History of Ferrando Convent, Bandel

Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians arrived at Bandel on 8th August 1995. The story of our existence in Bandel began by a casual conversation by the then Provincial of Tezpur, Sr.Elsa Puthenpurackal with Rev. Fr.L.Gobetti SDB, the then Prior of the Shrine. Sisters had come for the funeral of Rev.Fr.Paul Taverna SDB, our mentor in Siliguri. During the conversation the Sisters mentioned to Fr.Gobetti of their desire to come and offer our services in Bandel. Fr.Gobetti liked the idea and later on it was presented to the Provincial of the Salesians of Don Bosco. After much correspondence between the Superiors, with due permission from the Archbishop of Kolkata, Most Rev. Henry D’Souza, the dream of establishing a house at Bandel was realized on August 1995. The agreement with the Salesians of Don Bosco, Kolkata Province is signed on 7th July 2000. 

On their arrival the Sisters were put up at St. John’s boarding house. On 12th July 1997 Sisters were shifted to a small concrete house owned by the Salesians situated behind the Don Bosco School complex. The house was renovated and blessed by Rev.Fr.Bertie Fermandez, then Prior of Bandel Basilica on 12th July 1997 and handed over to the Sisters along with 7½ bighas of land with a boundary wall to build the Convent and to establish it. We are very grateful to Fr. L.Gobetti for the great help he rendered the Sisters. It was a great gesture of kindness from the part of the Salesians and a tremendous proof of the caring providence of God.

The purpose of our presence in the first agreement states thus: “Their apostolate is for the family and they can work among the Hindi speaking Adivasis at Bandel”. Today the activities carried out by our Sisters include:

•    The family apostolate {1995}
•    The care of the Shrine and the Basilica {1995}
•    Preparation of liturgical celebrations {1995)
•    Evangelization of the Hindi speaking villages {1996}
•    SCC {2006}
•    Formation of our candidates-Postulants and Aspirants [2001]
•    Preparatory School {2000}
•    Social Apostolate: home for the children at risk [2008]

The Pioneering members of the Community are Sr.Nancy Augustine, Sr.Pushpa Surin and Sr.Rose Khriam. In the beginning, the sisters were fully involved in the parish activity. They worked wholeheartedly putting up with many hardships and inconveniences. The mission carried out by the Sisters were faith formation of the people through family visits, preparing the people for reception of the Sacraments, catechism classes on Sundays for children, animation of associations such as Mothers’ sodality, Children of Mary, Youth Groups as well as taking care of the Sacristy in the Basilica.

From the beginning the Community members had good contact with neighbors around, as well as with the Christian Community in the Villages. The people are very co-operative and ready to help us in any work. People feel at home in the presence of the Sisters and Sisters in turn mingle with all the people. The Sisters’ way of life, friendliness, kindness and outgoing nature have influenced them much. The people have good impression about us and our presence have affected and influenced the people very positively. Each year we have few catechumens who come forward to receive the Sacraments. Sisters go around visiting the families, deepening their faith and catechizing them. The regular prayer services through SCC units are much appreciated by the people. Though we have only a preparatory school its influence on the people is very positive. We take care of the little kids who come to our school and people are very happy with our services. 

On 28th February 2004, the Community was fortunate to have the blessing ceremony of the New Convent building. Most Rev. Lucas Sirkar, Archbishop of Kolkata blessed the building while Rev. Fr. L. Gobetti SDB inaugurated the same in the presence of the Superiors, well wishers and friends. We appreciate all the benefactors who contributed their share to make this beautiful house a reality. We pray for our benefactors that they may experience God’s loving care and protection in their life at all times.  Sr. Nancy Augustine as the pioneer as well as the Provincial Superior struggled a lot to make what Bandel is today. Thank you, dear Sr.Nancy and the Pioneer Sisters for putting up with so many hurdles to make our today prosperous. 


96 / 1 Abhinash Ch. Mukherjee Road
Hooghly P.O & Dt. W. Bengal - 712 103


Ph:033- 2631 6476 / 26311255(Sch)    
Sr. Soumya Varghese  
Sr. Elizabeth Packumala(9433029520)
Sr. Jaya Sebastian 
Sr. Nycy Joseph .    
Sr. Meena Tirkey  
Sr. Albertina Tirkey 
Sr. Stencila Marandi 
Sr. Debora Malangmei
Sr.Melinda Mukhim

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