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    The Religious Institute, Salesian Missionaries of Mary Immaculate constitutes the Missionary Branch of the Society of the Daughters of St. Francis de Sales. This Society was founded by Fr. Henri Chaumont, a priest of the diocese of Paris and Mme Carre de Malberg on 15th October 1872. The members of the Society were women of all walks of life, single or married or widows. Rome granted the Society the final approbation on 26th April 1911.

    Since the beginning of the Society, the Founder awakened in the members, a missionary enthusiasm which gradually evolved into a ‘Guild of fervent prayer’ for the conversion of non-Christian women. This was known as the ‘Association of Mary Immaculate’. The Founder had contact with many bishops in mission countries who narrated to him the difficulties of missionaries to evangelize the womenfolk.

    The need of women auxiliaries in the missions was keenly felt by them. Some of the bishops who visited Paris spoke at the meeting of the Association of Mary Immaculate. Moved by it, the Founder & the young Society decided to send some of its members to the mission field to help the priests. Several members who were free from family obligations resolved to dedicate their lives entirely to the service of the missionary activity of the Church. These members were given a specific missionary formation in addition to their formation as Daughters of St Francis de Sales. Four of them Mother Marie Gertrude, Mother Marie de Kostka, Sr. Madaleine and Sr. Joseph were chosen to be the first missionaries. At the request of the Bishop of Nagpur, they left for India on 12th October 1889.

History     Gifted with exceptional talents and burning faith, Mother Marie Gertrude had already an important responsibility of formation in the Society. With the solid formation that she had from the Founders in person, she was the best suited person to lead the band of new Catechist Missionaries in India. They reached Nagpur on 2nd November 1889 and were accommodated temporarily with the Sisters of St. Joseph in the Old Palace at Tulacibag put at the disposal of the diocese by the Rajah of Nagpur.

    The diocese of Nagpur was just bifurcated from the diocese of Visakapatanam and was entrusted to the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales. Fr. Joseph Tissot, the Superior General of the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales was a great friend of Fr. Chaumont. It was through Fr. Tissot that the Bishop of Nagpur had invited the new missionaries. Our first missionaries led by Mother Marie Gertrude were very happy to work with the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales having the same spirituality. Our sisters were called as Catechist Missionaries of Mary Immaculate.

    The first few months were spent in learning the language of the place. When they were able to speak a little Marathi, they started a dispensary at Untkhana, ‘the Poor House’ which was an asylum for the incurable and the handicapped given to their charge by the Bishop of Nagpur.

    Later the CMMI (Catechist Missionaries of Mary Immaculate) were shifted to a bungalow offered by the Bishop. Thus the Convent of Mary Immaculate was started on 25th March 1890. The Founder wanted them to evangelize the non-Christian women and to cater to the needs of the poorest of the poor by friendly contacts and home-visits. At the request of the Bishop they took up the Marathi School which was a very good means to have contact with women and to uplift them. Gradually their activities spread rapidly in various fields like medical, education, social works and pastoral activities. In March 1900, Mother Marie Gertrude was called to Tamilnadu under providential and unexpected circumstances, to establish a mission in the newly erected diocese of Kumbakonam. In the course of time several houses sprang up in North and South of India.

    Mother Marie Gertrude consumed with love for God and for souls, worked for the development of the society in India, China & Bangladesh. She breathed her last on 18th March 1905 in Dacca during her visit. Now her mortal remains rest in the chapel of Mary Immaculate Convent, Nagpur.  
According to the Founder’s desire, Mother Marie Gertrude had accepted a few Indian candidates for religious life while she was alive. Later on the Catechist Missionaries started to train Indian sisters in the diocese of Nagpur, Kumbakonam, Bangalore and Salem at the request of the Bishops.  As a result they were formed with the same Spirituality.

    The name ‘Catechist Missionaries of Mary Immaculate’ was changed into ‘Salesian Missionaries of Mary Immaculate’ during the General Chapter in 1954. The missionary branch of the daughters of St Francis de Sales became autonomous in 1968. It then became an Institute of Pontifical Right on 26th April 1968 which remains as a part of the Society of Daughters of St. Francis de Sales.

    Today the SMMI are spread in five continents: Europe, Asia, Africa, North & South America & Oceania having the head quarters at Gentilly, France. There are eight provinces and & six Regions with 175 communities which makes a total of 1401 sisters.

Address of our Generalate:

Mission Generale

17, Impasse Villa Remond

94250 Gentilly