In December, 2006 Brother Arockiadoss, President, met the Bishop of Vellore Diocese Most Rev. Dr. P. Soundararaju, SDB to explore the possibility of the Delegation establishing an apostolate in that diocese with the specific mission of running a school. An initial study team was appointed and its findings were presented as follows:
From : Bro. Antony Arulsamy, FSC., [email protected]
To : Rev. Bro. Arockiadoss, FSC., [email protected]
Bro. John Britto [email protected]
Subject : A Study Report on the Visit to Mosavadi
Date : Friday, March 28, 2008
A study report on the visit to Mosavadi
In the diocese of Vellore
Bro. Arulsamy and Bro. Britto visited Mosavadi on 26th and 27th of March and their report is as follows.
Mosavadi is a village consisting of about 400 people. It is about 13 K.M. from Chetpat, a major panchayat and a vicariate in Vellore Diocese. It is about 51 K.M. from Thiruvannamalai and 74 K.M. from Villupuram and 83 K.M. from Vellore. Sketch map of the place of Mosavadi and its surrounding villages is enclosed.
There are about 11 villages in and around Mosavadi within the radius of 8 K.M. The population of these villages is around 16,000 to 17,000. Among these about 60% are Dhalits. The economic condition of these people is very poor. Perhaps these villages will be one of the poorest villages in Tamil Nadu. In Mosavadi many young people have migrated to different towns and cities in search of employment. The land is very dry. The occupations of the people are agriculture and cattle rearing. Besides these activities they do not have any kind of factories or small scale industries. As a result most of the people are very poor.
2) Present Strength:
R.C.M. Middle School, Mosavadi
The date of Recognition from I Std to V Std – 20.01.1950
The date of Recognition from VI Std to VIII Std – 24.04.1969
Population of Mosavadi village 177 males + 190 females= 367
3) People we met and their opinions:
Fr. John Durai, V.F., Chetpat
Fr. Joseph, Parish Priest, Mosavadi
Mosavadi Middle School Staff
Some people of a few villages.
Sr. Superior (Salesian Convent, Unmaruthai)
(Who conducted the school for two years)
The Manager of the school
The Bishop of Vellore
The opinion of the Parish Priest:
The Parish priest shared with us openly the following things:
He welcomes the Brothers and he is ready to help the Brothers as much as possible for him. He suggests that the Brothers have to get everything with the Diocese in writing before we take up the school. He said that due to the starting of a primary school in Mosavadi and upgrading the primary schools nearby villages and caste problems in Mosavadi the school has not been developed well.
The opinion of Sr. Superior, Maria Kalani (Salesian Sister)
The reasons for their leaving are as follows.
The distance from Unmaruthai (15 km. traveling daily) was a major problem.
They had to spend Rs. 10,000 every month for the transportation.
They thought a sister’s community living in that place not conducive and unsafe.
There was some kind of miss understanding between the Parish Priest and then Sister Correspondent.
They wanted to develop their institution in Unmaruthai which is already in existence rather than developing Mosavadi.
The opinion of the Bishop, the vicar and the manager of schools:
The Bishop and the managers of school and some other priests are ready to welcome the Brothers in their Diocese. They want the development of the mission at Mosavadi and the neighboring villages. A religious congregation will be apt to improve the condition of the school and the areas. They are ready to recommend the projects other than the diocesan sponsored projects.
The opinion of the staff:
There are four teachers in the school. We met three of them and they are ready to co-operate with the Brothers. We spoke to the H.M. through phone. He is ready to get transfer to some other school. He wishes that the De La Salle Brothers could take up the school and to improve it.
4) Present Problems regarding the school:
Students will not be able to pay fees (Admission, tuition and special fees) more than rupees 50 per year.
We have to invest a lot of money for the improvement.
Due to economic conditions some people have migrated to the towns and cities in search of employment.
Starting of new primary schools and upgrading the primary schools into middle schools in nearby villages.
No town buses are available to Mosavadi but there are route buses available for every hour.
Taste of water is not bad. The available source of open well water seems to be good.
The presbytery, the church and the school which eight class rooms are in one campus. At present temporary residence is not available in the campus.
5) Some of the solutions to the problems:
To improve the strength, we have to start a boarding.
Purchase of a vehicle for the transportation of the students.
