Thousands of lives all around India are being saved and encouraged for being successful individuals by Catholic missionaries.  The Missionaries of Francis De Sales (MSFS) is one of the congregations, through various activities of mercy and compassionate love, continue the vision of St Francis De Sales to the betterment of humanity.

The vision of St. Francis De Sales is fulfilled in various parts of the country like in Bangalore, Manglore, North East, Chennai and in Mumbai. One such example is of the Mermier Bal Ashram in Koperkharne, Navi Mumbai established in 1996, under the guidance of Fr.Francis Mulckal and members of MSFS.  Through the present managing director, Fr. Abraham Vetuvelil, these missionaries impart Christ to one another especially the underprivileged and the street children through the acts of compassion like providing them with the shelter, proper health, schooling and skills which helps these children to become self-sufficient. Along with providing shelter to these children in the ashram the missionaries also go to different areas in Mumbai to provide basic schooling and education to the unprivileged children and youth. They call it the ‘School on Wheels’ which runs for six days in a weak spreading knowledge and smile on each child they come across.

The Church celebrate the feast of St. Francis De Sales on 24th January, who was born on 21st August 1567 in Geneva, Switzerland.  Being an intelligent and a scholastic giant, his desire to be a priest was faced disagreement from his father. He accepted priesthood and later became the bishop of Geneva.  His motto was, “He who preaches with love, preaches effectively.”  He wanted to bring people close to the church through his preaching and writings. Along with St Jane he found a new religious community called The Order of Visitation in Annecy on 6thJune 1610. His most striking quality wasthe compassionate love for the people and offering good life and making the people come more close to Christ. He died on December 28, 1622, and was beatified on January 8, 1661 and canonized on April 19, 1665 by Pope Alexander VII.

After his death his visions and teachings were revived in the 19th century.The Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales (M.S.F.S.), founded by the Abbé Pierre Mermier in 1838, were the first congregation to adopt his spirituality in the 19th century. His legacy is still continued by the priests of this congregation.

Inputs from Ms. Liz Thomas


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