History of the Vocationist Fathers in India
Vocationist Fathers and Sisters are the two wings of the same Congregation founded in Italy in the second decade of the 20th century by Bl. Fr. Justin M Russolillo. The main objectives of the Congregation are to identify, guide and educate, free of charge, those who indent to follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ who was chaste, obedient and poor through a life of commitment. The Vocationist Fathers and Sisters devote much of their time and effort in counseling young people and helping them to discern their vocation in life and support them through their training. As in the case of most other Vocationist missions, the Vocatioinist Sisters paved the way for the arrival Vocationist Fathers to come to Kerala, India, the cradle of vocations. At the request of the then Archbishop of Trichur Archdiocese Mar Joseph Kundukulam Very Rev. Fr. Raffaele Castiglione SDV, the then Superior General, came to India with other confreres for opening Vocationist house. On June 16th, 1996 Father Justin Vocationary had its temporary beginning in a building near to the Archbishop’s house. On November 26th Archbishop Kundukulam laid the foundation stone for the first Vocationary in India at Thalore in the same year. By God’s providence Rev. Fr. Jose Frank CMI was entrusted with the care of the new vocationary. The year 1997 was a milestone in the history of Vocationist Fathers in India. On July 18th, 1997 vocationary was shifted to the new house at Thalore and Archbishop Mar Jacob Thoomkuzhy, the then archbishop of Trichur blessed the house. On October 19th, 1997 Father Justin Vocationary had its formal inauguration. On this special day Very Rev. Fr. Raffaeal Castiglione, the then Superior General, released Piyannoorayte Priyaputhran (Trans. Servant of the Divine Vocations). In the year 2001 Vocationist Fathers had their next religious community as study house at Mulayam, Trichur namely, Divine Union Vocationary after the model of the Blessed Trinity. Rev. Fr. Michael Reardon was appointed as Superior and Novice Master. March 25th, 2008 was another day marked with another community, namely St. Bartholomew Vocationary at Thalassery, in Kannur in the Northern Kerala, in the diocese of Kannur. Rt. Rev. Dr. Varghese Chackalakkal blessed the new house and Rev. Fr. Anil was the Superior. May 7th, 2011 was a great moment of joy for all the Vocationists and also for the Holy Church, that the founder of the Vocationist Fathers and Sisters was declared ‘Blessed’. At the end of 18 years the Vocationist Fathers in India has 38 priests working around the world and 12 professed brothers.