Congregation marks its centenary

To mark their centennial celebrations, the Congregation of Immaculate Conception (CIC) today officially opened Marian World, a museum which encapsulates their 100-year-old ministry.

The new building in the southern city of Madurai was opened by chief guest and Nuncio to India Salvatore Pennacchio.

Dedicated to Mother Mary, Marian World, with winding pathways showcases the history, development and activities of the congregation in pictures, models and on film.

After the official opening, the Nuncio joined scores of bishops and priests to celebrate Mass at the Nirmala school campus in the city.

In a traditional greeting, 100 students studying a B. Ed course run by the nuns welcomed the celebrants to the altar on a specially-erected stage.

Later, centenary souvenir, books and CDs were also released.

During the celebrations, 25 lay people, who have worked with the nuns for over 25 years, were handed keys to new houses. Senior teachers were also honored.

Over 600 CIC nuns attended the event. Also present were guests from Zambia and Sri Lanka where members of the congregation are working.

Among the special guests were the Periera Family, who trace their roots to the family of Father Augustine Pereira, one of the founders of the congregation.

The CIC was founded in a village in Tamil Nadu’s Dindigul district by three priests – Fathers Eugene, Julius and Augustine, the first two being Jesuits.

Four young women joined the priests in serving the local community there during the 1899 famine.

Later, the women became “Beates” and started their own community which was under the Madurai Mission. The congregation was started in July 1911.

Today, CIC has over 1,000 nuns working mostly in Tamil Nadu and other southern states as well as in Bihar, Jharkhand and Maharastra. They also have a presence in South Africa and Italy besides Sri Lanka and Zambia.

The congregation also has 164 convents, and administers schools and colleges, hospitals, as well as medical and counseling centers.

Sister Agnes Xavier is the Superior-General.