MAR TOMA SAHODARIKAL
Sisters of St. Thomas , Monastery Sui Iuris
Bet Toma Dayra
Palamattom, Kurumpanadom PO
Kottayam Dist., Kerala, India 686536
The Pioneer Sui Iuris Monastery for women in the Syro-Malabar Church
A Dayra (Monastery) is the prophetic place where creation becomes praise of God and the precept of concretely lived charity becomes the ideal of human co-existence; it is where human being seeks without limitation or impediment, becoming a reference point for all people, bearing them in his heart and helping them to seek God…
(Orientale Lumen 9)
The Monasticism has always been the very soul of the Eastern Churches. Realizing the need of the presence of monastic communities in Syro-Malabar Church the community of Mar Toma Sahodharikal (Sisters of St. Thomas) was founded on 3rd of July 1988.
MILE STONES IN THE HISTORICAL WAY OF THE FOUNDATION
Having personally and independently contemplated on the need for monastic communities in the Syro Malabar Church for several years, Mar Joseph Powathil, the then eparchial Bishop of Kanjirapally, Fr. Xavier Koodapuzha, a Professor of Paurastya Vidyapitham, Kottayam, Fr. Quriaqos Elijah Vadaketh CMI, then a member of the CMI novitiate house at Kappadu and Fr. Varghese Pathikulangara CMI, a professor of Dharmaram College, Bangalore, met together in 1983, discussed and meditated over the viability of such a spiritual movement, and finally decided to commit themselves to make it a reality.
Mar Joseph Powathil
Rev. Dr. Xavier Koodapuzha
Rev. Dr. Quriaqos Elijah CMI
Rev. Dr. Varghese Pathikulangara CMI
From 28 to 30 of April 1985, they met together at Nallathanny near Murinjapuzha (Idukki Dist.), in the Eparchy of Kanjirappally and prayerfully deliberated the details of this movement.
- In the course of the discussion, they decided to start two independent and autonomous Monastic communities of the same Family, Mar Toma Sangham; one for the monks, and the other for the nuns, Sisters of St. Thomas. Towards the end of the consultation, they unanimously decided to start immediately the community for the nuns, in the land generously offered for this purpose by the KPMC Trust, Nallathanny. Before they dispersed, the three priest members of the fellowship decided to submit a formal request to Mar Joseph Powathil, eparchial Bishop of Kanjirapally in order to get ecclesial sanction for this movement.
- After continued discussions and consultations from 9 to 10 of May 1988, a vocation camp was organized by the four pioneers of the movement in the Spirituality Center, Vidyanagar, Kottayam and selected a few candidates to the proposed monastic community. A similar camp was organized on 1 June 1988 in St. Thomas Apostolic Seminary, Vadavathoor, and selected a few others.
- In the meantime the pioneers contacted the Mother Provincial of SABS St. Thomas Province, Changanacherry and requested the service of Rev. Sr. Roselit SABS, a veteran novice mistress in that community, for helping out and forming the new candidates at the initial stage.
Rev. Sr. Roselit SABS
- On 1 July 1988 the first batch of candidates started their monastic life at Mar Tomagiri, Nallathanny under the guidance of Rev. Sr. Roselit SABS. Two of the pioneers, Rev. Fr. Xavier Koodapuzha and Fr. Quriaqos Elijah Vadaketh CMI were deputed to give them right orientation. Under their guidance, the candidates made a recollection for making a definitive decision for monastic life on Dukrana day, 1988. After the recollection, five girls, Meyyamma Joseph Ninaparampil, Lillykutty Mathew Kavunkal, Lillikutty Chacko Thennammackal, Jaisamma Augusty Nadukududil and Lizykutty Kurian Karakattu, in the pattern of the five wise maiden (Mt. 25, 2) in the Gospel, opted for the monastic life.
The first candidates with the founder, pioneers and the mistress
(From Left) Rev. Sr. Roselit SABS, Lillikutty Chacko Thennammackal, Meyyamma Joseph Ninaparampil, Rev. Dr. Quriaqos Elijah CMI, Rev. Dr. Xavier Koodapuzha, His Grace Mar Joseph Powathil, Rev. Dr. Varghese Pathikulangara CMI, Jaisamma Augusty Nadukududil, Lizykutty Kurian Karakattu and Lillykutty Mathew Kavunkal,