Sisters of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (SVM) is a diocesan Congregation in the Archeparchy of Kottayam. Mgr. Mathew Makil, the Vicar General of Bishop Charles Lavinge and later the Vicar Apostolic of Changanacherry realized the crucial role of women in the formation of the family and thereby in the upliftment of the society. It was his great desire to start a religious congregation to provide the desirous Knanaya women with the opportunity to respond to the divine call and through them to fulfill his vision of uplifting the society by the holistic development of women at large. His dream became a reality when the first visitation convent was blessed on June 24, 1892 at Kaipuzha, Kottayam District on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The charism of SVM is to follow the gentle, humble Jesus and to attain the Christian perfection through religious life. The Motto of this Congregation is ‘Live † Jesus’. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the source and perfection of SVM charism and the Blessed Virgin Mary of Visitation is the perfect model and first patron. St.Francis de Sales, St.Jain de Chantal, St. Margaret Mary are the other heavenly patrons. Sr. Mary Eliza and Sr. Mary Margret are the pioneer members of this Congregation. At present, there are 573 sisters working in India and abroad by practicing the earnestness of the founding-father who was blessed with uncompromising faith, deep prayer experience, unexceptional love of neighbor and untiring suffering on the basis of the gospel values.
Activities of the Institution (Congregation)
The specific apostolate of SVM is to lead the people of God especially the womenfolk to the salvific love of Jesus. The mission of the congregation is the development of the individual, family and community especially the women folk and children through education, medical care, parish ministry, family renewal program, counseling and other charitable activities based on gospel values.
Various are the apostolate that this congregation has been actively taking part since its birth emphasizing catholic formation and empowerment of women. Being very confident about the role of education in the comprehensive growth of a person, the founder father at the very beginning itself started a school. Presently, from nursery schools to professional colleges, our sisters provide value based education without discrimination of caste, creed or religion.
Sisters of this congregation have been doing honorary nursing service in Kottayam District Hospital since 1917. Realizing the needs of the hour, the congregation has set up a hospital in Kidangoor comprising 250 bed facility and a nursing College. Various hospitals under this diocese, dispensaries, government Medical College and District Hospital Kottayam are blessed with the services of our sisters.
Home missions, Christeen programmes, Counseling centers, Rehabilitation centers for the mentally challenged, hostels, technical schools, tailoring centers, parish apostolate and various women empowerment programs, are also undertaken by our sisters.
Visitation Sisters had begun their missionary services in 1950’s. Kallissery, Kuttoor, Ranni, Punaloor are some of the places gifted for receiving our services during that period. The congregation dedicated its vigor and energy to those who migrated to Malabar seeking better fortune. The wonderful services of our sisters in the refugee camps in Bangladesh in 1971 remain still fresh in our memory.
Our sisters started mission services at Anandnagar and Bhagvanpura in the diocese of Khandwa at M.P in 1983. They are actively participating in the educational, pastoral, health care and other developmental activities through schools, hospitals, social work, Self help groups and other humanitarian activities. Our Bangalore mission was started in1997. Our Higher secondary school at Bangalore caters to 2042 students out of which 1834 are Hindus, 190 Christians and 18 Muslims.
Our sisters started rendering free services at Tanzania, South Africa in 1984. The people of Mafinga in Tanzania secured greater heights in social and religious sectors thanks to the selfless services of our sisters. Besides, the sisters from Tanzania were provided with opportunity to have their education in Kerala. We are actively involved in the pastoral and humanitarian services in other countries also Germany, Switzerland, Italy and U.S.A.
The training given here enables the aspirants to give individual and sincere reply to the vocation they are selected for. The aspirants are required to have minimum S.S.L.C qualification. After a preliminary training for one year, they are sent to plus two course. The training encompasses one year postulancy, Novitiate for two years that leads to first profession. The visitation congregation has its central home at S.H mount Kottayam.
Visitation congregation that started before the birth of Kottayam Diocese crosses 129 years in its services. The Holy mediator before the Heavenly Throne, Servant of God Mathew Makil, keeps us in the sacred Heart of Jesus and in the holy Bosom of the Virgin Mary.
SVM at a glance: Members: 573
Hostels and Boardings: 12
Communities in other institutions: 14
Superior General : Sr. Dr.Karuna SVM
For further information visit svmcongregation