Allahabad is the land of Holy Sangam where religion, history and culture come together.
Bethany Convent, Naini, in Allahabad, is located close to this beautiful place on
one side and central jail on the other. One can imagine how isolated a place Naini
was in the 1960’s. The people of Naini, had requested Rt. Rev. Raymond D’Mello,
the Bishop of Allahabad Diocese, to open an English medium school in Naini. Foreseeing
the scope for future development, the Bishop requested Mother Macrina, the Superior
General and President of the Bethany Educational Society, Mangalore, to help him
out. In response to this dire need, Mother Macrina sent five Sisters - Sr. Rosine,
Sr. Noeline, Sr. Maria Rose, Sr. Geraldine and Sr. Eunice to Allahabad on 29th June
1965. The sisters arrived to this historical and religious city on June 29th, 1965.
These sisters were guests at the Bishop’s House before they were escorted to their
residence at Naini on 2nd July 1965.
Bishop Raymond D’mello took great interest in the well being of the sisters. The
surrounding area was a vast stretch of land that gave a deserted look, as there
was no human habitation in the vicinity. On one side the sisters could see the frightening
high walls of the Central Jail, and on the other, the privately owned agricultural
land. Some of the villages in the neighbourhood were infamous for their criminal
activities. In addition to this, it took hours sometimes for one to cross the mighty
Yamuna Bridge that separated the little town from Allahabad city. One could dare
to live in such area only with the divine help. In their lonely moments and trying
times, it was Bishop D’Mello, who offered them the help, support, encouragement
and direction they needed. He visited them often despite his ill health to bless,
encourage, guide and advise them. Bethany will always remain indebted to him for
his initiative, love, care and concern as a true pastor.
There was another saintly Priest, Fr. Paul Menezes, Who with his indefatigable zeal
and selfless spirit of service helped the sisters by looking after the construction
of the school building. It was not an easy task for an ageing man to endure the
sizzling heat of summer, and the biting cold of winter. But nothing could deter
or dampen the undying spirit of this great missionary of Christ. In the evening
hours after a tiring day, he would visit the people in the neighbourhood and his
flock as a pastor of the parish.
Mother Sylvine, the Superior General, laid the foundation stone for the new convent
building on 2nd February 1984, at 6.00pm after the Holy Eucharist. A small plot
of land adjacent to the Church land was given by Bishop Mudartha in exchange for
a small plot of land owned by the Sisters on the campus.
On 11th February 1985, the feast of our Lady of Lourdes, Mother Sylvine, the Superior
General, inaugurated the new convent building. She was accompanied by Mother Macrina.
Bishop Mudartha blessed the building. Sr. Canice, the Regional Superior, and Mr.
D. Kaushik, the builder, were also present. The strenuous labour put in by Sr. Marie
Therese, the local Superior and Principal, needs to be deeply appreciated.
Bethany is indebted to the benevolent Bishop Raymond D’Mello and the Diocese of
Allahabad for the loan of Rs.1,00,000/-(one lakh only) from the Diocese and again
a sum of 50,000/- without interest to be refunded in installments.
The Bethany Sisters at Naini will always remember with gratitude the kind and generous
service of many Priests of the Diocese, their hospitality, co-operation, good will
and spiritual help. Sisters still remember Rev. Fr. (Late) Eric Pinto, who provided
the Sisters with warm clothes sent by him from abroad in the early years when the
sisters felt a financial crunch.
It was in 1983 that the Bishop of Allahabad Most Rev. Baptist Mudharta who expressed
the desire to have canossian sisters working in one of the mission stations in western
U.P. The church had started a school for the benefit of the people of Anpara. He
knew that the presence of religious sisters would improve the quality of education
there. He offered the challenge to the Canossian sisters. This was the period when
the Canossian sisters in India had divided into one province and two delegations,
south and north. The first delegate to the north M. Olive Rodrigues informed the
provincial M.Ita Fernandes about the offer. In one of her visits to the north delegation
Bishop Baptist Mudharta took M.Ita Fernandes and M.Olive Rodrigues to the proposed
place Anpara. It was a Godsend golden chance to further the mission work of the
canossian sisters in the north which otherwise was limited to just five communities
Anpara was a small underdeveloped land of the tribal in western U.P. in Sonbhadra
district. As the name suggests Sonbhadra is the gift of the river son, the largest
district in U.P. It lies in the extreme southeast of the state. Its terrain is richly
blessed by the Son river as it flows through the heart of the district from east
to west, Robertsganj being the district head quarters. The region has several thermal
power generating companies (U.P.S.E.B).
