completed her M.A., B.Ed. (English). Few years she worked as a Teacher. Since it was a great need she was appointed as Office Manager at Holy Cross Matric. Hr. Sec. School, Vellore from 2018 to till date. She worked very diligently and kept the accounts up-to-date.

She did her one year Theological Course at Dindivanam, Tamil Nadu. This gave her an impetus to study the Bible very deeply and motivated others to do the same. Her thirst for Evangelization is admirable. In the school she motivated the Teaching and Non-teaching staff to read the Bible and to participate in the competitions in different Magazines. She always carried the Bible to the Church. She was an inspiration for many others to follow this practice. She was a person of convictions and principles. She understood the dignity of labour. She was close to the poor and needy. Whatever work was given to her, she performed it with diligence and love.

On 3rd March Sister had a fall and hurt her Right ankle. This made her confined to her room. Suddenly she had fever for 3 days and had no appetite. She was taking only liquid food. Since she was not used to Allopathic medicine, she treated herself with herbal medicines. Since she felt weak and helpless she was ready to go for 2 units of I.V but it was not possible due to Lock down. On 19th she felt very weak and helpless difficult to breathe, we took her to the hospital. Since all the hospitals were full, before we could reach a particular hospital she became serious. Doctors tried their best and it was too late. In the company of four of her community members she breathed her last in the hospital at 9.45 p.m. leaving us all in great shock.

Dear Sr. Rose Mary, you have left behind the legacy by inspiring us to give our best in fulfilling the entrusted mission. We fondly remember your valuable contribution to the Congregation, Society, and the Church especially to the poor and needy. We love you and thank you for your exemplary life and ask the Lord to grant you eternal peace. We are assured that we have a powerful intercessor in you before our Almighty God.

We pray that the splendour of the radiance of Jesus forever shine on you on the radiant morn of eternity! Good bye dear Sr. Rose Mary till we meet in our Father’s Home.

Your loving Sisters of Vellore Community.

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.


A loving tribute to our beloved Sr.Pacifica Damian Vitangee

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race,  I have kept the faith,  From now on I will be with the Lord the  righteous judge who has reserved for me the crown of righteousness.” 2 Tim 4: 7-8                                                                       Yes dear friends, the retrospection into the annals of Sr.Pacifica’s life leave us spell bound to see the wonderful plan of God in her life and how He carried her on Eagle’s wing in valleys of darkness and pinnacles of brightness.

Sr.Pacifica Damian was born in Srilanka in the year 1929 as the 2nd child to a pious Buddhist parents,  Mr.Damian and Mrs.Elizabeth Alice. Her maiden name was Lora. She did her schooling, in Buddhist school, up to 5th std and at the age of 8 she was baptized by a German priest Rev.Fr.Venastin S.J.. She was christened as Roselyn. From then on, she cultivated a great love for the Eucharistic Lord. “The thoughts one nurtures, the values one imbibes and the conscience one forms during the younger days becomes a guiding force in later years. It was very much true in the life of our beloved Sr.Pacifica.  Being educated and brought up by the Holy Angels sisters in Sri Lanka, their way of life inspired her to be a religious. Seeing the Cross in her dream she got attracted and convinced to be a sister of the Cross and this has strengthened God’s persistent call to her. Of course she went through many hurdles in her childhood. But she kept telling us that God had done marvelous things for her always. She wanted to be a missionary. So God carried her to India and she entered Holy Cross Novitiate in the year 1952 at Amaravati and made her first profession in 1954 and the final profession in 1957.

Sr.Pacifica had much to preach – message to communicate, not in words but through what she lived over sixty five years in this religious life. In her mission, which was always within the four walls – it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that she joyously related more to pans and spoons, fruits and vegetables, cakes and bakes than anyone else could have done. In January 1954, she began her ministry in Trichy Novitiate community and was in charge of the catering department. All the novices whom she cared for, and looked after with good delicious food, still speak volumes about her great love. Indeed all of them still remember her with love.

She began a lengthy period of service, within the religious community starting from Novtiate, Perambur, Provincialate and now at present with us in cantonment community. There were moments of challenge which radiated, the flame of love for the mission of Jesus. What is even more remarkable in her is, the love for little children. For twenty five years, she was in charge of the babies in the crèche at Perambur, once the Parish Priest found a forsaken baby and immediately brought the child and entrusted her to Sr.Pacifica saying that “She is another Mother Tresa who really cares for the forsaken children.” Though, years passed by, still the parents of these children are very grateful to her and have correspondence with her. Some of them are here with us today to bid farewell to her.

The routine task she performed never led her to boredom or frustration – for she always in tune with the signs of the time, always up to date on her mission. Though her occupation is mostly confined to convent, her contact with people is far and wide. Her friends and beneficiaries are scattered probably in all the continents. For the past few years falling and shedding blood has become a recurring event for her. However no pain and no stitches had kept her tied to her bed! With all those aches and pains she was always out of her bed – ready with a knife and a wooden plank to start her routine work.

We really wonder – where does she get all this strength and will power, that kept her body and mind going steadily. Yes! It’s the wonderful time she spent with the Lord during the dark hours of the morning and the late hours of the evening that enabled her to find newness and meaning even when everything remained unchanged. She always says that “religious life is not free from pain and strains yet God is always there to make us understand that nothing could separate us from His surpassing love.”

Sr.pacifica always inspired the community through her unassuming nature, Simplicity, patient endurance, compassionate heart and deep attachment to the Eucharistic Lord. Her thirst for Holy Mass is highly inspirational to all those lived with her. whether it is dawn or dusk her only question is “when is the Mass?” We can proudly say that she was truly a missionary. True to the spirit of a missionary she lived a life of total  detachment from her kith and kin and led a hidden life like Mother Claudine Echernier living the spirit of congregation joyfully and effectively. She never complained about her great suffering, rather she always mentioned that she participated in the sufferings of Jesus.

In recent past her health condition was deteriorating , yet she was regular for Mass and other  spiritual activities. On Monday (1st July ) evening she had the blessing of receiving the last sacrament with full conscience surrounded by community sisters praying with her. After that her health condition was becoming bad and on 4th July around 8.05 a.m she breathed her last in the presence of the community sisters praying and glorifying God.

Dear Sr. pacifica at your departure to your heavenly abode, the Holy Cross family lost a good, innocent, holy, apostolic, committed, happy and contented religious and an exemplary sister. We admire in you, the respect and the reverence you had for the priests of God by holding them in your heart through prayer. In short we can proudly say that you lived your life always for others. Dear Sr.Pacifica, we thank you for your unique contribution in touching the lives of many.  As you join all the choirs of Angels, Saints and our Sisters who have preceded us in our Heavenly Father’s house, we are sure you will continue to intercede for us and remember us in your Heavenly Bliss.

We are sure, that today God blesses you, saying that “well done my good and faithful daughter inherit the kingdom prepared for you.”

 A  Fond Adieu to you dear Sr. Pacifica Damian

Sisters of Cantonment,

Province of Tiruchirappalli. 06.07.2019