Consoling Sisters of the Sacred Heart, India


In the year 2000, a young lady gave up the world to found an orphanage and old people's home. A few years later, she discovered both the Tridentine Mass and her religious vocation but, unable to attend Mass and frequent the sacraments, she made the bold decision to move her entire orphanage 700km to Palayamkottai, Tamil Nadu to be near the only priory of the Society of St. Pius X in India.

Father Daniel Couture, District Superior in Asia, and Father Patrick Summers, the prior, welcomed Swarna and her children with open arms in January 2006. In her, and in her work, they saw the potential of a marvelous blossoming of the apostolate in the pagan wasteland of India. This article looks back over the last eight years to give witness to the heartwarming miracle of grace that continues to unfold.

Consoling Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Almost a year before Swarna took the brave decision to move her orphanage to Palayamkottai, she visited two religious congregations in Europe with a double intention. The first intention was to find a congregation who would accept her as a postulant, the second was to have the same congregation adopt her orphanage as part of their apostolate. This was a great thing to ask of any community, but the readiness of Consoling Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to embrace both Swarna and her orphanage was a sign of Providence and an answer to her prayers.

The Consoling Sisters are a religious society with public vows dedicated to promoting devotion to the Sacred Heart and also to the Christian formation of girls and women. The mother house is in Vigne, which is about one hour north of Rome, and now comprises a modest 11 professed sisters and 3 postulants. The sisters have placed themselves under the spiritual and temporal guidance of Father Emmanuel du Chalard of the Society of St. Pius X and they help the Society in many ways.

In June 2007, one and a half years after the Servi Domini Orphanage arrived in Palayamkottai, Swarna boarded an airplane for Italy to begin her postulancy with the Consoling Sisters. She left the orphanage in the capable hands of another postulant to the Consoling Sisters, Miss Marie-Blanche Herault of France, together with three Indian postulants who were the first fruits of the their new foundation at Palayamkottai.

The year past quickly enough, Swarna was accepted as a novice, taking the name of Sr. Maria Immaculata, and was professed on 3rd July 2008. With almost, indecent haste she boarded another airplane to return to her tearfully jubilant orphans. For months before, the children had been counting down the days with growing excitement. If any of the classes at school seemed a bit dull, one simply had to ask the question, “How many days until Auntie comes?” and the sleepy children would be transformed instantly into a bright eyed, chattering mêlée. If only it were possible to describe the overflowing joy of the boys and girls on that day. Sister, however, being of a very phlegmatic temperament, showed little more than a placid smile. Fr. Couture came especially for the event, for it marked the close of another chapter in the continuing story of what can only be de-scribed as a beautiful work of Divine Providence.

Since then, two more Indian ladies have been professed, two more are in the novitiate and there is one postulant in India. in addition, two French volunteers have entered the novitiate in Vigne because of their experience in India.

The New Orphanage

Vocations were not the only flowers that bloomed in this unlikely garden; the generosity of many benefactors has permitted the construction of a new orphanage on new land outside the noisy town of Palayamkottai. Fr. du Chalard blessed the first stone of the first building on 29th November 2008 and returned on the feast of the Immaculate Conception in 2009 to bless the elegant edifice which is now the convent for the sisters.

Fairer by far than concrete flowers, however, are the blossoms of virtue which charm all who visit the orphanage. The children, young ladies and elderly from infancy to 86 years old, form a community defined by the bonds supernatural charity. When one sees a young girl patiently feeding an elderly lady or another supporting her as she totters in the cloister, or when one hears the beautiful singing of the choir or surprises a soul deep in prayer in the chapel, one senses the action of sanctifying grace at work. "You can really see the grace growing in them," said Archbishop Lefebvre when speaking of his experience of the mission in Gabon; he would say the same thing here too.

On 23rd September 2010, Fr. Couture blessed the first stone of the second phase of the construction project. There were 28 orphans and elderly occupying the convent building with the sisters, but now that the second phase is complete, the sisters have the convent to themselves and the numbers have increased to 50 girls and 11 elderly. The new building has a capacity for 60 children and 30 elderly, but more vocations are required to look after such a number.  The next project will be the construction of a large church for which the sisters await the signal of Divine Providence.