Anpara is a small township and mainly significant due to the presence of UPVUNL
(Utter Pradesh Vidyud Udpadan Nigam Ltd.) This factory has vast residential complex
with its own shopping centers, stadium, parks and school .The management of this
factory entrusted the educational responsibility to the Bishop of Allahabad. This
came as a boon for the presence of the church in this place. Bishop Mudharta immediately
took up the opportunity. An agreement was signed between the diocese of Allahabad
Educational society and the factory management on 19th August 1981. In response
Rev. Fr. Philip Scaria and Bro Innocent were sent to Anpara to start the spade work.
On 1st Sept 1981 a coeducational English Medium School was started with 20 students
from classes L.K.G to std 1 in a temporary structure at Kashimore. The school was
shifted to the present building in1983. In Dec 1983 Fr. Philip Scaria was called
to his eternal abode unfortunately by an accident. In 1984 Fr. Mark D’Souza took
up the reigns. As the strength of the school was galloping up Bishop Baptist Mudharta
invited the Canossian Daughters of Charity to the core team with the priest in charge.
St. Anthony’s Convent Allahabad the mother house of the North Delegation prepared
the initial necessities and sent forth its two daughters along, in a truck as the
journey takes about six hours drive from Allahabad. This auspicious day was 25th
June 1984, to be precise 4.30.p.m. The chosen ones were Sr. Elsie Pallipat and Sr.
Mary Mundaplakal and Miss Carmalla, a companion to them. The priest in charge Fr.
Mark D’Souza and M. Olive Rodrigues the provincial delegate accompanied them. After
brief stops at Robertsganj and Renukoot they reached Anpara at 8 a.m. on 26th June,
1984. They found the house with wide open doors and several people with happy smiles
of welcome on their faces to receive them.
29th June 1984, on the feast of Sacred Heart of Jesus was the day of formal inauguration
of the house. The Bishop Most Rev. Baptist Mudharta, five other priests from Allahabad
and Fr. Mark D’Souza solemnized the Eucharist and blessed the house in the presence
of many officials of the factory, sisters and priests from neighboring mission stations
and our sisters from Allahabad.
The sisters engage themselves in the school and collaborate with the principal in
the day today activities. Besides they visit families, give free tuition to poor
Catholic children in the afternoon hours, teach catechism in the parish, prepare
children for sacraments and so on.
On the 8th of April 1985 the community got the decree of approval from the Generelate.
The canonical erection of the house at Anpara was signed by Mother General Elide
Testa and General Secretary M. Ilva Fornaro. Anpara at that time was in Mirzapur
The 19th of April 2009 was a golden day in the life of Canossa Convent, Anpara.
Our hearts exalt with praise and gratitude for the countless blessings bestowed
upon us during the past 25 years. 35 sisters had been sent for the community over
the period to spread the good news and support the parish and school. Rev Fr. Jacob
Bona D’Souza took keen interest in making the event a memorable one. Sr. Elizabeth
Thottumari, the provincial superior and 14 other Canossian sisters were present
for the celebration.
Presently (2011) we are four members Sr. Maria Rose, Sr. Sandra Misquitta, Sr. Reema
Lakra and Sr. Veronica Dabreo carrying out the same mission which our pioneer sisters
had started in collaboration with the priest in charge Rev Fr. Jacob Bona D’Souza,
who is very vibrant and enthusiastic to make Jesus known and loved.
