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Sr M Leena BS
Superior

 

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Convent building

St Joseph's High School, Kankanady

Sohodaya - Socio-pastroral Centre

St Sabastian School - Bendur

St Theresa's school- Bendur

 

The house is situated at Bendur, in the parish of St Sebastian, Mangalore, South Kanara District of Karnataka, India.  It has the status of Mother House which no other house of the Congregation can hold as it housed the first members of the Congregation and saw the inception of the Congregation.

Mgr RFC Mascarenhas, the first Parish Priest of St Sebastian Church, saw the need for a religious institute for women in the Diocese of Mangalore.  As a parish priest of Udyavar, Agrar and Bendur, he learnt that many a young girl heard God’s call to serve in His vineyard. But because of low education, and financial constraints did not know where and how it could be realized.  Secondly, he felt the need of good Catholic lady teachers who could attend to the educational needs of the children and engage themselves in pastoral work. Hence he was inspired to found a Congregation under the patronage of the Little Flower.
He bought a plot of land of ½ acre with a newly built house which he found advertised for sale. Circumstances proved favourable and he went in for it as he had already recruited four lady teachers who had the aptitude for religious life from his own St Sebastian School at Bendur.  The four teachers were Flora Mathias, Marceline Menezes of Falnir, Alice Mathias, Sister of Flora and Regina Gertrude Gonsalves.
 
They were brought together with due instruction and preparation. The moment of moments arrived on July 16, 1921 when they assembled at the parish church as per the direction of Fr Mascarenhas who initiated them into the new life they so far longed for. A community of religious came into existence.  They were housed in the building and plot he had bought for the said purpose and called it ‘Bethany’ after the house of Bethany of Gospel fame. It was here that Jesus found welcome and hospitality during his public ministry. He desired that members of this house would welcome and be hospitable to His people like the inmates of Bethany. But the sisters were Sisters of the Little Flower. However, the people around referred to them as Sisters of Bethany and the founder found it appropriate to add the name of Bethany to the title of the Congregation to differentiate it from other Congregations which he envisioned  might appear in future because of the popularity of our saint.
 
The sisters continued their work of teaching at St Sebastian School, Bendur, and rendered pastoral service in the parish. Their work was appreciated by priests and people of the parish and parishes around, and by 1925 at the invitation of the parish priest of Mai De Deus Church at Puttur, a new branch house, Lisieux Convent was opened on May 29, 1925, under   the patronage of St Therese.

All the important activities of the Congregation continued to take place in the Mother House viz. (a) The canonical erection of the Congregation was the most important event. (b) The first novitiate was housed here with the approval of the Bishop from 1933 to 1952, until it was transferred to Rosa Mystica, Gurpur on May 31, 1952. (c)The Profession of the first group of 54 sisters took place here on 26 May 1934 and the final commitment of 19 of them on May 24, 1937. (d) The residence of the Superior General and her office were here until 1990 when the Generalate was shifted to a new building across the road in February 1991. (e) The First General Chapter after the canonical erection, and all the subsequent General Chapters except the one of 1953 and 1980 were held in the Bethany Mother House.
 
To make more room for the growing number of sisters, to provide accommodation for conducting seminars and retreats to the sisters of the Congregation, a new block was constructed attached to the Mother House, i.e. Pushpalaya block which was inaugurated on July 16, 1970. Later, by renovating the part of the old building, the Snehalaya block was created and was inaugurated on 22 January 2000.  The Bethany Cultural and Spirituality Centre was inaugurated on March 19, 2002.
Perpetual Adoration was introduced in Bethany on 28 October 1935. It was discontinued on 20 December 1942 due to sickness and death of the sisters during the Second World War. It was reintroduced on 16 July 1994 in Bethany Mother House for fourteen hours daily from 8:00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m.

Two chaplains successively resided in the Founder’s Cottage until the year 1999 after which priests from the Bishop’s House catered to the spiritual needs of the community. From the 14th November 2000 up until now the Jesuit Fathers from St Aloysius College give daily Mass at Bethany. The community is grateful to them for their gracious service.

Superiors of Bethany Mother House
1921            : Sr Clare
1924            : Sr Lourdes
1925-1938    : Sr Martha    
1938-1941    : Sr Margaret
1941 - 1944  : Sr Bernard
1944 - 1948  : Sr Celine  
1948-1949    : Sr Gonzaga
1949 -1953   : Sr Priscilla
1954- 1956   : Sr Joseph
1956- 1957   : Sr Annunciata
1957-1959    : Sr Berchmans  
1959-1965    : Sr Joseph
1965-1971    : Sr Honoratha
1971- 1972   : Sr Esperie
1972 -1977   : Sr Honoratha
1977 - 1983  : Sr Medela
1983 -1986   : Sr Evangeline
1986 -1989   : Sr Noel
1989 -1992   : Sr Sarita
1992-1995    : Sr Sharon
1995 - 1996  : Sr Imelda
1996-1999    : Sr Jessy Rita
1999 –2002   : Sr Mariette
2002-2004    : Sr Sandhya
2004-2007    : Sr Lilly Ange
2007-2010    : Sr Juliana Monis
2010-2013    : Sr Shubha
2013-2016    : Sr Sandhya
2016-           : Sr Leena Pereira

Year of establishment : 16.07.1921 

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Bethany Generalate
Bendur,
Mangalore-575002
D.K. Dist, Karnataka State
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