Origin of the Project
Fr. Antony Mookenthottam, then Provincial of the Visakhapattanam Province of the MSFS, comes to Eichstatt, asks to speak to the General Council, and extends to the OSFS an invitation to make a start toward extending their ministry to india, with the hep of the MSFS.
Father General travels to India, accompanied by Fr. Alois Bachinger to explore which opportunites for implantation are avialble there. After visitng several MSFS foundations, the visitors meet Fr. Mariadas, the successor of Fr. Mookenthottam, in Visakhapattanam. He confirms the invitation and reiterates his promise to help.
Frs Eugene Catanzaro and John Graden journey to India and stay a few months with MSFS. They examine closely the more concrete opportunites open to us for a start in India, and submit to the General Council a detailed report on their findings and thier recommendations.
Fr. General submits the Indian Project to the General Chapter for a decision. The General Chapter endorses the project by a large majority.
Fr. Anthony R Ceresko OSFS comes as a visitng Professor to St. Peter's Pontifical Institute, Bangalore.
Frs. George Dinauer and Michael Moore travel to India ona tourist visa in order to secure a student visa that would allow them to reside in India for two years. They are granted the status of provisional students at the Gandhi University in Kottayam. There, they established a relationship with Fr. Antony Chirappanath, a priest of the diocese of Ernakulam who serves as a Dean of Studies at the University. In due time, this priest becomes a convinced promoter of the project and a trusted friend of both Fr. Dinauer and Fr. Moore.
May – June1990
Fr. Dinauer travels to India. He is accompanied by Fr. Bachinger for a about three weeks. On June 5, Fr. Mariadas, the new Provincial of Visakhapattanam Province, and his councilors granted us the permission to recruit a few PDC students every year and keep them at the minor seminary in Ettumanoor for six months. They will be under the care and guidance of Fr. Dinauer.
With the help of Fr. Johny, the vocation director of MSFS at the Minor Seminary in Ettumanoor and Fr. Antony Chirappanath our first Indian Candidates – John sankarathil, Shaju k Joseph, Baiju Paul and Sogy J K – joined our congregation on July 12. These candidates took part in the programme being followed in the minor seminary. Apart, Fr. Dinauer taught Salesian Spirituality and Oblate History.
After the preliminary course John, Baiju, and Shaju left for Namibia on 21st of December. They entered the novitiate under Fr. Janssen on January 23.
April – December 1991
Fr. Vincent Smith, from Wilmington Province, opted for the Indian Project and arrived in Ettumanoor on April 10th in order to recruit new candidates for the following year. After a lot of leg work in the hills of Kerala, three new candidates – Suinl Cherian, Johny and Saji – arrived in Ettumanoor. ( The latter two left the OSFS during postulancy and novitiate)
On July 9, Fr. Vincent Smith left Indian for Namibia in order to assist the Master of Novices in mariental. On November 20 Fr. General and Fr. Bachinger arrived for an official vist in India. This visit was motivated by the fact the several decisions concerning the next phase of the Indian Project, and involving the MSFS at the general, provincial and local levels of administration. A second reason was the recent split of the Province of Visakhapattanam into two provinces. As a result of this split, it now became evident that our Indian Mission was to have its beginnings within the South West Province. This made it imperative for our Fr. General to establish, as soon as possible, a personal rapport with Fr. Thomas Cherukat, the Provincial of this Province. In various meetings with the General, the Provincial and local superiors of MSFS in Ettumanoor, Suvudya and Vinayalaya, full support was again promised for our first Indian Foundation.
On December 1, Fr. Dinauer accompanied our second batch to Namibia for the next stage of formation.
Fr. Anthony Ceresko with an Entry Visa shifted his residence to India and joined the faculty of St. Peters Pontifical Institute in April 1991.
On January 24th 1992 the first three Indian Oblates made their first vows: Br. John Sankarathil, Br. Baiju Puthussery and Br. Shaju Kanjiramparayil. Br. Sunil was admitted to the novitiate on the previous day. After these joyful days, Baiju and Shaju started thier pastoral ministry in Rehoboth while John flew back to India.