The Canossian Sisters came to Kanpur on the 1st of July 1989. The convent was started
as the 14th house of Canossian sisters, under the vice province, Queen of Peace
North India. Sr. Ita Fernandez was the provincial superior at that time. The convent
was under St. Thomas Church, Kidwainagar. Rev. Fr. Benedict Pereira was the parish
priest. Initially the sisters stayed in a rented house in K-Block which belonged
to Mr. Tiwari. At the beginning there were four sisters. Sr. Nellie Dantas was the
superior. They were teaching in St. Thomas School, Kidwainagar.
A new convent was constructed after a year. The sisters shifted to the new place
on the 30th of July. It was blessed by Rev. Dr. Isidore Fernandes, Bishop of Allahabad
Diocese, on the 1st of September 1990. The first floor of the convent was constructed
during the year 1999.
At present there are four sisters. Three sisters are teaching in St. Thomas School.
One sister is engaged in pastoral and social work.
“Those only love truly who are wholly God’s and such only are strong and apt for
all good works as are in this world to be done.” (Mary Ward (1585-1645), Foundress
of the Congregation of Jesus)
Around 1890, Kanpur, situated near the Ganges, was not only a military station,
but an important railway centre and a fast growing commercial centre. The then Military
Chaplain of the station, seeing the need for a Catholic school which would have
ample scope for all good works, approached the then provincial superior, Mother
Angela Hoffman to found a House and school at Kanpur. For a long time the request
had to be shelved due to the scarcity of personnel and funds. However in December
1898 four sisters came to Kanpur as a community on mission, but as yet without a
house of their own. The Military Chaplain, generous to a hilt moved out of his house
to provide temporary accommodation in his own house and he lived in a tent until
the sisters could find a house of their own. In March 1899 a small and sparsely
furnished house was found and the sisters began their mission amid many difficulties.
In 1904 the sisters were permitted to buy the beautiful estate on which the present
school and convent stands. In 1899 the school began with 108 students on the Roll,
with 8 sisters, all from Germany teaching them. The school had a chequered history,
including great hardships experienced by the German sisters during the two world
wars. However, they, motivated by the dauntless spirit of Mary Ward who in similar
situations believed that “women in time to come will do great things,” worked hard
to lay a strong foundation of faith in their students besides imparting excellent
academic training. The Chronicles also record the endeavours of the sisters who
visited the nearby villages along the Ganges regularly, dispensing medicine and
bringing comfort and healing love of Jesus to the poor and needy.
In the early 1970s the students of St Mary’s English Medium School, motivated by
the LTS (Leadership Training Service) movement active in the school, started teaching
the poor children of the neighbouring villages after school hours, and then getting
them admitted to local Hindi medium schools. Later as part of the Province’s effort
to introduce Education for Transformation in a more organized manner, a school for
the poor was started in the premises, which has now taken its own identity as Mary
Ward Primary School (Hindi Medium). St Mary’s English Medium School sees to the
financial needs of the Mary Ward Hindi Medium School as part of the Allahabad Province’s
pledge to promote ‘faith that does justice.”
St Mary’s Kanpur stands for progress and excellence in academics, extracurricular
activities and above all in character building assisted by a dedicated team of sisters
and lay staff. (Our school website ID is: www.smccjkanpur.org)
St Mary’s has always taken special care of the Christian community. Poor Catholic
students are helped financially and remedial classes are conducted for them regularly.
Tailoring and computer classes are held for the poor girls of the locality empowering
them for financial independence. Our present ministry includes family visits, faith
formation, youth ministry and reaching out to the needy. We are involved in parish
activities by teaching catechism, preparing children for First Communion, Confirmation
and forming faith in the heart of the youth by various activities. We join in the
parish Choir on all occasions.
“God is the beginning, middle and end of all our good.” Mary Ward
This house is located in Sonebhadra Region and was established in 1985. The sisters
assist the Diocese in running the St. Joseph’s Senior Secondary School and also
collaborate with the parish priest in providing the pastoral care to the people.
The convent celebrated its Silver jubilee of its establishment in 2010.
