Our Story


How it all began image


1. Foundation

The Congregation of Holy Cross was founded by a French diocesan priest named Basil Anthony Moreau in the year 1837. According to his vision, Holy Cross was to be a religious community made up of Sisters, Brothers and Priests dedicated to the service of the Church. As a young seminarian he nurtured a dream to be a missionary and to work beyond the boundaries of France and the diocese of Le Mans to which he belonged. Consequently, it was not long after founding the Congregation that Father Moreau began sending missionaries to other parts of the world, to countries of Africa, Europe and North America.

2. Arrival in India

The existence of Holy Cross in India goes back to the 19th century and has its roots in the arrival of Holy Cross in East Bengal (now Bangladesh). The first Holy Cross missionaries, comprising of three Sisters, three Brothers and three Priests, bound for Dacca had landed in Calcutta on May 26, 1853. Ecclesiastical jurisdiction of North-East India came under Dacca at that time and so it was that Holy Cross men made their way to Agartala in Tripura in 1856, and later to Mizoram. As time went on and as missionary work expanded, it was considered necessary that Indians be recruited to continue the work of Holy Cross in India.

3. Province of India

Vocations to the priesthood and religious life were growing rapidly in South India where the Christian faith was well rooted. Hence, the first house of Holy Cross in South India was opened on April 6, 1959 in Yercaud, near the town of Salem in the state of Tamil Nadu. It was the beginning of what would later become the District of India, a sector of the congregation, nurtured and supported by the French-Canadian province of The Fathers of Holy Cross. This first foundation was then followed up by the opening of new houses in Bangalore, Trichy, Kerala, Bombay, Pune and Mangalore. The first Indian Holy Cross, Fr. Mathew Vadakedom, made vows in the congregation on August 16, 1957 and was ordained a priest in 1964. By 1984 there were enough Indian religious of Holy Cross working in a good number of foundations both in the South and in North-East India so that this sector was erected as a separate province of Holy Cross on October 4, 1984.

4. Province of NE India

The establishment of the Indian province gave further impetus for the growth of Holy Cross in India. Ministries in the North-East expanded, both in terms of the number of persons involved, as well as in the kind of services rendered to the people of Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram. As Holy Cross began to assume a significant role in the life of the Church of North-East India, the District of North-India was formed in 1997. .Most Rev. Lumen Monteiro,C.S.C. had already been appointed the first Bishop of Agartala Diocese, in the state of Tripura, in 1996 and was followed by the appointment of Most Rev. Stephen Rotluanga, C.S.C. as Bishop of Aizawl Diocese, in the state of Mizoram, in 2001. The North-East missions now comprise a separate province of Holy Cross. (since 2003). http://www.holycrossnortheastindia.org/.

5. Vicariate of Tamil Nadu

Creating a new administrative unit in the NorthEast helped those Holy Cross religious who remained in the South to focus on the needs of the people of the South India.  The name of the Province was also changed to the Province of South India in order to reflect better the geographical area of our presence. Various parishes were taken up and the ministries expanded in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.  With the increase in numbers in the Province of South India, and the growth of ministries in Tamil Nadu, it was becoming clear that a separate administrative entity in Tamil Nadu would help the ministries to be managed more effectively.  Thus, Tamil Nadu became a Vicariate in 2012.