The History of Good Shepherd Province
The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.” (Ps 23:1)
The history of the South Province of Congregation of the Sisters of St. Martha is the tracing of continuous flow of grace from most merciful heart Jesus, the Good Shepherd who gently leads His children to the ever green pastures of blessings to make them a Blessing for many .The Congregation of St. Martha has its origin in 1948 by the Founder,Rev.Fr.John Kizhakoodan at Ponnukkara, Thrissur,Kerala, India. It was the decision of Dec 2012 General Synaxis to establish two provinces for the easy administration and progress of the congregation. We remember with gratitude, then Superior General Rev. Mother Geo Maria and her council who took efforts in executing this decision . The inception of the Provinces was in Sept 2013.The North Province has been named under the patronage of LourdeNatha and the South Province under the patronage of Good Shepherd.
A long cherished dream was realized as the new dawn of the Good Shepherd Province was formerly inaugurated and blessed by His Excellency Mar.PaulyKannookadan on 23rd sept.2013. The Eparchy of Irinjalakuda is both historically and geographically important since it contains Azhikode Kodungallore, where St.Thomas the Apostle first travelled in our Country. Our Province also had the Paternal blessing of late saintly Bishop Mar James Pazhayattil of Irinjalakuda.
The visionary zeal and spirit of prayer and cooperation of our first Provincial Superior Rev .Sr. Deepthy Tom and her team has been significant in striving hard to continue, nurture and build on the inspired vision and charism of our Founder, Very Rev.Fr.John Kizhakoodan. Through months and years, the budding Province has been flourishing through addition of new vocations and renewal of its members into a greater commitment and dedication to live out the Charism of imparting compassionate love of Christ to all especially the poor and downtrodden section of the society.
At present the Province has 152 professed Sisters, 2 novices, 6 Postulants and 4 Aspirants, 26 convents and 4 service centers. Under the shadow and constant guidance and companionship of Our Good Shepherd, members are living the unique charism zealously through contemplative prayer and different apostolate like Pastoral activities, caring for the sick, abandoned, poor and differently abled, education, family apostolate, social works, small scale occupations like tailoring centers and candle making, printing press, healing ministry in hospital, mobile palliative care, agriculture etc. The simple lifestyle of the sisters which is the heritage of our congregation adds to charism of becoming living symbols of Christ`s compassionate love.
In response to the needs and signs of the time,substantial contributions has been added to the Church in Kerala through our graceful presence and activities in 6 diocese of Syro Malabar Church like Thrissur,Irinjalakuda,Ernakulam,Kothamangalam,Idukki&Thalassery.The call and mission of the consecrated embraces the whole world.The footsteps of Jesus theGood Shepherd and the service mindedness of St.Martha took us across the oceans to impart His mercy through our humble services in the field of education, hospital ministry and pastoral care in Italy, USA and Germany.
“Bethania”, adoration chapel and prayer house at Ponnukara,Thrissur is the spiritual power house of our congregation.This little beautiful prayer house is the renovated first house of the congregation where in our beloved Founder,Rev.Fr.John Kizhakoodan gave shape to the congregation together with our first 12 Sisters. Sisters spend one week time in a year in this prayer house where they get empowered with renewed zeal and spiritual power, new insights and convictions to keep afresh their covenantal life and do the services in God`s merciful love.
The Province has three formation house, two in Ponnukara,Thrissur and one in Moonnumuri, Irinjalakuda. The Assumption convent, Mother house of the congregation is situated at Ponnukara and it belongs to our Province. A part of physical remains of our Founder,Fr.John Kizhakoodan rests in the Assumption chapel and also we have the tomb of V. Rev. Msgr. AntonyMaliekal,our former Director in that convent chapel. St.Vincent Diabetic hospital which takes care of Diabetic patients and a mobile Palliative care unit is also run by the Good Shepherd Province. The second Provincial Synaxis re-elected Rev.Sr.Deepthy Tom as Provincial Superior in February 2016. The new Provincial team continues to motivate and facilitate the various apostolate and activities of the Province.
As we receive God`s mercy every day in our own lives we are bound to be a sign and instrument of mercy for others. Jesus, the Good Shepherd has been guiding and walking along with us step by step, day by day. The constant intercession of Our Mother Mary and St. Martha, our heavenly Patroness and the blessings of our Founder Very Rev. Fr. John Kizhakoodan and first Sisters, among whom two are still living in mother house continues to nurture our Province.
The Charism of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Martha
“Do little things with Compassionate Love”.