Sada Sahay Mata Convent, popularly known as Khrist Bhavan, is inhabited by the Sisters
belonging to the Congregation of Samaritan Sisters. Seeing the pressing needs of
Mudila mission, late Bishop Baptist Mudartha invited the Samaritan Sisters to help
out in our educational and health apostolate. Then Superior General Rev. Sr. Immaculata
accepted the invitation to open the convent at Mudila. 16th July 1987 four Samaritan
Sisters with Sr. Clementina as superior landed in Mudila. First they stayed in the
old house which was then blessed by Bishop Mudartha. Fr. John Louis D’Souza was
the mission-incharge. After four years Bishop Isidore Fernandes built the new convent
and blessed it on 29th June 1992.
Ever since their arrival in Mudila, they have be actively involved in the educational,
health and social apostolate. Three sisters are set apart to teach in our school
from primary up to high school. One sister is appointed as the headmistress in the
primary and another for the junior and high school. They are dedicated service to
the education of the poor children, especially the girl child.
The mission runs a health centre. One nurse sister is set apart for the health ministry.
The people from nearby villages come to the centre for various sicknesses, especially
for snakebites and delivery cases.
There was a time when the Samaritan sisters were involved in the social apostolate
in the area. There was one sister and 9 animators who had taken up 30 villages for
animation programmes on health, education, legal aid and literacy. As a result there
were Self Help Groups in 24 villages. Women empowerment especially the women’s day
was celebrated in a grand way. Since we don’t have a sister for social apostolate,
and there are no projects, at present the work has been stopped.
Sisters also take active part in our church activities. They are actively involved
in the bible festival and other programmes. Their presence makes a lot of difference
in our mission. They have completed 25 years over here. There was a grand Silver
Jubilee celebration on 5th May 2012. Rt. Rev. Isidore Fernandes, provincial Sr.
Clementina, and many Fathers, sisters, brothers and faithful of the place were present
at the solemn occasion.
The Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus established a new convent at Naramau,
Kanpur, in the year 1996. The new convent was inaugurated by Most Rev. Isidore Fernandes,
the Bishop of Roman Catholic Diocese of Allahabad, on 27th June 1996. The inauguration
ceremony was attended by then Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Francis Pereira, priests and
religious and lay people from the town. The Bishop blessed the house and a new batch
of sisters started their community life. The first batch of sisters consisted of
Rev. Sr. Sheila Stuart, the Superior of the Convent, Rev. Sr. Benedict Valine, Rev.
Sr. Sheila Thomas and Rev. Sr. Lincy. The convent was named as Vinayalaya Convent.
From 1979, Secular Congregation of Maids of the poor sisters served the people at
Akbarpur. Due to a tragic accident in 2000, in which 2 sisters lost their lives,
maids of the poor congregation decided to close their community in Akbarpur. It
remained vacant for some months till the arrival of Dillingen Franciscan sisters
from Bilaspur. [Chhattisgarh]
At the invitation of the Bishop of Allahabad Most Rt. Rev. Isidore Fernandes, the
Province of the Mother of Good Counsel opened a new convent at Akbarpur in order
to serve the people of God through English medium school and parish ministry. Sisters
Jessy and Lilly accompanied by Sr. Sophia and Sr. Paulit arrived at Akbarpur on
April 18, 2001. The next day Rev. Fr. Michael, the acting Principal of the school,
blessed the new station and offered the Holy Eucharist for the new community.
Sr. Sanita was appointed the first local superior of the community in July 2001.
In the beginning Sr. Jessy and Sr. Lilly were the first community members along
with Sr. Sanita.
The majority of the people in Akbarpur are Hindus; there is a sizable member of
Muslims, only a few Christians are there. There is a small Church and a small Catholic
Sr. Sanita took a new venture in 2002 and started stitching, knitting, painting
and embroidery classes for girls and ladies in the existing stitching hall. Maids
of the poor were conducting these classes before the Franciscans ventured into.