To start L.K.G. and U.K.G. to attract more students for more primary classes.
To upgrade the middle school into high school and later on into higher secondary school.
To start vocational training in non-formal and formal for the youth.
To start tuition centres in nearby villages.
There are a lot of scopes for social service activities.
We have to appoint dedicated and service-minded Brothers to work in the new institution.
We could approach the sacred Brothers who are in charge of CFCA for sponsorship.
The Salesian sisters are ready to sell the seven acres of land to the Brothers if they require. The Bishop said that he would approach the sisters to give the land at the same cost which they purchased rupees 7,00,000 a few years ago. At present the cost of one acre is about rupees10,00,000.
6) Our request from the Bishop:
We requested the following things from the Bishop.
To transfer of Management to the Brothers.
To give to the Brothers the diocesan land of 3 to 4 acres of land.
To give H.M. post (B.T. Post) for this year.
To give a secondary grade post for the next year.
To make arrangement to transfer one or two post with persons if the strength increased in the Middle School.
Temporary residence at Ingi Medu, which is 3 K.M. from Mosavadi and future social work. The land is about 60 cents there is an old building (80 feet length with 20 feed width). It could be either transferred to the Brothers or could be given on lease for 99 years.
Possibility of CFCA sponsorship.
Financial assistance from the diocese at least for a few years.
The Bishop asked our provincial to give the above requirements in writing after the approval of the Delegation council for taking over the management of the school at Mosavadi. The Bishop has the consult meeting on 7th of April 2008. He would consult the council and let us know what things they could offer to the Brothers.
7) Merits of taking over the school:
It is a very good mission place for Brothers apostolate. There are very poor people for whom Brothers’ service will be utilized.
Good scope for the expansion work of the Brothers apart from academic education (such as social service, women’s emancipation programmes and youth animation programmes).
Good co-operation and encouragement could be expected from the Bishop, the clergy, the staff and the people.
A lot of financial implications for the Brothers.
There will be strength problems up to VIII Std.
Boarding is a must for that area and there is another financial burden for the Brothers.
At present there is no temporary residence close by. There is an old building 3 km. from Mosavadi (80 feet by 20 feet) which has to be renovated at the cost of 2 lakhs if the Bishop is ready to offer to the Brothers.
Every year the Brothers have to spend two lakhs for the salary and other maintenance of the school if it has to be upgraded into a high school.
Available water source is somewhat hard water. (The taste of water is similar to Mangalagiri water).
Brothers have to purchase a land from the Sisters for future expansion of the place.
The study committee is in favour of taking over the Middle School provided the Delegation is ready to support the financial assistance regularly and to get the new land for future expansion work.
Bro. Arulsamy, FSC., Bro. John Britto, FSC.,
Bro. Arockiadoss while not specifying if the initial meeting was at his request or that the bishop had invited him, went on to give the chronology of events that took place subsequent to that original meeting.
Dec 05, 2006 -Invitation from Bishop of Vellore to meet him in Dindigul –side-lines of TNBC-TNPCRI meet.
Dec 10, 2006 -The meeting took place and I agreed to send a study team first.
Jan 20, 2007 -Brothers Thomas, Arulsamy and Ignatius visited the school and presented a report.
Apr 27, 2007 – Bishop wrote to me that he is not willing to give Namiyandal but any other school of his choice where the mission is of utmost importance and necessary.
Aug 11, 2007 – I had a second meeting with the Bishop on his new proposal and agreed to send a study team.
Oct 17, 2007 -Brothers Thomas, Arulsamy, and Ignatius had a meeting with the bishop and met a few other priests also. This was a pilot visit.
Dec 11, 2007 – I (Bro. Doss) had a third meeting with the bishop during the TNBC meet. He invited us to visit his proposed place.
Dec 28, 2007 – I made a preliminary visit with Brothers Britto and Ignatius. Bishop himself took us to Mosavadi along with his team of priests.
Mar 26, 27 2008 – Study team comprised of Brothers Arulsamy and John Britto made a visit to Mosavadi and presented a report to the Council.
Mar 30, 2008 – The Council took a decision to take up Mosavadi on an experimental basis for a year.
Apr 26, 29, 2008 – Brothers John Britto, T. Amalan and Doss stayed in the Bishop House and held initial discussions on arrangement for the Brothers to stay, administration of the school, diocesan contribution, contract/agreement etc. The minutes for that meeting are enclosed.
