Father Jose Kaimlett always considered helping the needy and the suffering as his vocation and mission. Even before the foundation of the religious societies of Heralds of Good News and Sisters of Good News he had established several institutions to take care of the poor, the needy and the sick. Rehabilitation center for the physically handicapped at Thangilammudi, Eluru, different leprosy rehabilitation centers around Eluru and the soup kitchen for the hungry at Nirmalagiri are only some of them.
Father Jose wanted to do something substantial for alleviating suffering and to take care of the less fortunate in the society. His orientation was to set up an organization with committed men and women who would dedicate their energy, time and life in caring for the poor and the sick. So, drawing inspiration from the discourse of Our Lord on the Last Judgment, Father Jose founded the Missionaries of Compassion on the Feast of Mary Help of Christians — on 24th May 2003 in the archdiocese of Hyderabad. The formal ceremony of the foundation was decreed at the Retreat Chapel at Kudakkachira in the Eucharistic Celebration presided over by His Grace Late Archbishop Joji Marampudi. Besides Father Jose, Late Fr. Thomas Eattackakunnel, Frs. Karachira Thomas, Panackal Mathew, Yeruva Ignatius, and a few other priests and several lay faithful, participated in this Eucharistic celebration. During this celebration His Grace Late Archbishop Joji Marampudi approved the preliminary constitutions of the Missionaries of Compassion establishing it as a Public Pious Association with the specific purpose of alleviation of the sufferings of any kind by compassionate service.
In the very initial stage of this new entity, a few priest members of the Heralds of Good News together with other associate members helped out Father Jose in carrying out the mission of this new entity. Though some of these members had requested for a transfer of membership from Heralds of Good News to Missionaries of Compassion, the granting of it was delayed as an extraordinary general assembly of the former was to be held in April 2004. During this Assembly, over 40 priests expressed their desire to work with Father Jose. These members, having individually received the nulla osta from the Council of Heralds of Good News and while awaiting the decision of the Holy See, actively collaborated with the apostolate of the Missionaries of Compassion. Some helped in the formation of its new priests, at first at Nirmalagiri in the house graciously given by the then Bishop Late John Mulagada and later in the Holy Spirit Seminary building at Vangayagudem, Eluru. Others rendered their services in the Homes for the aged at Kudakkachira and Nanguneri, Soup Kitchen at Vangayagudem etc.
The devastating ‘Tsunami’ that hit the mission areas in the morning hours of 26th December 2004, called for urgent action from all the missionaries. With the leadership of Father Jose, Missionaries of Compassion engaged dynamically in the relief activities at the Southern parts of India. Together with the construction of hundreds of houses for those who remained houseless in the catastrophe, a school and an orphanage were established for the tsunami devastated victims. Moreover, Father Jose, conscious of the possibility of natural calamities like ‘cyclone’ and ‘tsunami’ in these coastal areas, constructed a shelter home – ‘Snehalaya’ – to temporarily accommodate the poor victims who otherwise would not have a place of refuge.
In collaboration with ‘Find the Cure’, an Italian non-profit organization comprising mainly of medical doctors, a dispensary and a rural health care center were established at Kozhinjamapara. The president of this organization, Dr. Sciuto Daniele is a very close friend of Father Jose and is an associate member of Missionaries of Compassion. With the support and assistance of the members of this association, Missionaries of Compassion carries out a lot of endeavors especially in the medical field through organizing free medical camps in the villages, campaigns for awareness on hygiene etc.
Within a short span of time, the activities of Missionaries of Compassion were extended to all parts of South India, and the need to have a proper seminary of its own became very urgent. Thanks to the generosity of Mrs. Mary Malarkodi, a very devout Catholic, and her family, the Holy Spirit Minor Seminary of Missionaries of Compassion was built in the few acres of beautiful land donated by them at Ullar, Tamil Nadu.
With the consent of the Holy See through its Decree of 25th January 2009, about 40 members of the Pontifical Society of Heralds of Good News became full-fledged members of Missionaries of Compassion. In the subsequent first general assembly of Missionaries of Compassion held in Hyderabad, some modifications to its constitutions were proposed. After taking into consideration these proposals and the observations from the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the revised constitutions were approved on 25th March 2009 by His Grace Late Archbishop Marampudi Joji. And through the same Decree Missionaries of Compassion was canonically erected as a Clerical Society of Apostolic Life of Diocesan Right.
The members and the associate members of Missionaries of Compassion carry out the mission of alleviating suffering of the poor and needy serving in 11 dioceses in India, 4 dioceses in Italy, two in the USA and two dioceses in Africa. They contribute enormously through their dedication and selfless service in its different institutions. In order to take care of the elderly who are abandoned by the family and the society, Missionaries of Compassion has established four old age homes. It has established also different retirement homes to help to live in a meaningful way the exciting time of retirement of those who otherwise have to spend the evenings of their lives in solitude. Together with the medical and other assistances, the spiritual needs of the inmates are also taken care of.
Another area where Missionaries of Compassion exercise their compassionate service is by taking care of the sick. It was a dream of Father Jose to do something for the poor cancer patients in and around Eluru who do not have access to the only available multinational cancer hospitals in the metropolitan cities. Confiding in the Divine Providence, the foundation stone was laid for the Good Samaritan Cancer Hospital and Hospice, at Vangayagudem, Eluru on 22nd November 2007. The works of this huge project were completed in a short span of time and the hospital became at the service of the poor cancer patients in and around Eluru, from 30th October 2008. Together with the facilities of a general hospital, the Good Samaritan Cancer Hospital now is a 150 bedded with all the modern facilities for diagnosis and treatment for cancer. Missionaries of Compassion has been also conducting free medical camps in the remote villages in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, thanks to the whole hearted service of volunteer doctors of the ‘Find the Cure’, Italy, and local expert doctors and medical assistants. Hundreds of patients who do not have access to the hospitals in the towns benefit from these initiatives.
Even before the foundation of Missionaries of Compassion, Father Jose had established a soup kitchen at Nirmalagiri. After the foundation of Missionaries of Compassion, as a mission of this society, Father Jose has instituted the ‘food for the hungry program’ which is intended to assure a hot meal to hundreds of poor women, children and elderly who do not have the means for a daily meal. Missionaries of Compassion makes significant contributions also in the field of Education and formation. To help with the education of poor children, the society has instituted several schools and hostels. These schools and hostels are beneficial also to children who are abandoned or orphaned. The society also helps in the formation to true faith. With this purpose, it has instituted different retreat centers, perpetual adoration chapels and shrines. At the recently consecrated Shrine of Our Lady of Grace at Aliabad, which was constructed by Father Jose in gratitude to the Heavenly Mother, thousands of faithful gather to pray and profess their faith.
Rev. Dr. Xavier Poovakulam.
AT A GLANCE
|Date of Foundation||24/05/2003|
|Number of Houses|
|Houses of formation|
|Social Service Centre|
|Home for the Destitute|