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''Sunnyside'' initiates more than 1430 novices in 58 years


By BIS
Sunnyside Batch of 2014-15 with the Novitiate staff
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Shillong, Jun. 8. On 29 May 2014, twenty five novices, belonging to Guwahati (13) and Silchar (12), began their year of novitiate under the direction of the newly-appointed Master of Novices, Fr. Anthony Lendakadavil. With the commencement of this year's batch, more than 1430 novices have gone through the portals of this historical Salesian Novitiate of the North East since 1956.

The inaugural function of Novitate 2014-15 was presided over by the Vice-Provincial, Fr. Paul L. Olphindro, who during the Holy Eucharist, celebrated earlier, installed Fr. Lendakadavil as the new Rector and Novice Master. Fr. Lendakadavil replaces Fr. Philip Barjo, who had held that office for the past five years. Fr. Anugrah Kerketta is the new Socius.
Currently this novitiate house belongs to the Province of Silchar, and is situated at the 4th Mile, Upper Shillong. It houses novices from Silchar and Guwahati provinces. Prior to the '80s the province of Kolkata too used to have their novices initiated here.

The beginnings of Sunnyside as a Novitiate are quite memorable. In September 1923, the then Provincial and Prefect Apostolic of Assam, Mgr. Louis Mathias, received from Turin the offer of novices for a novitiate in India, if he desired to open one. He jumped at the proposal and got busy about preparing for it. However, they could not get a proper property for the purpose. Hence, the novitiate was started in the clergy house, Shillong.

According to the regulations (Art. 261) and the deliberations of General Chapter XVII, each province had to have its own house of novitiate. Hence, the provincial, Fr. Anthony Alessi, decided to provide the province with a house for the purpose, a house all by itself.

With an indenture dated 6th August 1953, he bought from Mrs. E.M. Wood the holding known as Sunnyside, situated at Upper Shillong, and on the 24th of May 1954, took possession of it, blessed it and left Fr. H. Fontana in charge of the property. Thus began the existence of this historical novitiate, which in the last 58 years of its existence, (from 1956 onwards), has seen 1407 novices pass through its portals for their novitiate.
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