As the founder was the vicar of St. Mary’s Church Lalam Palai, the pathetic sights during this evening walks shattered the calm sleep during the night. Because the wandering children in the street, without the care of a father, without the loving touch of the mother, having nobody to love, quarrelling each other. all these heart rendering scenes disturbed him so much. At a moment he realized that without finding a shelter for them, he cannot find any peace of mind. The good shepherd who realized the pain of his lost sheep started his journey to find out them and to regain them. He gathered the people of his parish and the local police officers to discuss the pathetic state of these children and some of his parishioners like Mathew Kayyalakkakathu, Cherian Kappan, Kappil Kochettan, Mathew Elavumkal supported his plan to restore the lost children of the streets. Dreaming the safe future of these children, father Abraham planned to start a home for them and the generous people of his parish supported his humanitarian dream as they could, and on 5th April 1959 he started the first Boys Town. It was a shore of hope to many children who were destined to end their beautiful childhood through the streets. All the parishioners of the Lalam Church supported this new step as they could. There was a young man named Mr. P J Thomas Pallankal to help Fr. Abraham in his service for the children.
Without delay a new house was started for the wandering girls in his own parish Kozhuvanal on 15th August 1963. Chinnamma Kaippanplackal (later Sr. Arpitha SMS) and Mary Manjappallil took care the girl children. Then the kind – hearted priest turned his attention to the desolated aged people and without delay, a home was build for them related to Boys Town namely Dayabhavan. Following the compassionate love of Jesus, he shared the compassionate love to the suffering without any barriers of cast, creed or religion. Within few years, the kindness and self-giving love broke the barriers of place and flourished to different parts of Kerala.
At this divine moment, the Holy Spirit evoked a new dream in his mind about starting a new Congregation for the care of this abandoned people. Inspired by the divine call and spirit of the founder 10 young women came forward with a desire to dedicate themselves for the service of the poor. With the consent and blessings of the then Bishop od Palai, Mar Sbestian Vayalil, Fr. Abraham received the 10 vibrant young girls to the commencement of a new congregation. They were:-
The formation of the first members was in the first house of Snehagiri, Snehalayam. Two vibrant nuns from the Sacred Heart Congregation Sr. Mary Ursula and Sr. Rose Mary were appointed as formators in the religious formation of the first members along with the founder. After 6 months Aspirancy, 6 months Postulany and 1 year canonical Novitiate, the 10 members were devoted themselves as the founding members in Snehagiri. They entered in the Postulancy on 1st October 1969 and in Novitiate on 10th May 1970. Fr. Leopold CMI was the Novice Master.
The first 10 members committed themselves to Jesus through three vows obedience, chastity and poverty , in the congregation of Snehagiri Missionary Sisters at the Boys Town Chapel before the Patron Mar. Sebastian Vayalil on 11th May 1971. Thus the foundation stone of Snehagiri was laid.
When Rev. Fr. Abraham Kaippanplackal resigned in 1976 due to sickness, Rev. Fr. Mathew Keeranthadam was appointed as the Director of Snehagiri Missionary Sisters and their institutions. On 12th April 1986 Rev. Fr. Augustine Vadakarakalayil was appointed as the next Director of Snehagiri Missonary Sisters and their Institutions. On 15th August 1990 Rev. Fr. Augustine Valummel OCD was appointed as the Spiritual Director of our community. On 7th February 2004 Rev. Fr. Sebastian Thayyil was appointed as the Spiritual Director of the Congregation.
The seeds of the new congregation has sprouted and grown into a large tree within years and Snehagiri started her new missions in and around Pala, in and out Kerala and in abroad within few years . The growth and development of our Religious community during the last 43 years has been praiseworthy. We have 20 houses in the Diocese of Palai, Three houses in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam, Two houses in the Archdiocese of Trivandrum, Two in Mavelikkara, Two in Pathanamthitta, Seven in Thalassery, Four in Changancherry, Three in Idukki and Two houses in Palakkadu, Three houses in Kanjirappally and Four in Kothamangalam Diocese. We have Eight houses in the Ujjain Diocese, Seven houses in Jagadalpur, Two houses in Chanda, Four houses in Mandya Diocese, Four in Sangli Region under Kalyan Diocese. Our sisters are working in the Pastoral Institute of Palai. Sisters are working in five Aged homes in Italy and also doing Pastoral Service in a Parish in the Diocese of Rome. In Germany also sisters are working in four aged-homes.
Our Sisters are engaged in purely humanitarian activities and services. We are rendering service in different charitable institutions such as Bala Bhavans, Old age homes, homes for physically handicaped and mentally challenged people. Besides we conduct Training Centers of various kinds for cutting and Tailoring, Embroidary work, Host Making, Printing etc. We are also doing the Pastoral activies of parish by teaching Catechism, house visiting, conducting Bible classes and Prayer services for the parishioners. In rural areas, Sisters give primary education to the poor children. Due to the numerous problems of the modern families, our sisters are involved in family apostolate.
After the splendid service of 25 years, the Silver Jubilee of our Congregation was celebrated in the year 1993-’94. Our revised constitution and statutes was approved by the Diocesan curia on 20 October 1994. As a reward to our humble service and constant prayers of the congregation on 24th November 1994, the congregation of Snehagiri Missionary Sisters is raised to the status of an Eparchial Congregation in the Syro-Malabar Church.
Mar Joseph Kallarangatt, the Bishop of Palai on 1st March 2006 graciously permitted the snehagiri sisters to initiate the process of raising the Congregation to the Major Archiepiscopal Status. Our revised Statutes and Directives were approved by the Major Archiepiscopal curia on 15 August 2006. On 3rd September 2006, the Snehagiri Missionary Sisters are raised in to the Status of Major Archiepiscopal Congregation by His Beatitude Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil, the Major Archbishop of Syro-Malabar Church. The 11th General Synaxis took place in the Generalate of Palai on 2nd to 9th March 2008. On 3rd March, 2008, the Congregation is structurally divided in to three Provinces namely, St. Thomas Province Pala, St. Mary’s Province Kothamanglam and St. Joseph’s Province, Malabar.
At present the Congregation has 500 professed sisters and 94 candidates undergoing formation. The Sisters are rendering their services in 16 diocese in India and abroad We have 100 houses in and outside Kerala. Karuna Bhavan, the Birth Centenary Memorial of our Founder is blessed for 100 aged men and women at Koothattukulam in Pala diocese on 9th October 2013.