This tailoring center continued till 15th June 2007. After the transfer of Sr. Sanita
on 16th June 2007, the tailoring cenre had been closed. Sr. Magy, the successor
of Sr. Sanita, had taken the charge as local superior from 4th July 2007 to 6th
June 2009 . Sr. Lima as local superior was appointed in Akbarpur on 5th June 2009.
At present there are four members Sr. Lima osf, Sr. Magy osf, Sr. Gyani osf & Sr.
Pushpa osf. All the four sisters are greatly involved in the teaching ministry of
St. Peter’s School and St. Peter’s Church activities.
Mirzapur city is situated adjacent to Delhi- Howrah railway route known as the Grand
Cord. This route is considered among the oldest one in India and was constructed
by the Britishers.
The mission station Fatima Ashram is situated about 1k.m. away from Mirzapur Railway
Station. Majority of the people of Mirzapur are Hindus, besides Muslims and Sikhs.
The people are engaged in the railway work, carpet industries, business and agriculture.
Rt. Rev. Bishop Mudartha, metropolitan of Allahabad at that time, had invited the
Ursulines in August 1988 to open a convent at Mirzapur with the view of teaching
in the school and helping in the evangelical and catechetical works. The invitation
was renewed by his successor Bishop Rt. Rev. Isidore Fernandes. Consequently Srs.
Josline D’souza, Maria Magdaline Mascarenhas and Postulant Anitha D’souza led by
Sr. Cymprose D’Almeida as Superior reached Mirzapur on 8th June 1989. The convent
and the school were officially inaugurated a month later on July 8th.
Rev. Fr. Sebastian D’Cruz, Parish Priest and Principal of the school was the moving
spirit behind the venture.
The Bishop was happy to entrust to the Sisters the task and the responsibility of
sharing in the church’s mission in his diocese. The Sisters accepted this mission
happily and whole heartedly. As the diocese of Allahabad is a missionary one, the
Sisters are expected to adapt to the local conditions. The apostolic activities
entrusted to the Sisters encompass the catechetical, liturgical, social and education.
The main apostolate of the Sisters is teaching and parish work.
St. Mary’s School has become a house hold name in Mirzapur District, due to the
family atmosphere found within it which is very essential for integral education.
The school is an alloy of determination and hard work put together by great efforts
of the principal and the staff. Four Sisters are involved in teaching. They motivate
the students to work with devotion and dedication.
According to the needs of the time and place the Sisters take interest to cater
to the Pastoral needs of the Parish. There are about 31 catholic families in this
Parish. By the encouragement and the support of the Parish Priest, the Sisters take
keen interest in building up of the Faith of the people, by conducting various spiritual
activities in the Parish. The Sisters have never lost sight of the social aspect
of their apostolate. They not only visit the catholic families but also visit the
non-Catholics. The Sisters spend considerable amount of time with the people, listening
to them and understanding their problems. They give more attention to the slow learners
in the class as well as after the class. As a result the people feel happy and express
their gratitude for being with them especially in times of their difficulties and
sickness. Non-formal literacy classes for the children of the surrounding villages
were held every evening in the convent premises. Awareness on health and hygiene,
moral values and empowerment of girl child is given more importance.
Started as an informal school in 1970s converted in to a regular school in 1980s,
occupying a few class rooms along with English medium students of Mariampur senior
secondary school, it was well established as a Hindi medium primary school for the
poor children. It was in 1989 Dr. B. Das a Bangali doctor and his wife who had no
issue of their own, were inspired to donate two big buildings consisting of 10 flats
to the Ursuline sisters for the charity work and the Hindi medium primary school
was shifted to this building. Today it is a full–fledged high school recognized
by the U.P board, financed by the English medium school and nurtured by the Ursuline
sisters. At present we have a strength of 900 students of which 97% belong to SC/OBC
and economically least favored.
Along with the school, non-formal education classes for Rag pickers and beggars,
tailoring and embroidery classes for adolescent girls and capacity building training
program for women, immunization and medical camps are also conducted in the same
building as part of social work.
