The Congregation of the Nazareth Sisters is a religious community for women founded in the Syro-Malabar Church. God used great but humble people for unfolding His mysterious ways. Mar Sebastian Valloppilly was one among them. He was instrumental in the foundation and edification of the Congregation. By his apostolic zeal and deep prayer he could discern the wonderful plans of God. And ultimately he made himself available for the fulfillment of His will.
During the first phase of Malabar settlement, the young women were very keen to lead a dedicated life; but were denied religious life due to their insufficient education and poor financial background. These circumstances, led the Bishop to found the Congregation of the Nazareth Sisters on the 15th of September 1975. The Bishop was on the lookout for an ideal location for the proposed Nazareth Congregation and ultimately he came across a moderately convenient house in the Santhome Estate, Kunnoth belonging to the Archdiocese of Tellicherry. It was to house the first batch of sisters. There were thirty girls in the first batch, and out of them fourteen received their religious habit from the Bishop Mar Sebastian Valloppilly and made their first profession on the 28th December 1978.
Keeping in mind the words of Jesus ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me’(Mt.25:40). The newly professed Nazareth Sisters engaged in catechismal teaching ministry, parish ministry, family apostolate, social work and tailoring classes, sharing the redeeming love of God with others, especially with the less privileged.
During its infancy, Late Msgr. Thomas Pazheparambil, Late Msgr. Jacob Varikattu the Vicar General, Rev. Fr. George Kodakanady and Rev. Fr. John Kaniyanpalackal assisted the Bishop in the growth of the Congregation. Sisters of the Sacred Heart Congregation were invited to assist in the formation of the members of the Nazareth Sisters.
The first profession of the second batch was held on 8th September 1982. After five years of selfless service, the Sacred Heart Sisters left to return to their own Congregation. The members of Nazareth Sisters became competent enough to manage themselves by that time. In the first general chapter, Sr. Annie Thomas was elected as the Superior General, Sr. Mareena as the Assistant General and Sr. Mercy Thomas as the Procurator. Sr. Rose James was elected as the second Superior General and Sr. Mercy Thomas, Sr. Rosett Jose, Sr. Mariet, Sr. Annie Tom and Sr. Mary Paul were elected as the Superior Generals in the subsequent general chapters. Rev. Sr. Annie Tom is the present Superior General. With the authorization of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Rome, His Grace the Archbishop Mar George Valiamattam raised our community to a Congregation of Eparchial Status on 21st July 2001. It is, indeed, a landmark in the path of the growth of the Congregation.
The first house of the Congregation was opened at Palathinkadavu on 30th December 1982. A convent of the congregation was opened in the diocese of Thamarassery at Muthappanpuzha on 20th May 1992. The sisters here are engaged in various apostolic activities. Further, the evangelical zeal of the congregational sisters, to share the spirit of the Gospel with everyone, led to an invitation from the fathers of the Carmalites of Mary Immaculate(CMI), for a mission station to be established in far-flung Kashmir been accepted by the congregation in 1997. Shortly afterwards, impressed by the unique service the Sisters were providing to the local communities in Kashmir, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Hippolitus Kunnumkal, the Bishop of Jammu – Srinagar requested our services in his diocese as well.