Keezhamudiman is a hamlet situated about 30 km towards northwest of Tuticorin. This hamlet is part of the Ottapidaram Taluk, which is the birth place of a renowned freedom fighter Mr. V.O. Chidambaram. From 1839 onwards it was part of Kamanayakkanpatty Parish which was then a Jesuit Mission. In 1923, Tuticorin became a separate diocese and Keelamudiman started functioning as fully-fledged parish by itself from 1936 onwards.
Valan Primary School was founded in 1935 to cater for the educational needs of the children of the locality. It was upgraded to a middle school in 1958 and, at the request of the people from the surrounding villages it was upgraded to a high school in 1998. It imparted education to both boys and girls from Keelamudiman, Melamudiman, Mangalam, Kappikulam, Kuppunapuram, Osanoothu, Silamkulam, Governagiri, M. Thalavaipuram, P. Duraisamypuram, Vellaram, Paraman Patcheri, Meenatchipuram and Thalavaipuram. Many children from other far-off villages also attended the school.
The parish was initially part of the Tuticorin Vicariate. It is a predominately Dalit area and not very much developed. It was constituted into a separate vicariate of Vilathikulam on 19 06 2000 along with fourteen other parishes. There were 14 Primary schools, 5 Middle schools, and 2 higher secondary schools in the vicariate. All the priests of the vicariate requested the bishop to start a higher secondary school to educate the students as literacy was essential for the development of the society.
At the request of Rt. Rev. Peter Fernando, Ph.D. the Bishop of Tuticorin and to mark the millennium celebration, the Valan High School in Keelamudiman was taken over by the Brothers on May 10, 2001. The bishop was very much impressed with the Brothers’ Mission at P.M.O. La Salle Higher Sec School, Tuticorin and offered them an option to take up a new mission in any one of four places in the diocese. These were: Koothenkuli, Adaikalapuram, Chokkenkudiyerruppu and Keelamudiman.
Bro. John Fernando, President of the Delegation of Brothers appointed a study team comprising of Brothers Alfred, Melchior, Thomas Michael and Arockiasamy to carry out a feasibility study and report back their findings. They visited each of these places on the following dates:
Koothenkuli -Jan 13, 2001
Adaikalapuram -Feb 23, 2001
Chokkenkudiyerruppu -Mar 10, 2001
Keelamudiman -Mar 13, 2001
The study team reported their findings to the Delegation Council that met on Feb 17, 2001 and again on April 08, 2001and it was decided to adopt Keelamudiman for the following reasons:
On these above listed grounds the Brothers decided to adopt Valan High School, Keelamudiman. The contract negotiated with the diocese included the following:
The agreement was signed between Rt Rev. Peter Fernando, Bishop of Tuticorin and Rev. Bro. John Fernando, fsc, President of the Delegation on 10 May 2001, with Rev. Fr Andrew D’Rose as witness in the presence of Rev. Bro. Thomas Michael. The transfer of the entire management was done on 15 May 2001 and the transfer document was duly signed by the Bishop of Tuticorin and the President of the Delegation in the presence of the Chancellor of the Diocese and the Director of La Salle House, Tuticorin.
On 27 April 2001, the General Council of the Institute considered the request of the Delegation of Brothers in India to assume responsibility for Valan High School, Keelamudiman and to open a community of Brothers in conjunction with this new apostolate. The approval of the General Council recorded in protocol No: 010410 gave the Brothers permission to assume responsibility for this new mission. Bro. Arulsamy was appointed Correspondent while Bro. Arockiasamy was to be the new Headmaster. Bro. Heldon was his assistant. They assumed office on 4 June 2001. It was a temporary arrangement until such time as the Brothers were in a position to establish a community at Keelamudiman. In a simple handing over ceremony Rev. Fr. Jeyaseelan presented to Bro. Arulsamy all the management transfer documents
“The first Community which was named as La Salle Deepam (means “Light” in Tamil) was officially formed on June 01, 2003. Rev. Bro. Alvaro Rodriguez, f.s.c., Superior General had already given permission to the Delegation to assume responsibility for Valan High School and to open the community in 2001. The school had a student population of 700 with 3 Brothers and 19 staff. The first Brothers assigned to the new La Salle Deepam Community and to assure full responsibility for St Joseph’s Higher Secondary School, Keelamudiman were Uvari Antony as Community Director, Antony as Headmaster and Correspondent, Britto Pinto member of the teaching staff and Assistant Prefect in charge of Hostels. Bro. Vinnoly was a member of the community but was attending B. Ed studies at Palayamkottai. On completion of his B. Ed degree he became a member of the teaching staff the following year.