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HISTORY OF THE JMJ SOCIETY IN INDIA


The establishment of the Society of J.M.J. in India began  in 1904 with the invitation from His Grace Archbishop Mgr. J. Aelen of Madras of which A.P. was a part. His grace had confidence that the sisters would help to develop the most backward area of A.P. Mill Hill missionaries were working in the Diocese, many of whom were Dutch, and this may have been the inspiration behind – the invitation of JMJs to India. The then Superior General Sr.Seraphine Pullens accepted the invitation and prepared the Sisters to take up the mission
The seven Dutch pioneers - Sr.Seaphique Kluten, Sr. Michaeli Schoten, Sr.Elizabeth Helsloot, Sr.Elza Van de Helm, Sr.Luibini Debets, Sr.Xaverini Gijsmen and Sr.Stanislaus Terwindt  (Mission Superior) reached Guntur, A.P, India on   February 24, 1904 and were welcomed by Archbishop and   his secretary. They had improvised a convent to accommodate the Sisters and soon our pioneers started their missionary work.
Many young girls offered themselves to live the way of the life of the JMJ Dutch Sisters. In 1907 with the approval of the Bishop of Den Bosch, Mother Seraphine Pullens in consultation of the ordinary of the Diocese, Bishop Aelen, the native congregation was started. They were called ‘Hand Maids' or ‘Ammagarlu'.

In 1969, the Dutch Sisters handed over the administration to the Indian Sisters. Sr. Josepha Rachamalla took charge as the first Indian Provincial. During her term of office the Provincial House was shifted from Guntur to Hyderabad on April 28th, 1970. She was Provincial for two terms. There were 14 JMJ convents in three states, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. JMJ spread to 18 new presences in 12 years time and also expanded to Tamil Nadu. Sr. Anna Maria Gali succeeded Sr. Josepha Rachamalla as the provincial superior in 1981.

The Indian Province was divided into three autonomous provinces namely Hyderabad, Bangalore and Guntur. They began functioning from 1st July, 1987. Sr. Anna Maria Gali, Sr. Joannette Mallavarapu and Sr. Rosina Antony were the first Provincials respectively. The most important motive for this division was to solve the problem of covering long distances, which demanded great deal of energy and time. At the time of division, there were 39 houses in six states namely Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.