The building was donated by Dr. B. Das to run the school for the slum children in
Obra is in the district of Mirzapur, surrounded on all sides by huge rocky hills.
The chief industrial concern of this city is the Thermal Power Project which was
started in 1960.The population of Obra consists of chiefly Hindus and Muslims who
lived on cultivation of the land. As the project was being established, many officers
of high rank settled here with their families.
The first problem they faced was that of the education of the children, as there
were no schools existing then. The officers approached the Bishop of Allahabad,
Rt. Rev. Raymond D’mello who did not have the heart to turn down their request.
His Lordship extended this invitation to the ursulines to go and start a school
in Obra. Mother Stefania Murelli, the Delegate of the mission accepted his invitation
and on June 1st 1965. Srs.Angela, Bridget, Floriana, Graziella and Valentina reached
The welcome given to these pioneers by the people was expressions of mixed feelings.
Some were certainly happy and grateful to God that at last they had a place of common
worship and prayer and a school where they could send their children. But some were
surprised and even a little suspicious.
In the evening Fr.Moniz offered a High Mass for the sisters. The good people had
offered them a well furnished house for the convent and a few classrooms. Sr. Angela
was appointed the superior of this house.
On 12th June, being the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the sisters started
to take admissions for the school. The school already started functioning with 45
pupils and 3 sisters on the staff. Soon the name of the school spread and the number
of the children increased.
The officers were very kind, co-operative and willing to help the sisters in all
their needs. There was no church or priest’s house for a year and a half, during
which time, the priest stayed in the convent. But soon, Bishop D’Mello succeeded
in getting a small plot of land and constructed a church and a priest’s house.
The frequent visit from the good Bishop was a source of strength, hope and encouragement
at the start of the new mission. By the end of the third year, the community had
grown and the students numbered over 200. A few lay teachers were added to the staff.
During these years of pioneering, the sisters had to undergo many difficulties including
opposition from a certain section of people who were the advocates or followers
of the Arya Samaj. Once they put up a small temple in our convent plot and started
their Puja. But God has been always good to us. The officers brought the police
and got them out and pulled down the temple. By this time the convent and a school
building were constructed as a result of much hard work. The inauguration was on
May 1st 1968,by his Lordship Bishop R.D’Mello. Mother Stefania and the superiors
of our convents in the North were present on that occasion.
In July 1968, the sisters started the new scholastic year in their own school building.
At this time the school had to be upgraded but the cross of opposition still went
The Arya Samaj began a Hindi medium school and spread false propaganda against the
sisters, that they were converting pupils to Christianity. This news spread like
wild fire and some of the parents withdrew their children from our school. The strength
of the school fell below 100. The sisters had a tough time and they opened a Hindi
medium school but it soon proved to be a failure. Still the hand of the Lord never
deserted those who trusted in Him. After the storm and wind it was calm again. The
school once more began to flourish steadily. In 1971, Sr. Angela was transferred
and Sr. Esther took charge of the convent and the school. There were still difficulties
to face. Now and then there was strike in the power house which affected the school
badly. But the Christians were always faithful and generous.
In 1974 Sr. Esther was transferred and Sr. Claudia was appointed superior. She did
much to improve the school and the building was extended with more classrooms for
the new divisions opened that year. After a lot of hard work the school got affiliated
to the Central Board Of Secondary Education, Delhi upto class X. Sr. Claudia was
succeeded by Sr. Eleanora in 1978.The school and the convent contributed much to
the progress of the people of the locality and it continues to do so under the leadership
of Srs. Denis and Fabiola and the other sisters who joined hands and hearts to make
Christ’s presence felt by the people of Obra.Taking care of the parish church, the
teaching of catechism, visiting the families, especially of the students who read
in our school and those of Christians are some of the extra activities of the sisters.
These helped them to maintain good and friendly relationship with all.
The school and the Convent contributed much to the development of the people of
the locality, inspite of the oppositions the sisters had to face from the Arya Samaj
and other people. It continued to do so under the leadership of Srs. Cicily Mathew
as superior and Sr. Fabiola as Principal. In 1986, Sr. Raymond succeeded Sr. Fabiola
as Principal. In 1987, Sr. Jeanne Marie became Superior of the Convent and in 1988
Sr. Clare took charge of the school.
