Various programmes are implemented for the uplift of the poor especially women and handicapped children. Garment making centre namely Anugraha Garments at Thettiode, Kaliakkavilai and one stabiliser assembling unit namely Mahima Electronics are the two centres where poor women and girls of the village area find means to earn their living. Awareness classes and health education are conducted for the beneficiaries by which they have made tremendous progress in their life style and bahaviour. Sisters visit their houses and share the love and mercy of the Lord. Two centres for the mentally challenged children are run by the sisters at Chenamkode and Thettiode in Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu. Most of the parents had been ashamed of the presence of a mentally disabled child.They used to keep them closed in rooms when visitors came. The sisters visited the remote areas of the villages where there were several mentally challenged persons and conducted awareness classes to the parents to send them to school. On house visits they were given instructions how to deal with such children. Aseer Vidyalaya at Thettiode and Assisi Vidyalaya Chenamkode are the two schools for such children. Physiotherapy classes are conducted in the two schools by fully qualified instructors. During the past years disabled children unable to walk could walk themselves without the help of others through theraphy. Speech therapy also is given to those who can not speak well. Traning in sports, games and cultural programmes are given to the Mentally Challenged children at the two schools. They have made such progress that they could take part in competitions in sports and games and could win prizes. Improvements in their behaviour and character is so great that now the parents are very happy in the progress of their handicapped children.
Evangelisation and Faith Formation
The sister who goes for evangelisation must first of all evangelise herself. Lord Jesus is the first missionary.He gave witness to his mission through his passion, death and resurrection.The religious have the duty to continue the missionary activities of Jesus in their lives by living the evangelical virtues and gospel values. The sisters of San Joe Province strive to lead a life a gospel values.They are involved in various pastoral activities like teaching catechism in parishes, paying house visits, conducting prayer meetings, praying Rosary with members of the families and giving awareness classes to women and children.
On house visits we give awareness to the members of the family about the importance of family prayer and the sisters pray Rosary with them, teach them how to meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary. Holy Bible, Rosary and good magazines are distributed in the families. These who are going to get married are sent for the pre-marital courses conducted in the diocese. According to the "new evangelisation" programme taught by Pope John Paul II we have to evangelise the non-evangelised and re-evangelise the evangelised. According to the need of the changing times we teach Bible sentences each day to the students and explain the message contained in it.When Pious organisations are conducted, at the beginning one passage from the Holy Bible is read and explained which is followed by a short prayer. The sisters teach them to respect human dignity, their rights especially the value of life, the seriousness of abortin and responsible parenthood.Home Mission Programme is conducted in Thuckalay Diocese very effectively. The sisters of different congregations in the diocese, are engaged in this programme. Three of our sisters are fully engaged in this evangelisation and faith formation programme.Sisters visit catholic families of each parish. Most of the families are baptised Catholics but insufficiently evangelised. Sisters take classes for them, teach them how to pray, hear their problems and give counselling to the needy. Recently prayer centre is started at Azhakiyamandapam. Every first saturday one day prayer is held at Alphonsa Prayer Centre. Adoration, class based on the word of God, Praise and worship, Holy Mass and counselling are the different programmes conducted at this centre. People from nearby parishes attend the prayer programme.
"Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom". Education had an important place in our apostolate."True Education aims at the formation of a human person in the pursuit of his ultimate goal" (Const. 81). San Joe Province gives due importance to the apostolate of teaching.St. Michael's Matriculation School, Kattathurai and St. Francis English Medium L.P. School, Mezhakode are two normal schools in the province. Aseer Vidyalaya, Thettiode and Assisi Vidyalaya, Chenamkode are two special schools for the Mentally Challenged children established in the province. Four sisters are working in the schools of the Diocese and three sisters in St. Joseph's High School Pilankalai managed by CMI Fathers.The English Medium Nursery class which was started on 6th June 1984 at Kattathurai has now grown into a fully developed Matriculation School with 905 students and 52 members as staff. The English Medium Nursery class started at Mezhakode in July 1994 has now developed as St. Francis English Medium L.P. School with 350 students and 25 members as staff. Children from families of all castes and religion are admitted in our schools. Throug these institutions we try to imporve the culture of the people inculcating values in the students as well as in the society. Besides, sisters teach catechism conduct awareness classes for parents and also they are engaged in parish work. The two special schools Aseer Vidyalaya Thettiode and Assisi Vidyalaya, Chenamkode were started in 1991 and 2000 respectively. Now altogether 120 M.R. children are given training in these schools.Wonderful improvements are seen in the behaviours and skills of the children. They are given practice in cultural programmes sports and games. They could win prizes and medals in the cultural programmes, sports and gaes. The students are trained in saying prayers and Rosary. arents of these handicapped students are given awareness classes in dealing with their M.R. children. The parents who had once considered their M.R. children as a curse to their family now accept these children as a blessing to the family.
"When our Lord Jesus Christ was in this world he held many people of their physical and mental diseases.He continues this work today with the help of those who engaged in the care of the sick"(Const. No. 85).Though San Joe Province has no hospitals and dispensaries of its own, four of our sisters are working abroad in hospitals as nurses. Sr.Vineetha and Annett are working at "Spital Zentrum, Oberwallis, Brig Switzerland. Sr. Vandhana and Letha are working at St.Vincentius Krankenhaus. Karlsruhe, Germany. They learned the foreign language and try to express their ideas in the language of German.The nursing sisters share the Love and Mercy of Jesus with the sick.The suffering patients feel the healing touch of Jesus through the hands of the sisters. Besides the nursing duty they give awareness classes to the women on health and hygiene. Along with physical healing the sisters try to impart spiritual healing through prayer and power of the word of God. Many old men and women who do not experience the concern and care of their own children get consolation, concern, care and love from our sisters.They are much grateful to the nursing sisters.
Here in Tamil Nadu our sisters visit the sick and terminally diseased persons in their family and extend helps to them.They clean their wounds, give bed bath to bedridden persons read Holy Bible for them and pray for them. The sick and the suffering people get much relief and consolation.The sisters visit them often and serve the sick with sympathy and tenderness.Following the sublime example of our father St. Francis the sisters visit the hospitals and do the needed help to the poor and the sick
"Like members of one family we must serve each other, stiriving for the well-being of the society" (Const No. 82 Each convent is engaged in some kind of social work to give consolation and joy to the poor villagers around the convent.Emphasis is given for the empowerment of women and children. According to the decision of the Provincial Synaxis 20% of the income is set apart for social service.Two institiutions, one stabiliser assembling unit at Kattathurai namely Mahima Electronics and another Garment centre,Thettiode namely "Anugraha Garment Centre" were started in 2006 and 2011 respectively.A Balika Bhavan namely Alphonsa Balika Bhavan had been established on 25th October 1985 at Azhakiyamandapam.Now about 15 girls studying from std 1-X are given food and lodging here. They are from poor broken families. Two sisters are incharge of the Balika Bhavan.We try for the spiritual as well as physical well-being of the children. Here in this part of Tamil Nadu many people both young and old are addicted to alcoholism.The sisters visit their houses and get first hand information about the condition of their family.Such people are sent for counselling and medical treatment.The members of their family are given awareness about the bad effects of alcoholism and how to deal with the drunkards.Many of them are taken to retreat centres.