The St. Joseph’s Congregation (SJC) was founded on July 3, 1928 in Kaipuzha in the Archdiocese of Kottayam, by the Servant of God Poothathil Thommiachan with the approval of the then Bishop Mar Alexander Choolapparambil. Fr. Thomas Poothathil, in his great desire to give shelter to the physically handicapped women, raised funds through local collection and helps from abroad. He purchased a plot of land by the side of St. George Forane Church, Kaipuzha, and started the St. Thomas Asylum which was blessed on May 3, 1925 by Bishop Mar Alexander Choolapparmbil. With the opening of St.Thomas Asylum he felt the need of a small number of committed women to take care of the disabled therein. In view of that he asked permission to start a religious congregation for women in the name of St. Joseph. The Congregation was started on July 3, 1928 with the permission of Bp. Mar Alexander Choolapparambil. The first five members were: Sr. Josephina Poothathil of Neendoor, Sr. Thomasia Kollalappara of Koodalloor, Sr. Ignatia Elanjimattathil of Edamattom, Sr. Kochuthresia Paravarakath of Thidanad, and Sr.Magdalena Kollamparampil of Aruvithura. They received their religious formation under the direction of the Founder himself, with the assistance of Sr. Catherine and Sr. Johanna of the Visitation Congregation. On December 24, 1939 Sr. Josephina and Sr. Thomasia made their final profession, and Sr. Josephina was officially appointed Superior of the small community of St. Joseph’s Sisters.
In addition to the Asylum, Fr. Thomas Poothathil founded the St. Thomas U.P. School adjacent to St. Stephen’s Church, Kurumulloor in June 1927, with a view to imparting education to the poor and illiterate children of the locality as well as raising some financial help for the maintenance of the disabled of the Asylum. Sr. Josephina and others served in the school too from its very beginning onwards.
The Founder himself wrote the first Rule of the Congregation. The special charism bequeathed by the founder to the community and lived by the first embers may be expressed as the yoga of Divine Glory and the dasyam of God’s Mercy. The members were trained to live their life in continual praise of God’s glory, transmitting his merciful love to others, especially the poor, abandoned and marginalized. The spirit of the Congregation is succinctly expressed in its motto “Love and Serve”. The Congregation is engaged chiefly in the following apostolic services: care of the physically and mentally disabled, Old Age Homes, Centres for the terminally ill, Care and Support for HIV/AIDS Patients, Hospitals, Schools, Hostels, Parish Ministry, Centres of
Social development of the poor, women etc.
At present the Congregation has over about 60 houses and 383 members. They serve mostly the Archdiocese of Kottayam, the Dioceses of Rajkot, Ujjain as well as places like Delhi, Bangalore etc. Our sisters offer their services also to different centres abroad such as Deggendorf, Munich (Germany), Rome, Torino (Italy), Tenero (Switzerland).