In 1989, the first floor of the school building was constructed and blessed by Rt.
Rev. Isidore Fernandes, Bishop of Allahabad on 19th August, 1989. In 1990 the Silver
Jubilee of the school was celebrated and Rt. Rev. Isidore Fernandes, Bishop of Allahabad
was the chief guest. There was a two days programme i.e. the first day, cultural
programmes staged by the students of the school, and on the second day there was
Eucharistic celebration and get together with all the invitees.
In 1991, Srs. Jeanne and Clare were transferred and Sr. Celestia came in their place
and took charge of the school and the convent. In 1993, Sr. Celestia was succeeded
by Srs. Rita John as superior and Josy as principal. In 1995, Sr.Rita John was succeeded
by Sr. Sunila and in 1997, Sr. Josy was succeeded by Sr. Yvette.
In 1998 a new building was constructed as Sisters’ residence and it was blessed
on 1st February, 1998 by Fr. Thomas Serrao, the Parish priest of Sacred Heart Church,
Obra. Sr. Sunila was succeeded by Sr. Anita in 1998 June. In the year 1998 August
we started remedial classes for the weaker children of the school.
Taking care of the parish work, teaching of catechism, visiting the families especially
of the teachers and the students of our school and those of Christians are some
of our activities still continued by the sisters.
A couple of years back socio-pastoral apostolate was introduced in Obra mission
by Fr. Thomas Serrao, the Parish priest. In 1997, Sr. Prasanna started to work along
with Fr. Thomas in the social action unit. They worked in about ten villages with
the help of a group of animators, conducting literacy classes, village primary school
and other assistantial works. Sr. Prasanna worked with women and teachers and conducted
activities like crafts, needle work and tailoring.
Over the years from 1998-2010 Srs Anita, Rita & Hazel have held the post of Superior
cum Manager, and the school was headed by Srs. Yvette, Nirupa, Prabha and Jeanne.
These sisters have left an indelible mark on the institution by their efficient
and dedicated service, making it one of quality in all areas. In 2010 June Sr. Sunila
became the Superior and Manager and Sr. Kiran took up the charge as Principal of
On 17th February 1999 a grand celebration took place here in lieu of the completion
of 350 years of the foundation of our Congregation. Enactment of the humble beginning
of our institute in the school by the students, a Solemn High Mass in the parish
with the Parishioners officiated by the Parish Priest Fr. Thomas Serrao and distribution
of ladoos were the main events of the celebration.
In July 1999 Rev. Fr. Thomas Serrao, who did much for the spread of God’s kingdom
in Obra and in the neighboring villages, was transferred and Rev. Fr. Vincent Cornelius
came as the new Parish Priest. Christmas 1999 was special as there was a candle
light service in our Parish on 23rd December for the entire Christian Community
of Obra. Pastors and faithful of all denominations participated. The service began
at the Power House Hospital gate and the procession reached the Sacred Heart Church.
Priests and pastors shared the Word of God and blessed the people. Non- Christians
witnessed this wonderful procession with interest and enthusiasm.
In February 2004 we celebrated the Golden jubilee of the Ursuline presence in North
India. The teachers expressed appreciation and gratitude for the service rendered
by the Ursulines in North India and especially in Obra, and they honoured the Sisters
with garlands & gifts. There was a con-celebrated High Mass and a prayer meeting
in connection with the Jubilee.
A few class rooms and a small hall were added to the existing school building, under
the guidance of Sr. Prabha. The blessing took place in March 2006.
The sad news of the demise of our beloved Bishop Mudhartha on 30/05/2007 saddened
us all. Some of us attended the funeral. Bishop Mudhartha’s love for the Ursulines
and his fatherly care for each one of us sisters are remembered with fond memories.
