History of Visakhapatnam Province

Visakhapatnam Province Generally/Dearly Called as the Mother Province, Gave Birth to Many Provinces in India & Abroad.
provincial house of msfs visakhapatnam
provincial house building of msfs province visakhapatnam
chapel of msfs province visakhapatnam

Statistical Data of the Province

Description No's
Number of Bishops 01
Priests 173
Brothers 08
Deacons 07
Theologians 22
Philosophers 31
Regents 10
Novices 06
Minor Seminarians 32
Number of Educational Institutions 19
Number of Technical Institutions 04
Minor Seminaries 02
Novitiate 01
Philosophate 01
Scholasticate for Theologians 01
Provincial House 01
Retreat House 02
Mission Procure 01
Home for the Aged 02
Orphanages and Boardings 12
Confreres in Pastoral Ministry 47
Confreres in Formation 14
Confreres in Education 38
Confreres in Technical Institutions 08
Confreres as Chaplains 04
Confreres Studying in India 04
Confreres Studying Abroad 01
Confreres in Pastoral Ministry in Abroad 29
Confreres in Formation Abroad 02

Brief History of Vizag Province

The Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales, started on 24th October 1838 by the servant of God Very Rev. Fr. Peter Mary Mermier with the blessings of the Bishops of Annecy, Mgr. Pierre Joseph Rey. At the request of Cardinal Franzoni, Fr. Peter Mermier had sent four priests & two brothers to Indian Mission. They were:

  • Fr. Jacques Martin (Superior )
  • Fr. Joseph Lavorel
  • Fr. Jean Marie Tissot
  • Fr. Jean Thevenet
  • Bro. Pierre Carton
  • Bro. Sulphice Fontanel

They landed in India on 8th September 1845 at Pondicherry and reached Yanam on 16th January 1846 via Madras by boat. On 17th January the Pro-vicar of Vizag appointed Fr. Martin as the Superior and Parish Priest at Yanam. Except Fr. Martin rest of the missionaries left for Vizag on 19th February 1846. Fr. Joseph Lavorel was asked to go to Kamptee near Nagpur and Fr. Jean Thevenet was sent to Jalna near Aurangabad. Fr. Tissot and the other two brothers remained at Vizag.

Undergo Struggles
The early missionaries have to undergo lot of struggles due to new place, culture, language, inclement weather, unavailability of the proper medical facilities, lack of means of communication, reluctance on the part of the people, etc.
No Proper Mode of Transport
In those days there were no proper roads, no buses not even trains, the mode of travel was either walking or by bullock carts. There were missionaries who spent most of their life travelling in bullock carts.
Discouraging Moment
Another discouraging moment for the early missionaries in India was the sad demise of their Superior & Leader Fr. Martin on 5th May 1846 at Yanam due to sun-stroke within four months of their arrival in India. It was Fr. Joseph Lavorel, who replaced him to guide the confreres in India.
Learnt Local Languages
Year after year many missionaries came from France and learnt the local languages and worked tirelessly preaching the word of God. It was in 1887 the original mission of Vizag or the diocese of Vizag into two dioceses namely Vizag and Nagpur.
Existence of Visakhapatnam Region

In 1930 regions came into existence in the M.S.F.S. Congregation outside the European main land; henceforth here the M.S.F.S. unit began to be known as Visakhapatnam region.

As the flow of the French missionaries diminished, there was a great need of local vocations for the Vizag mission. In that context, from 1927, the then bishop of Vizag, Most Rev. Peter Rosillon encouraged vocations from India especially from Kerala, the ‘goldmine’ of vocations. According to the then prevailing situations, those who joined Visakhapatnam mission naturally became M.S.F.S. Therefore, till 1962 the Visakhapatnam diocese and Visakhapatnam region of M.S.F.S were almost synonymous.

Rev. Fr. K. E. Zacharias was the first Indian Regional Superior and he took charge of the region in 1951 and it was he who opened the first M.S.F.S. Minor Seminary in India (Kerala) and promoted vocations from India.

Thereafter, Visakhapatnam region became Province in 1965 and Rev. Fr. Devasia Kuzhuppil was appointed as the first Provincial. The raising of the region to the Status of the Province in 1965, also has really helped the autonomy drive of the Congregation and for its rapid progress. Soon the province extended its activities to all the Southern States of India and also to the North East India.

Called as the Mother Province

Visakhapatnam Province generally/dearly called as the Mother Province, gave birth to many provinces in India & abroad. They are:
  • North East India Province - 1990
  • East Africa Province - 1996
  • South West Province - 1991
  • South East India Province - 2008

Thus the marvelous growth of Visakhapatnam Province helped the M.S.F.S. Congregation to spread out and to assist the local Churches and the Universal Church to stabilize and to expand. Now the Visakhapatnam province is actively involved in various apostolates in India and abroad: Evangelization, Education, Formation, Vocational training and other innovative ministries, apart from Parish missions and Foreign missions like in Papua New Guinea, West Indies, Canada, Australia and Europe.

  • 1. Visakhapatnam
  • 2. Srikakulam
  • 3. Eluru,
  • 4. Vijayawada
  • 5. Guntur
  • 6. Nellore
  • 7. Khammam
  • 8. Warangal
  • 9. Hyderabad
  • 10. Kurnool
  • 11. Palaghat,
  • 12. Coimbatore.