Humble beginning and its growth:
In the year 1842, the Spirit of God blew over Cantaous. It was in the spontaneous outflow of a source: divine grace took possession of the heart of six young girls Marie DUPUY, Dominiquette BARRERE, Blandine BARRERE, Jeane DUFFO, Eulalie BARRERE, Marie BARRERE, and sowed in them the desire for a life consecrated to God. Inspired by the devotedness and life of sacrifice of these young girls, Jeanne- Marie BARRERE from ESCALA, a neighbouring parish joined them. On August 14th 1843, the eve of the Feast of Assumption of Our Lady, they were seven to begin their life together.
Great was their happiness when they found themselves together, in the place where it would be possible for them to make to GOD the sacrifice He had been asking of them for a long time. They lived of God, close to God and for God!
The Congregation is consecrated to the most HOLY TRINITY, Father, Son and the Spirit, under the protection of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Bishop Laurence of the Diocese of Tarbes gave the name “The Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of Tarbes”, in 1842 to the newly born Institute, so that the Sisters may imitate their glorious patron St Joseph in serving their neighbours with the same care, diligence, charity and cordiality. The Congregation carried a great power in the depth of its soul, the power of love.
In 1881 at the request of Fr Maury, the director of the Society of the Foreign Missions in Paris. Five Sisters were sent to India. They are Sr Ansleme, Sr Marie de l’Assomption, Sr Aurelien, Sr Gervasie and Sr Marie Flavie.
On April 13th, 1882 the pioneers to India left the Mother House. They arrived in Pondicherry on 11th May 1882 and in Bangalore on 13th May. On May 31st 1882, the five Sisters cheerfully set to work at the Bowring Hospital. Though the Sisters could alleviate the physical pain of the patients, they were powerless to comfort the patients in their spiritual distress, due to their language handicap. None of them knew English, leave alone any local languages. The language they all knew was the language of love which they communicated through example and devotedness.
Mother Marie Flavie, Regional Superior of Bangalore, accompanied Sr Margaret Mary Kelly, to Coonoor on 9th of February 1900. Srs Anna Marie, Marie Nemesie and Mary Dolorous reached on the 15th of the same month. Mother Anna Marie was the first Superior. They occupied the ‘Dublin Castle’ a house that Sir Lawrence O’Reilly had offered for the Mission. The Sisters used to this house for the Convent as well as the School.
In 1949 “The Nilgiris St Joseph’s Sister’s Society” a Registered Societies (Non-Government) at COONOOR, TAMIL NADU with NGO unique registration ID ‘TN/2017/0174165’. The NGO registration is done by Registrar of Societies with registration number SL.NO. 3 OF 1949 on the date of 19-01-1949.
And the first Governing Body members were:
- Mother Angela Marie Frechou – Mother Provincial, Bangalore.
- Sister Marie Therese Bastien – Mother Superior, Coonoor.
- Sister Teresa of the Trinity Bessagnet
- Sister Mechtilde D’Souza
- Sister Mary Anselm D. Ambuja
The Society was established to provide and administer Schools, Hostels, Convents, Orphanages, Nurseries, Institutes, Hospitals, Dispensaries, Social Work Centres, Counselling and Rehabilitation Centres, Home for the aged and Charitable Institutions.
The present Governing Body Members for the year 2021-2022 are:
|01.||President||Sr Jeyarani, St Joseph’s Convent Stuti Ramya, Mysore.|
|02.||Vice President||Sr Sheela V J, Providence College Coonoor.|
|03.||Secretary||Sr Arockia Selva Rani, St Joseph’s Convent Coonoor.|
|04.||Treasurer||Sr Janet Lobo, St Joseph’s Convent Coonoor.|
|05.||Member||Sr Selvi A, Providence College Coonoor.|