Notre Dame presence in the South began with our first house in Mysore, Lalithamhal Road on 14 Jan, 1969. Srs. M. Vaune and Usha were the pioneers. After attempting many exciting ministries and involvements in the diocese like beginning a nursery school, a school for the mentally challenged, a dispensary, working with the women in the nearby remand home, teaching English in the diocesan seminary, teaching in the B.ed College at St. Joseph’s, teaching in the Pre-Primary Teachers’ Training Institute and the like, a decision had to be made to close the house at Lalithamahal Road in 1981 after twelve long years with much dismay but accepting it as God’s plan. During this period of time scores of sisters and candidates came down for a wholesome college education.
In the meantime, the convent at Jayalakshmipuram was opened on 6 June, 1980. It served as the sisters’ convent till they shifted to their new convent home in Vijayanagar and later became a house for the candidates till they moved into their new house in the Farm at Hinkal. Then Jayalakshmipuram was rented out to two groups of sisters for short periods. Now the old building is demolished and is re-built as a hostel for working women and girl students.
For the support of the welfare and development of the already established school in Hinkal, Mysore, a community was deemed necessary. Commuting daily from Jayalakshmipuram to Hinkal school was cumbersome for the sisters. After much discernment and planning, land was purchased in Vijayanagar and the convent construction began on Jan. 19, 2000.
On 30 Dec. 2000, at the completion of the building, the sisters moved into their new home. Student sisters were housed in the convent for a good number of years. The main ministry continues to be education at Notre Dame School, along with other conventional ministries like involvement in the parish church activities, family visits, Sunday catechism etc. Since the Parish has no church at present, the Sunday liturgies are conducted in one of the big class rooms. The sisters assist at the Sunday liturgy every week.
Formation House, Hinkal
Sr. Anupa, the newly appointed Superior and Sr. Naveena, the Assistant came on August 7th, 2004 with 15 candidates along with Sr. Jayanti ( Provincial Elect) and Sr. Suma to join the happy occasion of the opening of the Candidates’ House at Hinkal, Mysore.
In June 2005, Sr. Sujata, the new Directrss and Sr. Navya her Assistant came into the house with 10 Candidates. In June 2006, Sr. Navya was appointed the Candidate Directress.
A new House was built to accommodate the growing number of candidates and for better facility . On June 23rd , 2007 the candidates began to live in the newly constructed Formation house at Hinkal. Later Srs. Priyanka and Pratima became directors of candidates along with a number of sisters as local superiors and teachers.
The candidates learn the rudiments of religious life, the local language and English for two years. When they are ready to join the postulancy, they are sent to Gumla in Bihar.
Notre Dame Bangalore
Convent at Sophia
“How Good is the Good God” often spoken by our Spiritual Mother, St.Julie, is an expression of her deep faith in God. The Sisters of Notre Dame had come to India in 1949, settled in the Northern part of India especially Bihar, their main ministry being education.
Coincidentally in 1949 the Religious of the Sacred Heart began Sophia High School with a clear vision of their objectives and aims according to their long tradition of excellence in education for girls.
In January 1970 the Religious of the Sacred Heart asked the Sisters of Notre Dame to take over Sophia High School. This offer was accepted gladly as the Sisters of Notre Dame were looking for an anchor in the south of India. To ease the transition, three Sisters of Notre Dame taught with the Sisters of the Sacred Heart for two years at Sophia. They were Sisters Patricia Gannon, Randal and Shalinee. In January 1972, the Notre Dame Sisters took over the administration of Sophia from the R.S.C.J sisters. Sister Patricia Gannon was the first Notre Dame Principal of Sophia High School and Sr.Shalinee was the first Local Superior of the community.
The Notre Dames opened the doors of the school to students of all walks of life and as a result the School grew fast in all aspects. In 1972 Sophia Opportunity School, the School for the Mentally Challenged was started with Sr. Joell as the founding Principal and in 1974 Notre Dame Junior College of Education was opened. Sister Jesslin was the first principal. In 1979 the Sisters of Notre Dame reached out to Somanahalli, a village where we taught in the Parish school and conducted a Health Centre for the people, keeping Bangalore community at Sophia as the launch station.
When South of India became a Region and finally when it was raised to the status of a Province, witnessing and supporting like a nurturing mother all the processes of the growth of Notre Dame in South, was the community at Bangalore which also became the first Provincial Center in Dec. 2004.
Trusting in the providence of God, under the Mantle of Mary our Mother, we continue joyfully to spread the kingdom of God wherever He calls us to be.