May 25, 2008 – Brothers Nestor and Jude made a visit along with T. Amalan and started to explore possibilities. They did the necessary spadework.
Jun 3, 2008 – Bro. Thomas Michael joined the team and the school started to function.
Jun 5, 2008 – Bro. Doss met the bishop along with the new community members. The bishop expressed his happiness and welcomed the Brothers to his diocese and also handed over the appointment order to Bro. Thomas.
July 1, 2008 – Bro. Superior gave required one year permission to have a community there.
Dec 13, 2008 – The Council reviewed the Mosavadi mission and appointed a team of Brothers to study the requirements for the continuity of our mission there.
Jan 4, 2009 – As agreed with the bishop a meeting with the Salesian Provincial took place with Brothers Thomas, Arulsamy, T. Amalan and Doss. They have agreed to sell the land for a cheaper rate.
Jun 5, 2009 – We met the bishop and he is willing to sign the agreement. He will continue to mediate with the Sister for a better price. He is also willing to help us financially through a few projects.
This mission is a typically Lasallian one and only we Brothers could do it. In the words of Bro. James Kimpton; ‘our Founder would be very happy to see us serving those who are close to his heart and mind’.
Brothers Nester and Jude went to Mosavadi on 25th May 2008 and were accommodated in the Parish priest’s residence initially and began the work of organising the affairs of the school with the view to taking over the mission. Then on Jun 3, 2008 – Bro. Thomas Michael joined the team and the school started to function. A study team was appointed in December 2008 to evaluate the viability of the mission at Mosavadi. The committee consisted of Brothers Doss, Sebastian, John Paul, Britto, Arulsamy, Amalan and the Community members at Mosavadi Brothers Thomas Michael, Jude and Nester and its findings were presented as follows:
STUDY TEAM- REPORT ON MOSAVADI
From the School itself:
The Brothers reported that ‘though we started late in June, we have almost doubled the strength. With lack of facility for the hostel, we have 30 students staying with us happily. So far, we have conducted two parents’ meet and the attendance is almost 100%. Many youths come to our campus in the evening to play with the Brothers and boys. The local tuition centre has almost 100 children. The other three tuition centres have a minimum of 45 students attending. There is a demand for such centres from the local leaders and Parish Priest. People thronged us at one point of time, asking us to give it in writing that we will not leave them after starting the school. For on an earlier occasion the Salesian Sisters had promised too and then deserted them’.
From the Parents’ meet:
‘My child is able to study at least for two hours every day now which I have never seen’ exclaimed many parents. They are interested in doing their homework and coming to school – a paradigm change in their attitude towards school. After you’re coming only, we get some hope that at least our children will get uninterrupted education.
It is a great hope for girls for they now could continue their education. Our children are getting more marks these days. They had no complaint about anything.
You Brothers are more accommodative and approachable. Our children feel at ease with you.
From the nearby Villages:
From a nearby village school, some 10 students had joined and came after having heard about the school. It was their epiphany. They were well received by the Brothers. They went back and brought another 10 the following week. ‘We will definitely join your school next year Sir’- was their wish/promise. It was a moving experience for the Brothers. The nearby village leaders were full of praise for the Brothers’ mission. ‘They received us well when we visited them in their villages or when we went to see them on roadside’.
‘The students have become our very good ambassadors’.
From the Church:
The Church authorities were just wonderstruck by the commitment and involvement of the Brothers. They all use superlatives to describe the mission there. The local Parish Priest had been willingly supporting in whatever way was possible. The Bishop and VG of the Diocese said that they are very much impressed about the Brothers’ initiatives, simple life style, wonderful rapport with the locals, and dedication, etc. It only propelled them to offer a second teaching aided post, which was not part of the oral agreement made in May. The Bishop was willing to negotiate with the Sisters in case they quoted high for the land. The Salesian Sisters were willing to give away the land for the educational mission of the Brothers for they had heard many positive statements. The grapevine was that they were not looking for a huge profit from the sale of the land.
