A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SISTERS OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA

The Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Fatima was founded by Msgr. Francis Xavier Kroot, MHM, on 8 February 1893 at Bellary in Karnataka, then under the archdiocese of Madras, by Msgr Francis Xavier Kroot, MHM. Born on 7 December 1854, in Holland, Francis Kroot joined the Mill Hill Missionary Society of St Joseph,was ordained a priest on 8 June 1878 and reached India on 8 August 1878. He served in the capacity of a military chaplain in Poonamallee, Madras and Bellary.

His dream of having a Congregation of Indian women who would carry on the missionary work of caring for the less fortunate and underprivileged natives was finally realized in 1893 with the inception of the Congregation bearing the name as the "Missionary Sisters of St. Francis Xavier". The Sisters of Good Shepherd were entrusted with the formation of the candidates and Rules for the independent Congregation were drawn up and approved by Bishop Joseph Colgan.

The first batch of three postulants received their religious habit on 8 Feb 1893. On 8 September 1895 these Sisters pronounced their first vows and were moved to the first convent, St Francis Xavier's convent, near St Lazaurs church, Cowl Bazaar. Later a novitiate was also established to accommodate the increasing number of candidates.

Years that followed were tumultuous and faced upheavals from all quarters. Hoping against all hope for a better prospect, in 1951 Mother Stanislaus, the then Mother General dared to take the leap into the unknown. She sought permission from Bishop John Hogan of Bellary and Bishop Andrew D'souza of Poona to shift the Generalate and Novitiate to Poona. Accordingly new rules were framed and as per the directives of Bishop Andrew the Congregation was re-Christened to "Sisters of Our Lady of Fatima" and Pune became its headquarters. Thus 16 July 1951 marked the shift of the Generalate and Novitiate from Bellary to Pune.

The new Constitutions were officially approved by Bishop Andrew D'souza on 13 May 1957. The Decree attesting to the canonical erection of the Institute as a Religious Congregation of the diocesan order was issued on 15 December 1970. With the strong support from Bishop William Gomes the then Bishop of Poona, the Congregation slowly spread in the vicinity and the neighboring dioceses. The Decree of Praise was obtained on 18 March 1982 with the help and encouragement from Bishop Valerian D'souza of Poona.

Important saying of Our Founder Fr. Francis Xavier Kroot MHM

it is better to do a humble duty well under obedience than to undertake a great work of oneís own accord (Madras 21- 8- 1878)

After all what is a missionary but a tool, an instruments in the hand of God (Madras 12-10-1878)

Certainly to be a good Missionary , here you must be a person of prayer practiced in self-denial, detached from the world Madras 25- 3- 1980)

One must be ready for anything in the mission (Madras 21- 10- 1887)

If it is Godís Will, i hope that the future convent , may yet become an active catechumenate (14-8 1887)

A womanís love and intuition often succeed where a manís industry and logic might fail (obituary from Annale March 1900)

Through Godís Goodness this congregation may be the seed of a mighty tree which will spread its braches far and wide (obituary)

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