A glance about Southern Indian Province

The Congregation of the Mission is a society of apostolic life, composed of priests and lay brothers, founded by Saint Vincent de Paul in Paris on April 17, 1625 and approved by Pope Urban VII on January 12, 1633 with the publication of the bull Salvatoris Nostri. The members of this Congregation are known as Paules in Spain, Lazarists in France, and Vincentians in other countries. Our mission is to follow Jesus Christ, evangelizing the poor. We live together in community and serve the poor and needy through our works in parishes and social activities, living out the examples of St. Vincent de Paul, our founder. We are specialized in formation, retreat preaching and youth ministry. The Spanish Vincentians came to Orissa in 1922, which opened up large avenues for evangelization. The seed of the Gospel took root and grew into three dioceses namely, Cuttack–Bhubaneshwar Archdiocese, Berhampur Diocese and Balasore Diocese embracing over 4 lakh Catholics. Along with the growth of the Local Church in Orissa, the Congregation of the Mission also grew up rapidly. The Congregation began to branch out its activities to various other parts of India namely, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharastra, West Bengal, Manipur, Rajastan and Tanzania Mission. Considering the vitality and magnitude of the Indian Province of the Congregation of the Mission, its vocation potential and the better administration of its manifold activities in different States of India, the Indian Province (C.M.) was divided into two, namely, Northern Indian Province (Mother Province) and Southern Indian Province (New Province), in December 1997. The newly constituted Southern Indian Province fixed its headquarters at Mysore. The new Province concentrated its missionary activities mostly in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Rajasthan and in Tanzania.

Our Mission

The purpose of the Congregation of the Mission is to follow Christ evangelizing the poor. This purpose is achieved when, faithful to St. Vincent, the members individually and collectively: make every effort to put on the spirit of Christ himself (CR I, 3) in order to acquire a holiness appropriate to their vocation (CR XII, 13); work at evangelizing the poor, especially the more abandoned; help the clergy and laity in their formation and lead them to a fuller participation in the evangelization of the poor.

With this purpose in view, the Congregation of the Mission, faithful to the gospel, and always attentive to the signs of the times and the more urgent calls of the Church, should take care to open up new ways and use new means adapted to the circumstances of time and place. Moreover, it should strive to evaluate and plan its works and ministries, and in this way remain in a continual state of renewal. From the Constitutions and Statutes of the Congregation of the Mission

History of Congregation of the Mission

St. Vincent de Paul was born in the village of Pouy in 1581. As a boy he lived among the poor and experienced the conditions under which they lived. In 1600 he became a priest. For a time he sought to escape from the poverty of his origins, but with the help of spiritual directors he felt himself called to deeper holiness and, through the events of his life, was finally led by divine providence to a firm determination to dedicate himself to the salvation of the poor. While he was exercising his ministry in Gannes and, on the 25th of January 1617, in Folleville, he saw that the evangelization of the poor was an urgent need. He himself held that this was the origin of his vocation, and of the Congregation of the Mission.

When, in August of the same year in Chatillon-les-Dombes, he founded “La Charite” The Confraternities of Charity to assist the sick who lacked all help, he discovered for himself, and showed others, the close link that exists between evangelization and the service of the poor.

Gradually his religious development led to contemplating and serving Christ in the person of the poor. The vision of Christ, sent by the Father to evangelize the poor, was central to his life and ministry. Hearing the call of people in the world of his own day, learning to listen with an ever more intense love of God and of poor people who were burdened with hardships of all kinds, Vincent felt himself called to alleviate sufferings of every sort

Among all his commitments he always had a special care for the Mission, and he gathered the first members to join with him in evangelization of the country people; this was set out in a contract dated the 17th of April 1625. They bound themselves to form a Congregation in which, living as a community, they would devote themselves to the salvation of the country poor; this was by an Act of Association which they signed on the 4th of September 1626.

While Vincent and his confreres were giving themselves to the evangelization of the poor, they clearly saw that the effectiveness of their mission to the people could not be sustained unless they also provided for the formation of the clergy. They began this work in 1628 in Beauvais when, at the request of the bishop, they held retreats for those being advanced to orders. In this way they were providing good pastors for the Church.