The young Province of St. Joseph, Hyderabad, was dreaming of the day when we would have a novitiate of our own for our future Salesians. Though a search was on for a suitable place, before we could find an appropriate place, we decided to settle down temporarily in the premises of Don Bosco Junior College, Chandur.
The historic day dawned on 23rd May 1993. 11 novices were entrusted by Fr. Provincial, Fr. Benjamin Puthota, in the presence of the Provincial Council and the other members of the House, to Fr. John Samala, the Rector of the institution, now made also the first novice master. As a missionary province, it was providential that the new novitiate was located in remote Chandur. But for the confreres, whose hands were already full with the work of a Junior College with a hostel and a mission centre with a number of substations, this new responsibility was not easy at all. Accommodation and other facilities were inadequate. But the novices and the confreres took it in their stride. At the end of the first year, 10 of the 11 novices professed.
On 23rd July 1995, the novitiate was shifted to Manoharabad. The construction work was still going on under the supervision of Fr. E.J. Mathew, the Economer. The on-going construction work, the remoteness of the new place, lack of transport, the erratic power supply, the initial suspicion of the neighbourhood, all made the life of the community difficult. But once again they stood the test. Their joy knew no bounds when on 24th May 1996, the new house was blessed by Fr. John Lens, the pioneer missionary of the province, in the presence of a large number of salesians, friends and well wishers. On that day 8 novices made their first profession.
Gradually the community built up new contacts in the nearby villages, expanded their oratory work and even started some night study centres. On 24th May 1997, Fr. Samala the novice master handed over the reins to Fr. Sebastian K.M. It goes to the credit of Fr. Samala that besides leading this community as the Rector and Novice Master for four difficult years, he also made it financially strong.
May 1997 to May 2006 for a period of 9 years Fr. Sebastain Kuthenapally served as Novice Master and Rector and in May 2006, Fr. Sebastain Madathumuriyil took over charge. Over the years communication and transport system by road and rail improved.
With the starting of the novitiates of the presentations and the J.M.Js in the neighbourhood we have come out of isolation. Our fellowship masses celebrated together on Sundays and other Feastdays build up a sense of solidarity among us. We also have combined programmes with the other Novitiates of Hyderabad Arch diocese.
Fr. K.M Sebastain took pains to establish a good relationship with the non-Christian villages around through the Sunday Ministry tuition programme for the hamlets of Gollagadda and station and appointing a full time social worker for about 2 years to find redressal for the people’s grievances. More especially, the relationship was because of people around treated and healed of snake bite (more than 600 cases) with the poison absorbing stones supplied through the good offices of the family members of Fr.Lens.
Though we have about 3-4 acres of cultivable land unfortunately the water level has been going down steadily. Our efforts to improve the water situation through new bore wells have not borne fruit. The monkey menace has also added to this problem. All through we have been maintaining few dairy animals.
In 2005, a 3-portion quarters for the staff was constructed. We added a rain water harvest tank in 2006. After about 10 years repair and maintenance of the building too was undertaken in 2006-7.
All the elements of the novitiate life, even its more directly intellectual and pastorally practical aspects, are aimed at introducing the novice to a knowledge and practical experience of Salesian and religious life. The specific scope of the novitiate is:
- To allow both the society and the candidate to attain moral certainty about his Salesian vocation, his objective abilities and his positive motives.
- To introduce the candidate to the understanding and practice of Salesian consecrated apostolic life. With the help of the community, and especially the Master, the novice absorbs and makes Salesian values his own, and acquires an outlook of faith which enables him to discern the signs of God’s will concerning his vocation.
- To teach the novice to gradually bring about in his own life, the conditions for living contemplation with apostolic action in concordant unity.
- To help the candidate to give himself freely and deliberately to Christ in the first religious commitment in the form of temporary vows.
- To make our contribution to the locality through neighbourhood apostolate and Christian witnessing.
SACRED HEART NOVITIATE
DON BOSCO MANOHARA NIVAS
MANOHARABAD – 502 336 MEDAK DT.
(08454) 25 08 51
(08454) 20 10 34