In June these first three Indian Oblates began thier studies at Suvidya and St. Peter's Seminary where Fr. Anthony Ceresko has been teaching since April 1991.
New Candidates – The new Oblates were able to recruit three PDC students for Ettumanoor – Mathew, Stephen, Viju, five for Aloor, a Minor Seminary run by the Irigalakuda Diocese – Joy, Roy, Jimmy, Jannice and Regi.
Our first professed members visited parishes and colleges in Kerala and Tamil Nadu during their Christmas holidays. Due to their efforts five new candidates were admitted to the Minor Seminaries in Pudukottai and Thamarassery.
Fr. Dinauer received a hearty welcome by the staff and the students of Suvidya. Fr. Joseph Kuzhippil, the procurator of Suvidya College, took a lot of trouble and interest to find a suitable peice of land, reasonable in size and price. after many months of searching, bargaining and red tape we were able to register, in the name of two MSFS Fathers, a plot of 7.5 acres, located in Chandapura, on April 13, 1993. It is considered as the giant step forward in establishing our foundation in India. Fr. Vincent Smith joins Fr. George in the foundation of new community. Soon after the registeration the work of a farm house at the back of our plot. The work was entrusted to Mr. Babu, as Engineer and Mr. Ayyappa as contractor.
Words from Fr. James F Cryan – The origin of a foundation cannot be described. Like the origin of a vocation, it escapes analysis. No matter how soberly one plans it, coherently discusses it and vigorously nurtures it, it remains nothing less than mystery. Ultimately it is a matter of live. A Foundation comes into being as decision made in trust, on the oart of may people who undertook and commit themselves to it as an obdeience to the stirrings of the heart spoken there by God and Himself. neverthless, we can speak validly about our origins because lovers have the remarkable ability to remember quite clearly the circumstances, events, names, dates and places where they fell in love.
Fr. Balducelly, asked me to represent him for the blessing of Samarpanaram because he was not able to travel to here. What a blessing this has been for me! The inaguration comes at a previleged moment in Oblate history, our decisive rootedness in India's soil. These days have been a grace for me because a charism is validated not by past history, but by the on-going experience of those who profess to live it.
The Charism of simplicity, pliability, charity, respect for the individual, and humility that we profess has taken root here, with the disticitive charactor of those who planted it, nurtured it and have now received it. May He who has begun the good work, sustain it and bring it to perfection. may God be blessed!
Samarpanaram, the first community of Oblates of St. Francis de Sales is established in Bangalore, Karnataka. Samarpanaram means: “Garden of offering – Oblate garden”. It was inagurated and blessed on 24th January 1994, in the presence of Fr. James F Cryan, represented Fr Roger balduschelly, Fr. Joseph Koeltringer. For many years it was our novitiate and scholaticate.
In May, Mathew and Stephen begin their year of novitiate under the guidance of Fr. Vincent Smith in Samarpanaram, the scholastics continues their studies in Suvidya College and five candidates joins the community – Vincent, Mahima, Paul, Michael and Lawarance.
In the meantime Fr. Dinauer decides to go back to his prvince and in his place Fr. Joseph Koeltringer (Peppi) joins Indian Mission as superior of Samarpanaram Community on visiting visa.
Salespuram, the second community of Oblates of St. Francis de Sales is established in Vallithode, Kannur, Kerala. It is the initial formation house. Salespuram means: “City of DeSales”.
On November 25, Saint Léonie Francis de Sales Aviat is canonized by Pope John Paul II.
The Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in India made their declaration.
The erection of Advisory Board in line with constitutions 309 – 318 as the decision making body for Indian Mission
First Oblate Foundation in the Philippines
Brisson Bala Bhavan, the first Indian apostolate of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales is established in Bangalore, Karnataka. Brisson Bala Bhavan is a boarding for 20 intelligent boys that would not have been able to obtain quality education otherwise because of poverty. Brisson Bala Bhavan means: “Brisson Boy's Home”.
Bliss, the third community of Oblates of St. Francis de Sales is established in Mangalore, Karnataka. It is the OSFS-study-house for Theologians.
On August 31, Brisson Nilayam, the fourth community of Oblates of St. Francis de Sales is established in Eluru, West-Godawari, Andhra Pradesh. From 2009 onwards it will be the place for the Novitiate of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. Brisson Nilayam means: “House of Brisson”.
