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Sisters of Maria Auxiliatrix, Chennai (SMA) begins a second Community in Italy

By Fr. Maria Arokiam Kanaga
Fr. Maria Arokiam Kanaga with the SMA Sisters at Fossano (TO), Italy
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Kolkata, Jan. 8. Fossano (Turin):  The Sisters of Maria Auxiliatrix, Chennai (SMA), an official member of the Salesian Family, have started a second community in Italy, after Messina where they have had a community already for two years.

On 8th December, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, three sisters, i.e., Sr. Annie Maria (former superior general of the congregation), Sr. Nirmala and Sr. Mary Parisutham left Chennai for Fossano, a little town 60 kilometers south of Turin in the province of Cuneo. They were invited by the local diocese to take care of a home,  called Institute of Mgr. Signori, that houses mentally challenged people. The Sisters of St. Joseph Cottolengo had been here for more than three decades and now they have to withdraw due to lack of vocations in their congregation.

At the Institue of Mgr. Signori there are 26 inmates with light mental handicaps. There is dedicated personnel consisting of doctors, nurses, educators and volunteers. The house is a well set up institution. The sisters will have the overall management of the institute and medical help.

At present they are spending their time getting to know the work from the Cottolengo Sisters and learning the Italian language.  The director of the institute is Fr. Andrea Sasia, who is also the diocesan procurator. Formalities for the residence permit and other papers are being carried out. There is new life in the institute due to the arrival of the young and energetic sisters. Sr. Elsy Rani from Messina is here temporarily to help them in the initial weeks. There is also a large Salesian Technical School in the town, within walking distance where Fr. Balasamy Yettukuri SDB, a missionary from Chennai Province is working. The Sisters are in touch with the Salesians. During Christmas week I paid a visit to them. They declare themselves very happy to be involved in this ministry for the needy.

In Messina, Sicily, the sisters had started a community to help care for the aged Salesians in the Mamma Margaret Home, attached to the Theologate of St. Thomas. With this second house in the North of Italy, the presence of SMA sisters in this country has been strengthened. These presences also give an international dimension to the Congregation. In India itself they are working in four States, namely, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.
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