Veritas Academy

When the Servi Domini Orphanage arrived in 2006 with 16 girls, 8 boys and 7 elderly ladies and invalids, Father Summers, prior of the Most Holy Trinity Priory, Palayamkottai, was obliged to turn his priory into a boys' orphanage and school.

Veritas Academy had been an unrealised dream of the priests at Palayamkottai for many years , but it was only with the arrival of so many children that the critical mass was achieved to found what is now the condition sine qua non of any long term apostolate - a school to teach the faith to the next generation. The school has moved three times since then and started the 2014-15 academic year with 68 pupils in a rented property equi-distant from the priory and girls' orphanage. A sizeable property has been purchased for its final home, but the signs of Providence are awaited before the building contractors are called again.


The influence of Veritas Academy has not just confined itself to the huge expanse of the Indian subcontinent either. In a generous response to appeals for teachers and supervisors, some 110 volunteers have given time to teach at the school or to labour for the mission over the last 8 years. They have come from every inhabited continent and have almost all returned home with happy memories that will never be effaced. Daily Mass, working and playing with the children, bearing with a difficult climate, experiencing a culture and a landscape that is so far removed from any other leaves most of the volunteers enriched with grace and virtue - and a desire to return again. Four ex-volunteers are pursuing religious vocations on account of their experiences in India.

If there is one memory they cherish fondly, it is the innocence of the children. The children at the orphanage have no television, mobile phones, computer games, internet, tasteless music and ugly fashion - and their joy throws the sadness of modern western anti-culture into sharp relief. May this memory serve them well.

The Future

The causa finalis of the Mission in India is to establish a Catholic community with a Catholic culture in which in Catholic families and vocations are formed and nourished. Substantially, there is nothing left of the 2000 year old Catholic culture established by St. Thomas the Apostle; or the Catholic culture which has its roots in the Portuguese colonies of 500 years ago. The ravages of the Second Vatican Council have broken the golden chain that spanned many centuries; the physical structures remain, but they have lost their substance. Enculturation, religious ignorance and materialism have been the hammer blows that have broken this chain and we are fighting hard against an ambient pagan mentality of contraception and materialism to re-forge the links with the past.

The first group of boy orphans who live at the priory have graduated from Veritas Academy. Some are continuing their education, others are learning trades. Our plan is to give them support until they can support themselves - ideally by running their own businesses, or to encourage them to try their vocations if they have the aptitude and disposition.

Already 35 souls have received the sacrament of baptism as a result of the Consoling Sisters' apostolate and 7 old ladies have died fortified by the rites of the Church. Sr. Maria Immaculata is encouraging her girls to continue their academic education and helps them to acquire the qualities and skills of motherhood. Four young ladies have been married and Sister is a "grandmother" eight times over. We still hope for religious vocations from the rest.

Both the priory and the orphanage have attracted potential vocations from among the faithful. In June 2011,  local boy Father Therasian Xavier, was ordained at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Winona and now serves at the priory which is around the corner from his home. At the priory we currently have a pre-seminarian and there are two Indian seminarians at Holy Cross Seminary in Goulburn, Australia. At the orphanage there are two novices and one postulant. The entire community of the Consoling Sisters were originally members of the faithful of the Mission.

Over the last eight years, the Mission has clearly been blessed. We thank all those who have helped the mission with their prayers and sacrifices, and we live in hope for the future. Charity has watered the desert and the flowers that now grow there are as miraculous as they are beautiful. May God be praised, may His mother continue to shower graces upon us and may you all be blessed.

                                                                      Rev.Robert Brucciani
                                                                      21st January 2015

Consoling Sisters - India (2014-15) gallery
Consoling Sisters - India (2006-13) gallery
how to send money the Consoling Sisters in India

Consoling Sisters of the Sacred Heart, Vigne, Italy page
Consoling Sisters of the Sacred Heart, Vigne, Italy gallery

Priory of the Most Holy Trinity, Palayamkottai, India (now Priory of the Sacred Heart) page
Veritas Academy, Palayamkottai, India page
Taking of the habit - 8th December 2014 page

Contact Details

The Society of Servi Domini Orphanage,
6/128  Opp. Govt. H.S. School, 
Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu 627351. INDIA

Tel: +91 462 248 3255
Email: [email protected]