For more than 35 years, young men have joined our mission in India,
answering the Lord’s call to be Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.
Today, 71 priests and 14 professed brothers are fulfilling a shared vision
to bring the compassion of the Sacred Heart to those in need.
Journeying together in the love of the Sacred Heart
In India, training to be an MSC priest is a long process, involving spiritual, intellectual, pastoral, and personal formation. The formation programme takes 10-12 years, and is divided into several stages, each focusing on different aspects of personal and spiritual development: Pre-Novitiate Formation, Graduation in Philosophy, Novitiate and Post-Novitiate Pastoral Year, and Graduation in Theology.
Pre-Novitiate Formation takes place at our formation house, Hridayalaya (the Temple of the Heart), which is situated in Mysore, a city located around 160km south-west of Bangalore. Here, a great emphasis is placed on academic and intellectual formation during the two-year Pre-Novitiate programme, ranging from spoken English for new students, to sermon preaching as deacons. As many of our students with vocations come from rural backgrounds, they require intensive training in English.
A spirit of community life is a core focus at every stage of formation. Members of the community wake up to pray together, celebrate the Holy Eucharist together daily, and spend time in meditation in order to deepen spiritual awareness. Students are trained in music, singing, washing, cleaning, cooking, and driving. The students themselves take responsibility for organising the kitchen and the weekly grocery shop, while they also take care of the garden, and must ensure that the house is kept clean and tidy. A great sense of brotherhood is nurtured here, as members celebrate birthdays and special occasions together in the spirit of family.
At present, there are 17 students and three priests in the Hridayalaya community, studying scripture, spirituality, and the history and vision of the MSC mission. Mysore student ministry includes parish ministry, education for underprivileged children, youth ministry, visits to the elderly, and prison visits, along with a dedicated daily routine of prayer, study, household chores, gardening, and meditation. After completing their Pre-Novitiate programme, students will begin a three-year graduate and philosophy programme.
MSCs in India are appealing for help with funding
college and boarding fees for the formation programme,
including travel, food, and expenses, at a total of €17,550.
Family of the heart
From humble beginnings, with just 20 students when it opened its doors in 2006, the Chevalier Academy Matriculation School in Dindigul now cares for and educates 800 students. “Mrs Mary” has dedicated over a decade to serving the needs of students and staff as care-taker at the school for the past 15 years.
In turn, MSCs have taken care of Mary, a widow, by providing an education for her three daughters. One is now working, another has dedicated her life to the Lord, having joined a religious sisters’ congregation, and the youngest is currently studying nursing.
Now, the MSC Indian Union are raising funds to build a house for Mary, who currently lives in a thatched shed with no electricity, no security, and no proper facilities. The Irish Province of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart are helping to fund the project, which will cost approximately €15,400 in total, removing the fear of an uncertain future for Mary and creating a safe, secure space in which Indian MSCs can provide accommodation for generations to come. In the spirit of our founder, Fr Jules Chevalier MSC, who believed that “our spirit is one of love for justice and concern for all, especially the very poor,” MSCs in India continue to extend the hand of friendship, support, and God’s love to our extended family of the heart, in response to the signs of the time and the needs of the people.
“Please keep us in your prayers as we continue in sharing our mission to love through our Formation Programme. With sincere gratitude for your support; we will keep you in our prayers during our daily mass, our every prayer, and at every meal.”
~ Fr Darwin Thatheus MSC
Indian Regional Superior