The Brief History of the Franciscan Sisters of St.Aloysius Gonzaga
Gonzaga Congregation has its origin in a Pious Association with St.Aloysius Gonzaga as its Patron. It was started in Pondy by Italian missionary, Fr.Michael Ansaldo,SJ, in 1775 to take care of the orphans and helpless young widows and to educate the poor exploited outcastes. Two generous women, Anama and Elisa, associated themselves with him for this service. Slowly in the plan of God, this pious group of dedicated women grew into a religious community in 1858. It was affiliated to the Third order Regular of St.Francis of Assisi in 1886 with the kind permission of Pope Leo XII.
The Sisters spread their education ministry beyond the borders of Pondicherry and carried it into Mandalay in Myanmar. The education and fervor of the Sisters for the apostolate of education and to their ministry in Mandalay inspired seven young women to join the Gonzaga Congregation. In 1939, our house at Mandalay was set fire to by the misery that was the aftermath of World War II. But these sufferings and misery did not prevent us from being witnesses to God and from spreading the Gospel Values. God blessed our ministry abundantly during this period in the life of the Congregation which lasted nearly six decades. This was also a period during which the Congregation grew remarkably in numbers and its service to the poor and the needy.
After the World War II, the government of Myanmar imposed strict laws with regard to the missionary activities in Myanmar. The Sisters working in Myanmar lost contact with the Generalate in Pondicherry but thanks to the tireless work of Sr.Babara Mary, the Superior General, in 1979, the Sisters from Myanmar rejoined the Mother Congregation. Conceived by Fr.Ansaldo, a Jesuit, nurtured long by the M.E.P Fathers, supported by the Pondy clergy, all along energized by the Franciscan Spirit, and now renewed by the spirit of Vatican II and the recent General Chapters, the Congregation of the FSAG has come of age, 230 years after her inception, though belated.
Indeed the Roman Decree raising the Congregation of the FSAG to be a papal one, signed on October 4, 1996 and proclaimed on January 19, 1997 is a great confirmation of God’s guiding the Gonzagas by being with them.
Under the dynamic leadership of the present Superior General, Mother Noel Rani, and her team of Councilors and local Superiors, the Gonzagas feel rejuvenated, proclaiming as their motto, “Gospel to the poor”, and recapturing the Spirit of their Founder. At present its wings are spreading out into the four Provinces Pondy, Madurai and Andra in India and one is here in Myanmar.
It has professed Sisters and about initiates in Formation. We have 106 Communities which are in India, Myanmar, Germany and Rome. Now the Province of Myanmar has come of age, 81 years after the arrival of the Congregation to the soil of Myanmar we are contributing to the Universal Church by our compassionate involvement among the poor and helpless.
Trusting in the providence of the Blessed Mother and praying for the patronage of St.Aloysius Gonzaga, we the member of the Congregation join together and march towards the fulfillment of God’s Kingdom of Peace and Joy. At present, the Provincial Superior of Myanmar is Rev.Sr.Mary Flora.
Our special charism is to do all we can to show preferential love and give fuller life to the afflicted in our society especially to the poor, the abandoned women, the helpless children and the like, and thus to try our best to reveal in the Church to all, the Christ who heals the afflicted.
Our Spirit is to follow the purity and self sacrifice of St.Aloysius Gonzaga as well as the detachment and poverty of St.Francis of Assisi and thus to attain the fullness of Joy in Christ.
With the Spirit, we engage our evangelization ministry giving priority to:
~ The explicit announcement of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Redeemer of all people,
~ Social action, includes the care of foundlings,
~ Health Care.
“Jesus’ hand, my hand, the Cross and Lily flower.” Jesus extends His hand and calls me. I join my hands with His and follow Him in the path He trods. This is the symbol of our co-operation with the grace He gives us in the religious life. The holy cross indicates our commitment and the Lily flower signifies the purity that should be ours.