HISTORY OF THE ESTABLISHMENT
CONGREGATION OF THE DAUGHTERS OF MARY
Congregation of the Daughters of Mary (DM) is a missionary congregation of Pontifical Right and founded onMay 8, 1938 by late Monsignor Joseph Kuzhinjalil, a priest of the Arch diocese of Changanassery, Kerala in the Syro- Malankara Catholic Church during the early days of the re-union movement at Marthandam, Kanyakumari District
The Congregation adopted The Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady Of Harvest as the Congregation’s mother and protectress, who responded to the call of God the Father with a spotless life and unconditional surrender. (Feast on May 15th ). Saint Francis of Assisi is the Congregation’s primary heavenly patron, who made Gospel the rule of his life; embraced poverty and lived an evangelical life. The Congregation has adopted the Franciscan Spirituality. (Feast on October 4 th ).
Every member of the Congregation is called to, “be pure and poor, contemplate, witness, and proclaim the Word Incarnate for the Kingdom of God”.
Our mission is to prepare the hearts of people to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour and to welcome non-catholic brethren into the full communion.
Our mission is lived and expressed in a diversity of apostolates among the marginalized poor especially to women and children through home visits; parish and faith formation; education, health care, and social welfare activities.
The vision of the Congregation is that the people of God are led to the Kingdom of God through ever greater unity and freedom, characteristic of the Children of God.
Apostolate / Contribution
Through the tiresome work of the founder father and sisters at Marthandom, the soil was made fertile even to the position of erecting Marthandom and Parasala as dioceses of the Malankara Catholic Church. Proclamation of the Word of God through various apostolates is our mission. Among the various forms and dimensions of our apostolic ministry, house visiting enjoys the prominent role. Regular visits to the families regardless of the caste and creed is an efficacious means to bring Christ’s presence to the people. Being the effective instruments in the hands of God, DM sisters involve in education ministry and healing ministry to fulfil the needs and aspirations of the people of different culture, custom and tradition.
The congregation runs orphanages, old age homes, palliative care centres, and homes for mentally and physically disabled persons and children,
Today the members of the DM congregation strive to preserve and follow the charism of the founders, and to fulfil the Divine mandate to preach the word to every person, door to door through House visiting until the glorious coming of the Saviour. DM sisters are committed to live the Gospel, maintaining a life of prayer and proclaim the word of God in all the ways.
Growth of the Congregation
The missionary congregation, named DAUGHTERS OF MARY was founded by Msgr. Joseph on May 8, 1938, at Marthandom, with the paternal blessings of the late Archbishop Mar Ivanios and the approval of Pope Pius XI.
Three zealous missionaries, two from Syro Malabar Catholic church and one from Malankara Catholic church came forward to accomplish his mission, and they were trained by the sisters of Imitation of Christ. (SIC) of the Malankara Catholic church. Mother Mary Kallarackal the co- foundress, Sr Agnes, and Sr Theresa were the founding members who initiated a dedicated life of sacrifice, prayer and evangelization among the people of South India, Kanyakumari District. They adopted the Franciscan Spirituality, practising virtues of poverty, purity, humility and simplicity. In 1939 the founders with the approval of Archbishop Mar Ivanios adopted the rules and statutes of the Franciscan Missionary order as the Daughters of Mary’s first constitution, after relevant modifications.
On 1968 July 15 the Congregation of Daughters of Mary was affiliated to the Franciscan Friar Capuchin congregation. Sisters worked tirelessly and followed a strict religious community life, to give witness to the presence, love and divine protection of God to their contemporary society, which was poor, helpless and illiterate. They established new communities in Chellamkonam in 1946, in Adoor and in Kirathoor in 1947, in Venniyoor in 1948 and in many more dioceses in Tamil Nadu and Kerala for the Evangelization and for literacy. In 1948 a new community and a health care institution were established in Anchal with the intention of Evangelization through the health ministry. Later on, it has grown into a big hospital in the area. The missionaries spread around the Kanyakumari and Trivandrum Districts.