We the Sisters of St. Martha live in the unity of love as a community among ordinary people, doing simple things in an extra-ordinary way with greater love and sharing the compassionate love to the faithful and sceptic, to the believers as well as the unbelievers by following the footsteps of St. Martha, the biblical saint, our heavenly patroness. We share in the vision of our founder Rev. Fr. John Kizakoodan, who dared to dream of a better world for the poor, sick, and afflicted people. Ignited by the fire of God’s love and impelled by his legacy we, the Sisters of St. Martha are involved in different apostolic activities like charitable acts, acts of mercy, Family Apostolate, Healing Ministry, Social Service, pastoral ministry, education, Missionary services etc. We share the compassionate love of Jesus to the poor, needy and afflicted through prayer and selfless services.
“Love Serves” is the Motto of the Congregation.We, the Sisters of St. Martha, participate in the evolving consciousness of the cosmos by reverencing relationships, celebrating unity, engaging contemplation and fostering partnerships to transform ourselves and our world. Each day, we rediscover the merciful love of God through prayer, action and service who we are called to be by doing what we can, with what we have, where we are!
CSM Emblem expresses through symbols the fundamental values of our congregation. In it we recognize the “unceasing work of the Holy Spirit, who in every age shows forth the richness of the practice of the evangelical counsels through a multiplicity of charisms. In this way too he makes ever present in the Church and in the world, in time and space, the mystery of Christ” (VC 5)
The symbols of the Logo
“Love Serves” is the motto of our congregation inscribed in the centre of the logo.
The Cross is the symbol of holy cross reminds us the love of God and our salvation(1cor 1/18)
Holy Eucharist indicates that it is the power house and centre of our religious life.
Hands symbolize the service to the poor and afflicted in the society enhancing them to have a standard of life physically, spiritually and morally.
Open book denotes the Bible, the word of God. Bible is the eternal source and code of action of our religious life.
Light “Lord you are my light” 2 Samuel 22/29. We are bound to follow Jesus the light of the world. Be a light and give light to the brethren who are in darkness is the duty of the Congregation of the Sister of St. Martha.
M denotes Holy Mary the one who surrenders her whole being to the will of God Almighty by saying behold the handmade of the Lord. It also indicates our patroness ‘Martha’
The apostolic spirit of our Founder
“Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me”. (Mt 25:40)
The foremost purpose of the Good shepherd province of Congregation of the sisters of St. Martha is called to present Christ Jesus, the Lord of the salvation (L.G.9)to the world through her different divine ministries. The simple life and activities of Sisters reveal Christ Jesus, who prayed in the mountains, proclaimed the Kingdom of God to the people, healed the sick and broken ones, redirecting sinners into right path, who was doing good to everyone and fulfilled the will of the Father who send him. Through these ministries we work effectively to contribute to build the body of church. We, who are consecrated to serve God and His people strive to carry out our simple acts of mercy like the salt of the earth (Mt: 5, 13) and the light of the world (Mt: 5, 14) .
God the Father anointed and send Jesus to this world to proclaim the good news to the poor, to console the broken hearted (Lk 4:18) and to seek out and to save the lost(Lk 19:10). Our Founder Father dedicated himself to the care of the poor and the marginalized that they may experience the compassionate love of Jesus which he had integrated in his very soul, irrespective of cast or religion. He had a big heart to console the poor brethren who were suffering and undergoing various tribulations of life. “Daughters, do not reject anyone”, were the words of our founder father which continues to inspire and encourage us.
We the Congregation of Sisters of St Martha undertakes various apostolic activities with heart full of compassionate love like charitable acts, acts of mercy, Family Apostolate, Healing Ministry, Social Service, pastoral ministry, education, Missionary services etc…
St. Martha the heavenly patroness of Congregation of the Sisters of St. Martha, we meet her in the gospels of Luke and John, together with her sister, Mary and brother Lazarus, are friends of Jesus. In the home of Martha, Jesus and his disciples were welcomed with gracious hospitality and Martha served with greater love ( Luke 10: 38-42). Martha’s great glory is her simple and strong statement of faith in Jesus after her brother’s death. “Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life,whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord. I do believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world” (John 11:25-27).
Her belief in Jesus as a friend grows higher and higher and she finally recognizes in Him the long awaited Messiah, the son of God. Martha's profession of faith revives hope and provides consolation to us in our own journey of faith. St. Martha, our heavenly patroness invites each one of us to her maturity, strength, common sense, openness and concern for others.
St. Martha, as depicted in statue, stands erect carrying a jar of oil, symbolic of the service of healing, of hospitality, and of blessing. In reflecting on St. Martha, we are inspired by her loving relationship with Jesus, her spirit of welcoming hospitality, her courage in the face of difficulties and her compassionate presence in service to all. May she intercede for us to deepen our faith and follow her example of welcoming the Lord and serve Him with devotion and loving zeal.