St.Mary’s English Medium School Kodancherry

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To Holiness through Lowliness...........

St. Francis of Assisi bearing witness to the poor, humble, Christ, laid the foundation of a new form of life based on the Gospel. He renounced totally and happily all worldly goods and its pleasures, so that he was able to proclaim, My God My All in all sincerity.  His poor humble life, his fraternity and zealous apostolic activity could really effect a renewal of Christian life in his time. St. Clare was the first woman who followed crucified Lord in the footprints of Francis and the Franciscan II Order (Cloistered) was established for women.

The Franciscan spirit which diffused its fragrance in the surroundings of Assisi in the thirteenth century, spread to Kerala also towards the latter half of the nineteenth century. In the year 1865 the Secular Franciscan Third Order was founded in the Veropoly Archdiocese and Puthenparampil Thommachan, a zealous layman from the Parish of Edathua born in 1836 took the leadership of the movement. He literally imitated St. Francis and led a life of utter poverty, prayer and penance. He started different types of humanitarian services including serving the orphans and destitute, the sick, lepers and all kinds of unwanted people in the society. Many zealous people followed him and 50 units were founded under his leadership. In the year 1875 a unit of SFO was started in the Parish of Pala and certain pious ladies belonging to the SFO started community living under the guidance of Puthenparampil Thommachan at Pala and moved to  Kannadiurumpu in 1883. They wanted to lead a genuine full Franciscan Way of Life. They got fundamental training for the Franciscan Life.

Divine Providence was paving the way from other direction. In the year 1887 Kottayam Vicariate was established and Rt. Rev. Dr. Charles Lavigne SJ from France was appointed the Vicar Apostolic of Kottayam. During his Pastoral journey over the Vicariate he was moved by the plight of the unwanted, the sick and destitute of the Vicariate. He expressed his desire to his Secretary Rev. Fr. Louis Pazheparampil, about establishing a women Congregation to look after the unwanted people of the society and he appointed him the director of the already existing CMC Congregation and the Congregation to be established. This Fr. Louis Pazheparampil later became the first Bishop of the Diocese of Ernakulam. There occurred a happy coincidence of the Divine Providence. Bishop Charles Lavigne visited the Parish of Pala on 20th June 1888 and the pious Ladies met him in the CMI Kovenda at Mutholi and expressed their long cherished wish and requested to establish for them Congregation of St. Clara. His first question to them was whether they were ready to take care of the orphans and the unwanted. The Bishop visited the pious ladies on 4th July 1888 at their residence at Kannadiurumpu. Same question was repeated and they said a firm YES. Overcoming a series of obstacles, he founded a new offshoot of the Franciscan Family in Kerala. Thus was founded the Franciscan Clarist Congregation on 14th December 1888 at Changanassery by Bishop Charles Lavigne SJ and the eight founding mothers namely Sr. Mariam Clara of Jesus, Sr. Coletta of Jesus Sr. Agnes of Jesus, Sr. Mariam Thresia of Jesus, Sr. Mariam Magdaline of Jesus, Sr. Margareetha of Jesus, Sr. Mariam of Jesus, Sr. Anna of Jesus. Bishop Lavigne provided them the Primary Rules and Directives to follow a new way of life based on the charism. 

The Congregation grew fast attracting many young women who wished to lead a dedicated life and gradually independent units sprang up in dioceses. Responding to the call of Vatican II, renewal and adaptation was effected and unification of the different units took place. It is a Pontifical Congregation in Syro-Malabar Church. Now FCC has grown into an International Congregation having 24 Provinces 3 Regions in India and many houses under different Provinces in countries like Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, U.S.A, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Malawi and Papua New Guinea. They render their service in Old age homes, Orphanages, Hospitals, Educational institutions, Boarding houses etc. There are 23 sisters from Kenya.God has specially blessed FCC with the gift of St. Alphonsa the first woman saint of India. She was a great missionary who proclaimed silently to the world the love of Jesus through her witnessing life. She offered her suffering for the salvation of souls. She prayed ardently for missionaries in the forefront and inspired the sisters and the children to pray and offer sacrifices for mission. St. Alphonsa continues to inspire people of all walks of life to walk in the path of the crucified Lord.

The martyrdom of Sr. Rani Maria, the servant of God on 25th February 1995 at Udayanagar, Indore is another momentous event in the history of FCC. The great love which enabled her to lay down her life for Jesus and his poor is a great source of inspiration to all, especially the missionaries. FCC is proud of her daughters who serve the Lord in the challenging mission areas spreading the message of Gospel.It is our firm conviction that in the world of human need, it is God who willed the Franciscan Clarist Congregation to take care of the poor, the marginalized and the unorganized in society. The fundamental mission of FCC is to liberate and empower such people to rediscover their dignity by taking control over their own lives. In doing so, the religious order envisions a new social order for a much more economically developed India of this 21st century, based on justice and equal opportunities for all to live in peace and dignity. It is our belief and prayer that in future a spirituality renewed and a theologically updated Franciscan Clarist Congregation will bring about this social reality.