Around 160 km south-west of Bangalore lies the village of Mysore, where the MSC Formation House of Hridhayala (the Temple of the Heart) welcomes young men who wish to dedicate their lives to the shared vision of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.
Here, these candidates spend two years in pre-novitiate study, preparing for entry into missionary life. The MSC community in India have been ministering to the poor, the sick, and the needy for over 30 years, and with the positive presence of their ministry felt across the country, more young men take up the call to action with every passing year.
Dedication to God’s love
In 2005, the Indian Union established that there was a need for a formation house, solely dedicated to the training of these candidates. Hridhayala was built with the generous aid of other MSC provinces; however, only 40% of the construction was completed with this funding, and the house remained in this unfinished state for over 10 years.
In the summer of 2016, only the dormitories had been built according to the original plan, and so these rooms had to be utilised in a number of different ways. While the original plan for the house also included a dining hall, a chapel, a library, a kitchen, a living space, and classrooms, none of these were completed, and for over a decade, students ate, slept, learned, and prayed in the dormitory spaces available.
In 2016, the Irish Province of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart highlighted the difficulties faced by students at Hridhayala in their annual summer appeal, raising funds to finish the construction of the formation house and provide the community here with a functional space in which they could live and study comfortably.
The Temple of the Heart
The young men that study here are dedicated, enthusiastic students, who spend their first year mastering the English language, and their second year studying scripture, spirituality, and the history and vision of the MSC mission. The MSC formation programme runs from June until April, and during this time, the pre-novitiates rise at 6.00am every morning, before spending their days in a busy routine of prayer, study, household chores, gardening, and meditation.
The community at the Temple of the Heart are devoted to their work, yet they had been encountering daily struggles as they squeezed into cramped, uncomfortable surroundings in a building that remained incomplete and in a state of disrepair for over 10 years. The number of candidates who apply for the pre-novitiate programme increases every year, as the valuable work of the MSC community makes its presence felt across the shantytowns and impoverished communities of India. However, the formation house at Mysore has been extremely restricted in the number of candidates it can accept, as living conditions have been inadequate and facilities very limited.
Building this formation house is not just a matter of bricks and mortar, but involves the construction of a dedicated, tightly-knit community who are united in their faith. Thanks to the help and support of our mission friends in the Irish Province, much-needed renovations are now underway, and the MSC community at Mysore can continue to educate future generations of missionaries as they dedicate their lives to helping others and demonstrating the reality of God’s love in the world around them.