PORTIUNCULAASHRAM,KATTAPPANA (1974 - Idukki Diocese)
This Ashram is in the diocese of Idukki in the High Ranges. It was begun and built up by Br. Gerard. Brs.Aegidius, and Thomas Kalappura were his able co- workers. The house was blessed by Br. Hippolytus on 16 June 1974. On an adjacent but separate plot, a small building had been constructed and used as a house of recollection as recommended by our Renewal Chapter of 1973.
The Initiation Course in Sulthan Bathery was shifted to Portiuncula in the year 1986 and ever since Portiuncula is functioning as the centre of the Initiation Course. The newly built block of Portiuncula Ashram was blessed on 24th March 2011 by His Excellency Mar Mathew Anikuzhikkattil. It was inaugu- rated by Br. Thomas JacobThekkumkattil.
Snehashrams: The High Ranges of Kerala bears in her bosom large number of wandering migrants who live on the streets and sleep on the pavements or shop verandas at night. The miserable plight of these poor people evoked compassion of the friars and the local prayer group. In November 1995, under the leadership and guidance of Br. Francis Dominic Arayil, they contacted other prayer groups of Idukki district and pledged themselves to take care of these people who live on the fringes of the society. This marked the beginning of a new ministry of the Capuchins to serve the destitute and the disabled. Those who decided to give up begging on the streets were accommodated in our building for social centre and club attached to the PortiunculaAshram.
A good number of volunteers - lay people and Religious Sisters - came for- ward to take care of these destitute and this was the beginning of the first Snehashram. The provincial chapter of 1996, after long discussion on this new form of ministry, empowered the provincial definitory to take appropriate steps to support and encourage this ministry. Gradually new centres were opened in Nariampara, Moolamattam, Kumily, Thopramkudy, Nedumkandam and Theni (TN). Snehashram Trust was registered as an NGO with a Director Board consisting of friars, sisters and lay people.
As the project grew with many branches the service of a stable group of sisters was felt necessary and many women volunteers requested that they be allowed to lead a consecrated life for the service of the destitute. Re- sponding to this request brought to the definitory by Br. Francis Dominic, the provincial definitory granted him the permission to found a Pious Association in view of growing into a Religious Institute. Mar Mathew Anikuzhikattil, the bishop of Idukki, granted the necessary ecclesiastical permission and bless- ings for this new venture. At present about 25 sisters of this Congregation “Franciscan Sisters of the Destitute” and many volunteers serve the inmates of the Snehashrams under the leadership of Br. Francis Dominic and Sr. Anita FSD, the Superior of the new Congregation.
Br. Sarish Thondamkuzhiyil – Guardian & Rector
Br. Varghese Vazhayil – Vicar & Director of S.F.O. Idukki Diocese
Br. Thomas Jacob Thekkumkkattil
Fr. Jose T Vettickat
Br. Francis Dominic – Director of Snehashrams
Fr. Sebin Charalakadu – Assistant Rector & Procurator