Catholic Church in Bidar :
The consecrated life of the Catholic priests and nuns, celibacy, prayer, austere life, simplicity and commitment to God’s work impressed the people of Bidar very much. They had never seen such way of life before. Even the Lingayats and people of other religions were impressed by us and they treated us with love, respect and reverence. None of the Christian denominations except the Methodist Church seemed to have made any impact on people. Under these circumstances we chose Bhalki as the suitable place for starting evangelization work. After several visits, we managed to take a room on rent at Bhalki town in the house of Mr Gurunath Swamy, a Lingayat.
A new batch of Missionaries arrived with the Bishop in June 1983, in the person of Fr Benjamin, Bros. Louis D’Sa and Peter D’Souza. Bhalki Mission was inaugurated on 7th June, 1983, and was dedicated to Christ the Holy Redeemer. Their residence was ‘called ‘ Yesu Nilaya’. Rev Srs. Concetta, Bertille and Maria, Anita, the Apostolic Carmel sisters also, landed in Bidar to serve the people at St Joseph’s Convent School, which was inaugurated on 6th June, 1983. We named their convent Maria Nilaya. They were the first sisters to come and work in this mission. Phenomenal growth of the mission took place then onwards. Even though it is worthwhile recording the growth of every mission centre and apostolate, it is not possible to record it here. It would be no doubt very informative and interesting for readers and those working in this mission to know how the early missionaries started the work of preaching the Word of God.
Fr Benjamin with great enthusiasm went all around, the length and breadth of Bidar, walking, cycling, by truck or bus making acquaintance with people and place. Fast he established contacts with prominent Christian and other leaders. He became popular among the poor in no time as people saw in him a man of God, a man for others. During those days, the New Apostolic Church that had already spread into Bhalki villages, was not functioning well. Both people and the local leaders of this Church were disheartened and disappointed. Touched by the life of priests and sisters in the Catholic Church, N.R Luke, a ‘shepherd’ in rank of the New Apostolic Church, took initiative and met Fr Benjamin with his associates. Fr. Benjamine instructed these enthusiastic men about Catholic Church, its origin and history. Having heard about it, they recognised the Catholic Church as the Mother of all the Churches and called it ‘Tayi Sabhe’. They were now ready to come over to the Catholic Church. Accepting their genuineness Fr Benjamin sent them to Mangalore for an intense formation course at Mangala Jyothi (DBCL). This course was taken up by Fr Mark Veigas who took all pains to instruct them about the Catholic faith and practices. Having completed their course, the Bishop Basil baptized them in the Catholic Church at Kodiyalbail Chapel in Mangalore in May 1984. These the first fruits of the Mission were named Luke, John, Mark and Mathew. It is through the contacts made by these men and a few who later joined, more people in and more villages were contacted as years passed.
But then, we were all young inexperienced people working in this field. Things were not clear in our minds concerning the approach we needed to take in this mission. But our Bishop had clear thoughts in his mind on what we were here for. Therefore by his unfailing visits at least twice a year, he guided the team members continuously unto his last moments of life. He loved to visit people in villages, preach the Word of God, and spend time with people. With concern for their social and economic welfare, as the communities were strengthened in faith, he helped us start development activities in Bidar. ORBIT (Organisation for Bidar Integral Transformation) started in1983 as a sister concern of- CODP, Mangalore, began working in full swing for empowering the marginalised sections of the society. It was the initial plan of the Bishop Basil to start at least one mission centre in all Talukas in five years. We accepted that it was neither possible nor necessary for us to go on with such a speed. However, this dream of his, of reaching out to all Talukas of Bidar was accomplished when ‘Kristashrama’ the centre at Kaudiyal, Basava Kalyan was blessed on 3-12-1996 a few months after his death.
Bidar center institution
1. SACRED HEART CHAPEL :
BIDAR CHAPLAIN: Fr. Clevan Gomes
The history of Bidar Mssion began with mission activities in Bidar Taluk itself. The mission was formally inaugurated on the Feast Day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on 17th June 1982, in the presence of a small congregation gathered in a school class room, near Bidar Railway Station. As the need was felt for a place of worship, a small Church built and dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was inaugurated by Rt. Rev. Dr. Basil S. D’Souza on 12th February 1985. Frs. Robert Miranda, Baptist Menezes, Mathias Pereira and Jerome D’Souza, Fr. Ivan Michael, Fr Stany Pereira, Fr. Fredrick D’souza, Fr. Praveen Martis, Ferdinand Gonsalves Fr. Stany Lobo Fr. Leo veigas, Fr. Pradeep Mangalgi OFM, Fr. Wilson Fernandes have rendered their services in this Church. Fr. Clevan Gomes is its present chaplain.