In July 2007 our Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Vincent Cornelius was transferred to Asnabandh
and we got a new Pastor in the person of Fr. Alfred George. A hearty Welcome was
accorded to him by the Parishioners and Sisters.
Though the people at Obra are rich enough to pay the fees, they are not quite generous
in giving it graciously. We are often pressurized by politicians, RSS, BJP Youth
Wing, Income Tax Officers, PF Officers, RTI demands and in all such difficulties
we find solution in prayer. Providence of God novena and Mercy Rosary are our weapons.
Year 2010 gave us an opportunity to pay rich Tribute to our Foundress Blessed Brigida
Morello as it was her 400th Birth anniversary year. The UMI sisters of Sonebhadra
Zone gathered together at Obra for a day’s celebration – Study, prayer and rejoicing.
A well arranged High Mass, a sumptuous lunch and a Quiz competition for sisters
based on Mother Brigida’s life and our Constitution were the main events. Blessed
Brigida’s life was depicted on stage in school by students.
We sisters make use of every opportunity to have prayer meetings in families of
non- Christians where they have problems or sickness. Some request us to go and
pray in their homes. Our knowledge of Hindi comes handy at such occasions. The time,
energy and talents of the sisters are put to use at the service of the Church by
way of teaching Catechism, preparation for Bible festival at Parish, Zonal and Diocesan
level, Orientation Programmes for youth, Parish Choir, conducting prayer meeting
& rosaries in Catholic families etc.
Under the able guidance of Srs. Sunila and Kiran and helped by Srs. Mercy, Rose
Charles and Sheena the school is maintained as not only the best school in Obra,
but an ideal one at that in terms standard, discipline, morals and values. Orientation
programmes are conducted for the senior classes by sisters to defuse the depression
and purposelessness found in the students here. Christian students and other poor
students who need help are given tuitions in the school by the sisters in the evenings.
We make use of all opportunities to spread the Kingdom of God in School and around.
The teachers and students are made aware of Ursuline values and our Charism.
The mission Iteration of our Holy Father for the month of April 2011was, “That by
Proclamation of the Gospel and the witness of their lives, missionaries may bring
Christ to those who do not yet know Him.” We should have a longing and a passion
to illumine all people with the light of Christ that shines on the face of the Church,
so that all may be gathered into the one human family, under God’s loving fatherhood;
says the reflection on the same theme. We are missionaries. So, may the Lord Jesus
empower us to fulfill our duty as true missionaries.
Robertsganj was an obscure and sleepy village in the district of Mirzapur when the
Ursulines sisters began their mission here. In the 60’s a thermal power station
was built up in Obra and in association to that many big and small factories came
up in this region. As a result population in this region increased. Education and
health care became inevitable and the people approached the Bishop of Allahabad,
to open schools and health centers for them. Bishop in turn requested the Ursuline
sisters to open school in this region. Thus, St. Joseph’s Convent at Robertsganj
came into existence on 2nd October 1963. A quiet village with green fields and shady
trees with simple but hard working people, may have inspired the pioneers to name
this new house as St. Joseph’s Convent, as this saint seems to have lived a quiet
and humble life in a village.
First batch of sisters Stanisla, Gaetana, Veronica, headed by Sister Bianca, did
much to make this place attractive as they started with a primary school in a three
room building which was constructed under the wise supervision of father Paul Menezes
of Allahabd diocese. The presence of sisters and the school children brought in
older people too, to the convent premises for various needs and health care. Thus,
the Bishop earnestly decided the sisters to be in every way possible, a help to
the local people. A small dispensary was built and the patients were attended by
the sisters. The need of the people would be better fulfill if the sisters moved
out to the villages, to their homes, and this was made possible with the assistance
of CARITAS INDIA, which gave an ambulance to the dispensary. Thus, mobility to the
village with medical and healing ministry was introduced and continued since then.
To cater to the needs of the students from far of places and to help in the education
of girl children boarding facilities were provided to students from 1978 on words.
Of recent years the boarding was shut off due to some reasons. At present the community
has 8 members engaged in different ministries – education, social service and parish