A SHORT HISTORY OF THE CONGREGATION OF SALESIAN MISSIONARIES OF MARY IMMACULATE (SMMI)
1. The beginning as a "society"
The Institute of Salesian Missionaries of Mary Immaculate (SMMI) is born from the society of the Daughters of St. Francis De Sales of which it is the missionary branch. This society was founded in Paris on 15 October 1872, by the Abbe' Henri Chaumont and Madam Carre De Malberg to live by and spread evangelical charity in the world. From the very first years of the society, the founder had awakened among the members a missionary enthusiasm which expressed itself in a guild of fervent prayer on behalf of non Christian women.
2. The growth and Expansion
The Society, having given special missionary formation to its members did not remain in France itself but went out to different parts of the world. The first call for missionaries came from China in 1888 but it did not materialize due to the political situation of the time. Another call came from India in 1889 by bishop Ricaz who belonged to the Missionaries of SFS and Fr. Tissot the then Superior General of the Congregation. So the first group of sisters came to be known as the Catechist Missionaries of Mary Immaculate, led by Mother Marie Gertrude, left for Nagpur India, in October 1889. They were not religious from the beginning itself but they adopted a style of prayer and community life similar to the other missionary congregations but did not take the vows. Their first aim was the formation and the evangelization of women, through visits to families and villages.
As the years went by they began to receive local vocations wherever they were. The first two Indian sisters made their first profession on 14 November 1900.Then Vatican II gave an opening that the society could remain ONE with TWO branches. Thus the missionary branch of the society became a Religious Congregation; the Salesian Missionaries of Mary Immaculate (SMMI)
3. Nature and Charism
i To be led by the Holy Spirit
ii To live the Gospel
iii To live as Religious Salesian
iv To live as Religious Missionary
v The motto "Be Mary"
4. Apostolic Activities
i Teaching in the schools and colleges
ii Health caring in dispensaries and hospitals
iii Catechising children, youth and adults
iv Pastoral works
v Social works
5. General statistics
Today the SMMIs are spread out in the 5 continents in 18 countries having their head quarters at Gentilly, France. Altogether there are 13 provinces and regions with 153 houses. There are 5 provinces and 1 region in India, in which Nagpur is the cradle of all the institutes. Nagpur Province has 31 houses and among them 12 houses are in North East. Mararn is one among them. The total number of sisters are about 1400.
6. Mission in Maram
The mission of Maram started on 10 of June 2004. It belongs to Nagpur Province. The sisters here collaborate with the Salesian fathers of Dimapur Province, teaching in Don Bosco College and administers a girls' hostel named St. Monica's Hostel, Maram. Sisters are involved in the pastoral activities too.
7. Missionary Expansion
SMMI congregation is fully missionary in nature and therefore they are ready to go anywhere in the world, with the conviction of 'BEING SENT ON MISSION TO WOMEN AND THE POOR'. They feel stimulated today to move forward, to go beyond new geographical frontiers, to reach out to new people with the Gospel message. Therefore the Institute is International and the sisters live in multicultural communities in harmony and solidarity witnessing to the vitality and diversity of the Church.