Vision and Mission
We, the sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary cultivate a vision and a dream of personal sanctification striving to establish the kingdom of God following the example of our Master, the Risen Lord.
We love ourselves with a sense of evangelization in the catholic education of the society especially of women. We also undertake other apostolic ministries – health care, care of the aged, pastoral and social service – to achieve the specific objectives and Charism of our Congregation.
Motto:Love and Sacrifice
Symbols:Burning Candles – Light of Christ
Rose among thorns – Fullness of Love through sacrifice.
Charism:The Sanctification of sisters for the sanctification of Women.
Cross and spiral:Growth in sanctification of the Sisters in the seven Continents of the World.
Bird eager to fly:Women eager to become sanctified
FIHM, the first Religious Congregation for women focusing on the education of women in Pondicherry in the Roman Catholic Church, was founded as the Third Order of Franciscan on 16th October 1844 at Pondicherry by very Rev. Fr. Louis Savenian Dupuis, M.E.P. (1806-1874). Rooted in the Indian Culture, nourished by the heritage of St. Francis of Assisi, FIHM took its form as an offshoot of the Franciscan family.
In the early 1800s, the percentage of literacy among women went down very rapidly owing to the Muslim rule. Society as a whole became prejudiced against Female Education. It was then that Fr. Louis Louis Savenian Dupuis, M.E.P. felt the need of education to women to build up strong families.
The Sisters of FIHM continue a rich heritage devoted to promoting social justice as a way to peace. From the beginning we have involved ourselves in ministries of social service, education, health care and evangelisation working directly with the poor and sick, providing housing and care for women, orphans and blind children and adults, and, as need arose, established schools and hospitals. We emphasise the Village Adoption to ensure the spirituality, health and education of the members of the village. A special mention on the Social rehabilitation given to the prisoners is worth mentioning.
Visiting the sick, abandoned and the oppressed by house and hospital visits provide ample solace to the affected. Though the congregation has added a number of other activities as per the needs of the times, Educational work has become the prime importance to the congregation. Today, God’s guidance is ever present with the Congregation. For this blessing of new life, growth, and the call to serve, we thank God.
As FIHM Sisters, our founding spirit calls us to further the work of peace. We are motivated, challenged and inspired by our charism of “The sanctification of Sisters for the sanctification of women” and the motto Love and Sacrifice. By sanctification of sisters we mean that Christ is the fullness of our life both human and divine and that the Kingdom of God is the aim of our service for the sanctification of women through catholic education.
Education based on catholic values for women will pave the way to improve the conditions of family and society and thus enable the sanctification of women.
We share a sense of gratitude for who we are and of enthusiasm for what we can accomplish together. Our intimacy with God unifies our prayer and activity so that we are moved to action by prayer while action urges us to pray.
We are called to root our lives in a deeply prayerful and discerning spirit which flowers in actions for justice, especially for poor people and for women and children.
Landmarks / chronology of FIHM
Founded:On 16.10.1844 as a” pious Association” by Rev.Fr. Louis Savinien Dupuis of Missions Etrangeres de Paris at Pondicherry.
Erected:In 1864 as a “Diocesan Congregation” by Msgr. Stephen Godelle, Vicar Apostolic of Pondicherry.
Affiliated:On 18.07.1886 to the Third Order of St.Francis of ASSISI.
Bifurcated:On 07.04.1947 as
1. FIHM – Pondicherry
2. FIHM – Quilon
Divided:On 21.05.1978 into Three Regions
Elevated:On 25.09.1978 to the “Pontifical Status” by his Holiness Pope John Paul I
Established:On 23.05.1990 as Three “Provinces”
Our Lady of Lourdes, Pondicherry – Cuddalore.
St. Joseph – Trichy
Infant Jesus – Madurai