The Beginnings

The seed of God's Love, planted in 1949 in Jamalpur belonging to the Diocese of Patna, Bihar, India by the Notre Dame American poineers and other missionaries from the Christ the King Province, sprouted in due time, got nurtured and grew into a mighty tree. The Province of Our Lady of the Assumption grew stronger and stronger, spreading its branches to other States of Northern India as young religious-minded catholic girls of India, desirous of imbibing St.Julie's spirit and charism joined and strengthened the membership.

Notre Dame has been blessed with leaders of vision with undaunted courage and hope. The periodic political unrest in North and restrictions in admission to Colleges for young Sisters along with the irregularities of Board-examinations in the State of Bihar where the Notre Dame head-quarters and Formation Centers are, made it an urgent need to have a house in South India. Sister St. Thomas, the then Provincial Superior, responded whole-heartedly to the providential sign that came in 1967, in the form of an invitation from Bishop Mathias Fernandes, Bishop of Mysore Diocese, Karnataka , requesting Notre Dame Sisters for future apostolic work. The Indian province in 1969, her twentieth year in the land of Our Lady of the Asssumption spread her apostolate to the South of India, first establishing a study-house on Lalithamahal Road, which later got shifted to Jayalakshmipuram, Mysore and venturing soon after into the ministry of education.

In came another offer of tremendous scope for growth! God's provident care was very much alive in the offer to take up Sophia High School, Bangalore established in 1949 by the Sisters of the Society of the Religious of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Sister St. Thomas, the provincial and her council responded to the offer. It was a golden sign, reviving a holy affinity. The Society of the Religious of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus was founded in Amiens, France in 1804 by a holy French woman of vision, Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat. The congregation of Sisters of Notre Dame also was founded in Amiens, France in 1804 by a holy French woman of vision, Saint Julie Billiart. Both the foundresses were contemporaries and both were spiritually formed under the direction of Rev. Father Joseph Varin. The religious institutions they founded in the aftermath of French Revolution adopted the noble apostolate of educating girls coming from economically privileged and underprivileged backgrounds. Strengthened in the spirit of historical bond and passion for service to the youth, Notre Dame took up Sophia High School in January 1972.

1972 was a special year indeed, as Notre Dame established Sophia Opportunity School on 2nd February for the educational development of mentally challenged children, a ministry dear to the heart of our foundresses.

The successors of Sr. St. Thomas in provincial leadership too were zealous in service to the Church by exploring avenues to make visible the goodness and love of God. The starting of Notre Dame Junior College of Education in 1974 gave impetus to another endearing ministry of our foundersses, namely the Teacher Training.

With the opening of "Karuna Sadan" in 1979 in Somanahalli, Bangalore, for the ministries of pastoral care, social reforms, healthcare, and education and other projects for village women-welfare enhanced the apostolate of Notre Dame in South India.

Within a decade, Notre Dame opened houses in other Southern States for venturing into ministries with Basic Christian Community projects and socio-pastoral services in Vaniakudy and Kandervilagam of Tamil Nadu State [1988] and Parassala, of Kerala State [1992]. As the new millennium dawned, the socio-pastoral ministries expanded to villages of other States: Idichakkaplamoodu and Vettikuzhy of Kerala, Vasai of Maharashtra and Mukka, Mangalore of Karnataka.

Notre Dame reached out further with her educational ministry by establishing Notre Dame School, Vijayanagar, Mysore , Karnataka in 2001; Notre Dame Community College, Kandervillagam, Tamilnadu in 2002, and Notre Dame School, Vasai, Maharashtra in 2004. She also reached out in collaboration with the parish by taking up administration and other educational service for the Holy Spirit English Medium School, Mukka, Mangalore.

For a visible administrative structure and government of the houses in India geographically spread out, the formation of regions were imperative. The houses in the Southern India formed the Southern Region with Bangalore as the regional center.

The Birth of the new province is the blessing special of the new millennium. For further development of ministries and growth of Notre Dame in South India, the Southern Region encompassing the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, was upgraded to status of Southern Province on 18th December 2004. Thus was born the Province of Our Lady of the Visitation with Bangalore as administrative centre. The auspicious day with its grace-filled ceremony of installing the new Provincial-administrative team [Sister Mary Jayanti- the Provincial superior, Sister Mary Jaya- 1st councilor and assistant provincial, Sister Mary Pratima and Sister Mary Aneeta - Councilors. Sister Mary Synthia - Provincial Secretary] and with joy-filled celebration is ever-memorable in history of Notre Dame in India.

Before exploring new avenues of expansion, the newly formed province chose first to stay focused on fortifying the schools that were begun in temporary structures or rooms taken on rental basis. Construction of School buildings with the needed infrastructure for schools begun in Idichakkaolamoodu, Vettikuzhy and Vasai are given utmost priority.

New units invested upon after the formation of province include: Sanwthana Centre in Koramangala for Allergy Elimination Treatment, Notre Dame Academy and convent in Choodasandra, both in Karnataka; Notre Dame Convent and Notre Dame School, Theegarajupally, and Notre Dame Convent, Warangal both in Andhra Pradesh. Our Sisters in Warangal work in collaboration with the Friars Minor of Order of Franciscan Capuchins in running their Assisi English Medium School. To enchance the strength of Notre Dame personnel, a Formation House has been built in Hinkal, Mysore in 2007. The prison-ministry and Hospital Ministry are other challenging ministries taken up by the daring Notre Dames.

The future is risk-filled in today's world, torn apart by political instabilities, communal violence, racial prejudices, religious fundamentalism, consumerism, deteriorating values and scores of other evil forces. Our province, under the second province-leadership of Sister Sandhya (provincial Superior), Sr.Kripa (1st councilor and assiatant), Sr.Pryinka and Sr.Priscilla,(2nd and 3rd councilors); Sr.Sarika (province - treasurer) and Sr.Navya (provincial secretary) forges ahead on the wings of faith and hope, sharing the goodness of God with all people of diverse economic background, culture, creed and language. The charism and the spirit of our holy Foundresses live on as generation after generation of Notre Dames make great strides, witnessing God's goodness and provident care throughout the world!