Our first mission in South was opened on July 22, 1979 as a response to the request of Rev. Fr. Jabamali, the Parish priest of St. Mary’s Basilica, Shivaji Nagar to reach out to the poor and for evangelization.
Along with the Archbishop of Bangalore, Most. Rev. Alponse, Fr. Jabamalai, and our provincial, Sr. M. Amala made the necessary agreements for our work in the Somanahalli village and parish. After the initial studying of the situation, place and people, Sr. Amala agreed to send three sisters to do pastoral, education, medical, social and evangelization work among the people. Srs. M. Daya, Rashmi and Jyotika were the chosen pioneers. They were given a very warm welcome by the Christian community and village leaders. They were accommodated in the old parish presbytery.
From the early days the sisters were engaged to master the new language Kannada, survey the village and to get to know the people, and their needs and problems. The people were very poor and only a few children were going to school.
Sr. M. Asha joined the community in January 1980 to take care of the health needs of the people. The diocese built a dispensary in the parish property. Sr. Asha started to take care of people with sign language more than spoken Kannada.
The sisters also taught catechism, visited families, prayed rosary in the families, gave preventive and curative medical care, did voluntary teaching in the pre-primary school. They also visited other neighbouring villages and went for Holy Mass in the Sub- stations and helped with all the parish work. In the very first year they visited 16 villages.
By 1981 two sisters started to do volunteer teaching in the parish school.
Many transfers and changes took place over the years. Old ministries were stopped and new ones were introduced. The dispensary was closed in 2001. The services of the sisters in the school also was stopped by 2004.
But a full fledged Women’s empowerment program under the name “Jagruti” came into being. Re-entry into St Francis Xavier’s School also took place in 2012 by the design of God.
The plans of the Lord will last forever and as our spiritual mother St. Julie says, there is no Notre Dame Sister without the shadow of the cross. When the Lord allowed one door to close He opened another always. May His great name be glorified.
Archbishop Bernard Moras blessed the convent at Choodasandra on 28 March, 2005 in the presence of many sisters of Notre Dame, fathers and sisters from other communities, teachers and friends from Bangalore. The three pioneers to Choodasandra, Srs. Subala, Manisha and Anuja began their life there from that very day. In a period of three months Notre Dame Academy began with three students and Sr. Manisha became the first principal. Sr. Subala found great possibilities in collaborating at the Karnataka Central Prison near by and Sr. Anuja began organizing Social action works with the women of the area. Over the past seven years Choodasandra has undergone many changes and the ministry that continues to flourish there is education which is the hall mark of the Sisters of Notre Dame world over.
Notre Dame Convent in Koramangala was inaugurated on 28 December 2008. We had the privilege of having the Superior General Sr.M.Sujita and her Assistant Sr.Francis Murray for the opening ceremony. We also had the presence of Sr.Sreeja and her councilors of the Assumption Province. Our Parish Priest Fr.Tony from St.Anthony’s Friary blessed and officiated the ceremony.
The first community members were Sr.M.Jaya, Sr.M.Naina and Sr.Sujaya. Sr.M.Naina conducts the NAET Clinic. Sr.Jaya who was recuperating after her surgery, took NAET treatment from Sr.Naina and helped at the reception desk in the clinic.
The Sisters extended their services to the Orphange at Kothannur where HIV/AIDS affected children are given NAET treatment. We also had began the same treatment for a group of Slum children below 5yrs of age which was done by Sr.sujaya. Both of these groups have benefitted much from the treatment. We continue the treatment for the HIV positive Orphan children.
Sr.M. Vishala residing in Koramangala is engaged in writing educational books .
Sr.M.Sujaya has extended her voluntary help (HELP LINE) at St.John’s Hospital from January 2012. Sister goes to the hospital from Monday to Friday for three hours daily. The help line supports the registration counter or the ‘ Health Plan’ for those who take packages from PRO ‘s(Public Relation Officer) office. Sister finds great joy in helping the sick from all over the country, rich and poor alike.
In response to the invitation of the Bishop of Mangalore, Srs. Divya and Kavya were assigned to Mukka on 19 July 2004. their ministry was administration of a diocesan school named Holy Spirit English Medium School. The pioneers faced many challenges courageously. The Sisters were accepted, loved and cared for by the people. At present the trio in the community are Srs. Dulari, Sneha and Jaisheela. Along with the education ministry they are also involved in the parish B.C.C., youth minisrty, catechism and family visits.