In 1987 the Congregation expanded its mission to various states of India and opened the way to unwrap its mission abroad and restructured it into two provinces. On October 15, 1988, His Holiness Pope John Paul II raised the Daughters of Mary Congregation to the Pontifical Status. During the last eight decades of the long journey, so many spiritual, theological and canonical experts and well-wishers guided us to accomplish the task of improving the spiritual, theological and juridical life of the congregation.
INDIA AND ABROAD
This congregation has grown and extended itself widely to out of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Being impressed by the great opportunity offered for evangelization in North India, with the help of CST fathers, we extended our missionary service in North India too. The first mission in this region taken up was in Muktsar, Punjab in 1975.
In 1994 a new mission station was opened in Billawar at Jammu & Srinagar Diocese. In 2005 Punjab Region was raised to the status of Province and spread around the Jalandhar Diocese. In 1981 the Missionaries of the Daughters of Mary landed in Durgapur at Maharashtra and established its Mission stations in Chanda, Pune & Nagpur Dioceses.
In 2016 Amala Province of Maharashtra was raised into the status of Province. Many received Christian faith in these places. Missionaries constantly visited the houses in the villages establishing Christian communities as well as schools, technical institutes and health care clinics, so that it is able to exercise its activities in all the dioceses of the Syro Malankara Catholic Church, extraterritorial areas outside Kerala and India and also in various dioceses of the Syro Malabar Church and the Latin Church.
In 1992 Daughters of Mary set out for Germany and landed in Zweibruckenand established their missionary service through health ministry. In 1993 extended their service to Dortmund – Derne, in 1996 to Peissenberg, in 1998 to Nesslwang, in 2002 to Schacht in 2005 to Augsburg – Westheim and in 2006 to Dortmund-Hukarde, in 2009 to Frankfurt,in 2011 to Munich, Straubing, in 2012 to Luetgen, Augsburg, in 2018 to Goggingen,Landstuhl and in 2019 to Gescher,Inzell. In 2000 the congregation started its new mission stations in New York and spread to Greensburg in 2001, Los Angeles in 2003, Bronx in 2003, Detroit – Hazel Park and Detroit – Livonia in 2004 and Maryland Bowie in 2017. The mission began in Africa at Tanzania in 2011. DM sisters are serving in Italy, Germany, Africa and the United states, involved mainly with health care, pastoral and educationministry.
Current Status of
The Daughters of Mary
As of 2022, the Congregation of Daughters of Mary spread out in 4 continents, 5 countries, through 6 Provinces, in 198 houses, with a total number of 1167 professed members is serving in 53 dioceses in India & abroad with the request of the local bishops and other religious agencies of various countries. The Superiors General since the foundation of the Congregation are Rev. Mother Mary Kallarackal D.M (1952-1959), Rev. Mother Margret D.M (1959 – 1965), Rev. Mother Scholastica D.M (1965 – 1968), Rev. Mother Monica D.M (1968 – 1975), Rev. Mother Veronica D.M (1975 – 1979), Rev. Mother Immaculate D.M (1979- 1984), (1990-1996), Rev. Mother Felicita D.M (1984-1990), Rev. Mother Felix D.M (1996 – 2002), Rev. Mother Francina D.M (2002-2009), Rev. Mother Roseline D.M (2009 – 2015), Rev. Mother Giles Mary D.M (2015- 2020) and Rev. Mother Lydia D.M (2021 till date). Daughters of Mary’s headquarter is in Trivandrum, Kerala, India: D.M Generalate, Maria Bhavan, Kudappanakunnu P.O, Trivandrum- 695043, Kerala, South India. The Daughters of Mary in India works under Six provinces: namely St. Joseph’s Province – Marthandom, Kanyakumari Dt. Tamil Nadu. St. Mary’s Province – Trivandrum, Kerala. Nirmala Province, Venniyoor, Kerala. Kristuraja Province – Punjab, Mary Matha Province – Bathery, Kerala and Amala Province – Wardha, Maharashtra. St. Joseph’s provincial house marthandom is the motherhouse of the D.M.
On 30th July 1986, a prayer house named TABOR was established at Trivandrum as a spiritual oasis for the members of the Congregation. In 2008 a house of contemplation was raised named ALVERNIA for those who desire to lead a contemplative life.