The General Administration decided to close down our newly established Philippine foundation. Fr. Josef Koeltringer returned from Philippines to Samarpanaram.
The Delegate Superior of India, Fr. Sebastian Leitner, was transfered to the Austrian / South German Province. After 7 years of his service in India, he leaves behind a well developed and still growing community.
On August 28, Fr. Mathew Mukkath was appointed to be the new Delegate Superior of the Indian Mission.
Fr. Shaju Kanjiramparayil is appointed as the General Counselor and begins to live at the Generalate in Rome as General Counselor and to puruse his doctoral studies.
"Bliss" community in Mangalore is closed and the keys of the rented house were given back to the owner on December 2, 2008. Our two theology students will stay and finish their studies at St. Joseph's seminary. Fr. Fred Smuda arrived in Samarpanaram on December 3.
August, Contract signed between Rev. Dr. Gali Bali, Bisohp of Guntur and OSFS congregation, accepting the newly erected parish of Nidumukkala together with 7 substations. Fr. Xavier is appointed as the first parish priest.
October, Visitation of Superior General Fr. Aldino Keisel and Assistant General Fr. Konrad Essar.
The Inaguration and Blessing of Brisson Nilayam, in Eluru by Bishop Mathew Chriyankunnel in the presence of Fr. General and Fr. Konrad. The confreres begin to live in the new building.
General Meeting of all Oblates from India in Samarpanaram, Bangalore. Fr. Baiju Puthussery becomes the new Delegate Superior of the Indian Mission.
November, one of the founding fathers and longest served missionary to India, Fr. Josef Koeltringer OSFS decided to go back to his mother province – German Province. He served India in establishing three formation communities, as superior, formator, novice master and funding diffrent projects.
April, The General Meeting held in Salespuram unanimously voted to start an English medium ICSE syllabus school in the Samarpanaram campus. Bangalore.
May, Fr. Berny O'Connor laid the foundation stone for the school building in Bangalore.
June, Blessing of De Sales Nilayam (House of De Sales), presbytory in Nidumukkala parish, Guntur.
Small beginning for De Sales Academy in the old novitiate building at the back of Samarpanaram property. Admissions for KG, LKG and UKG and starting of academic year.
June, Visitation of Fr. Aldino Kiesel OSFS, Bishop Andreas Laun OSFS and Eugene Zabo OSFS.
Starting of academic year in the De Sales Academy new building.
Beginning of novitiate in Brisson Nilayam, Eluru. Fr. Bala Dande as the first indegeneous novice master.
The longest served missionary novice master Fr. Fred Smuda went back to his home province. He served Indian Mission from the year 2000 to 2012 in Samarpanaram and Blisscommunities.
August, The General Chapter officialy recognizes, the unanimous decision of General Meeting, India, to raise the status of Indian Mission to Indian Region.
September 22: Beatification of Louis Brisson in Troyes
October: All the perpetually professed members of Indian Mission gathered together in Samarpanaram for three days of General Meeting. Fr. Baiju Puthussery osfs finished his term in the office as Delegate Superior. Fr. Bala Dande was appointed as the new Delegate. Fr. John Sankarathil, Fr. Mathias I Kumar, Fr. Manikumar were elected as the new advisory board memebers. I was also an occassion to celebrate Beatification of Louis Birsson in the Indain Mission with all the confreres.
December January: God has really blessed Indian Mission with the ordinations of our five deacons during these months. Fr. Thampi Joseph, Fr. Bala Prasad, Fr. Johnson mathew, Fr. Dennis Jose and Fr. George Thomas, thier reaching to the altar of the Lord give joy, hope and inspiration to all. Most of the confreres were present to thier ordinations
January: Installation of Delegate Superior – On 24th January 2013, Fr. Dande Balaswamy was installed into his office as Delegate Superior. Fr. Shaju, General Cuncilor was delegated to install the new Delegate. The new Delegate and new advisory board meeting took charge of office with thier first meeting in Samarpanaram on 24th January in which Fr. John Sankarathil was appointed as the Assistant Delegate.