There are financial implications to establish a mission. A huge investment for infrastructure and regular running of the program is needed. The day scholars’ strength from local area had yet to be encouraged. The financial contribution from the students and people as of then was at the very minimum. People were seen as demanding in nature because of the presence of Religious. The parents were illiterate and not aware of importance of education. There were three Primary and Upper primary schools within a 5 km. radius. The strength in numbers depended on a Hostel and Transportation. There was no separate section for Primary and High schools – there was a need to put up buildings.
IMMEDIATE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE SCHOOL: Protected drinking water, Transportation facilities for the children, and hostel residence for 100 students.
IMMEDIATE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE COMMUNITY: A rented house for the Brothers, Furniture, and protected drinking water. (By this time the Brothers had moved to a classroom in the school where all three Brothers shared the same room and where they had their meals).
There followed a budget analysis of expected income and expenditure for the school year 2009 – 2010. The compiled chronology and report was forwarded to the General Council around September, 2009. It would appear that this was a conjectured budget as those mentioned as possible sources of financial support were not shown as having being contacted at the time.
The diocese sent a specimen copy of a contract agreement between the Diocese of Vellore and the Delegation of Brothers in India to Brother Doss, President around June, 2009 for to consider in drawing up a contract for taking responsibility for the Mosavadi school in the hope that an agreement could be drawn up and agreed between the parties. Meantime there were many discussions in the Delegation Council about the Mosavadi project as the following excerpts from Council Minutes show.
Council Minutes Oct ’08:
Bro. President informed the Council that Bro. Superior and his General Council agreed to extend for one more year the community of Mosavadi. They also gave three major concerns.
Bro. Delegate said that he was asked in the General Council how he was in favour of making a permanent community in Mosavadi.
He said that he informed the General Council that since the Delegation Council was in favour of this new mission he also supported it. He also said that he informed them that he would closely work with Bro. President to address the major concerns raised by the General Council.
Bro. President informed the Council on matters regarding the progress in Mosavadi.
He had spoken with Bro. Thomas, and they started to formulate the CAP, and were following it. They were doing their spiritual activities regularly. Mutually they had started to understand each and working to build the community life better.
Bro. Delegate said that there was a need to work diligently to achieve the second concern as quickly as possible.
One member asked why Bro. President was not ready to spare a Brother for the approved aided teaching post and it was now lost. Bro. President said that it was a wrong message. He had a consultation with the local Diocesan Superintendent of Schools who explained that the post is a second grade post and it was not possible to appoint any Brother.
Decision: Bro. President was to inform the community about the General Council’s opinion and have a regular follow up. He was to work fast to get the funds in order to build a community residence.
The first day’s meeting came to end. Bro. Delegate asked the Brothers to continue the meeting for the next day. He said that he wouldn’t be available for the next day because of his travel schedule didn’t permit.
Council Minutes July ’09:
MOSAVADI COMMUNITY UPDATE: Bro. Doss, President; informed the Council that the provisional permission obtained for this community was about to expire and this Council needed to make a final decision about the mission. He also presented the study report made by the study team of Brothers and the community members along with an updated report after his own two visits before the Council along with Bro. T. Amalan. He also said that Bro. Thomas Michael was invited to attend the Council and had he had agreed to come but just two days before he said that he was sick and unable to come.
Bro. Ignaci asked for a few clarifications regarding the possible financial resources. Bro. President gave a list of the possible of the donors who had agreed or expressed their willingness to give money for this project.
Bro. Ignaci then suggested that Bro. President could consider a team of personnel who could be involved for three to five years for this project in case Bro. Thomas Michael felt bad due to his health. Bro. President responded that it was not Bro. Thomas Michael’s project; it is Delegation’s project and we should find Brothers for this mission. He also said that already two people have expressed their willingness to go and work there. This will be part of the five-year plan.
Bro. Delegate also spoke in favour of this mission. Bro. T. Amalan joined him and every member present expressed their view on the need for a mission there.
After that, Bro. President said that the Rule Art.138C required the advice of the Delegation Council prior to the presentation to the Brother Superior General for permission.
The Brothers unanimously said that they had taken up a good mission and the need there was great. Hence, the Delegation could go for a permanent community and seek Bro. Superior’s permission for it.
The Council also discussed about the possible purchase of land from the Salesian Sisters for Rs. 15,00,000/- (fifteen lakhs) and gave green signal to Bro. President. The Council advised that priority should be first for a Brothers’ Community building and later for the school buildings as the present school buildings still be used as was for some time.