The Catholics residing under the jurisdiction of this church is not steady due to the transfer of government officials. Presently, the number of Catholics is increasing with migrant youth studying in different colleges. There were 140 Catholics only with five permanent families.
The Sacred Heart Chapel has not restricted its activities to Catholics alone. but reaches out to people of all denominations in a spirit of love and service. A branch of the All India Christian Forum was inaugurated in the chapel on 6th August, 1995. In 1996. when the road leading to the Sacred Heart Chapel and the adjacent colony was blocked by vested interests, the people of the colony came together irrespective of caste and creed, and successfully fought against the idgah committe. Several poor people have been helped for housing and self-employment. Thanks to the untiring efforts of the various chaplains, the Chapel has truly become a symbol of Christian faith.
MARIA NILAYA CONVENT: (Apostolic Carmel) :
All the sisters except invited in the pastoral and school ministry. The sisters, in their usual style., give their selfless service both inside and outside the school. They regularly visit the houses of the students, comfort those who are sick. The convent was started in June 1983. Sisters stayed in Rev Gyanis’s house. Sr. cencetta, Sr. Bertille, Sr. M Anitha were the first nuns to work in Bidar district.
St Joseph’s Higher Primary School : It was the first educational institution started by the Catholic Church in bidar mission in 1983. Perceiving the need for good education, especially for the poor, the permission for a kannada medium school was obtained and the school was opened on 6th June, 1983. This school, which saw its beginning in a small room at Fatch Darwaza, shifted to the present place in 1984, was upgraded into high school in 1990. Today nearly 900 children, irrespective of caste and creed, study in the primary and midldle school section. The school caters to the poorest children from the surrounding areas of Bidar towm and also from the villages of Bidar district, who stay in boarding. The school is rightly acclaimed as the best Kannada medium School in Bidar district. The school authorities have an uphill task controlling the rush for admissions. The school has set a standard for academics and moral values. It strives to bring up students as loyal and responsible citizens.
Jeevan Prakash study Home (for Boys) and Jeevan Jyothi study Home (for girls)
After stating the school at Bidar, it was soon realized that the majority of our poor children in the villages (Mission) from various taluks of Bidar district, could not benefit from the school. The Jeevan Jyothi study Home started in 1986 to help to such poor children. In 1995 the study Home was divided into two sections, for Boys and Girls separately. The objective of this Study Home was to educate the poor, deserving and talented children from our villages and form them into nucleus educators who on completion of their studies will go back to their villages, and help to educate their own village people. These Children are trained with a vision of making them the future leaders of their communities, who would bring solace and liberation to the oppressed people. The High School children, during their holidays would conduct regular literacy classes for the government primary school children in these villages and improve their learning. A homely atmosphere is maintained in the Study Homes and study Home are given for their all-round development. The Warden takes special care in achieving the objectives of these Study Homes with a clear action plan. Due to financial constraints, the average strength of the boarding is restricted to 70 every year.
ST. JOSEPH’S HIGH SCHOOL, BIDAR
Mr. Veerappa Moily, the then Education Minister of Karnataka inaugurated the St. Joseph High School (kannada Medium) in the academic year 1990-91. However, it took a long time of two years to obtain the required permission from the department. Though this school is acclaimed as one of the best Schools in Bidar, it is yet to receive the Grant-in-aid from the Government. Apart from having 100 % result in the year 1995-96, the school had an average result of above 90 per cent during the past 28 years. This is all because of the selfless and dedicated service of Correspondents the Fr. Baptist Menezes and the headmaster Fr. Ferdinand Gonsalves and the team of teachers in the school, who worked hard in the beginning. Every year, over 70 children appear for Drawing, Science and Hindi State-level Examinations and all of them pass with distinctions. The school works hard to stop mal-practices during the examinations by educating the students not to indulge in copying. Various club activities like art, craft, dance, music, needle work, and gardening are organized. The students secure District as well as State-level Honours in various competitions.
Moral Values, devotion to God, respect to the country and elders are given importance in the school. The school is preparing the students to live in harmony with all people in the society irrespective of cast and creed..
Maria Nilaya, Bidar
On the evening of 4th June 1983, after a long journey of about 20 hours, with night halt at Shimoga, the second batch of missionaries arrived at Bidar, along with Rt. Rev. Basil S. D’Souza the Bishop of Mangalore, Fr. Robert Miranda, the pioneer of the Mission, welcomed them warmly . The members in this new batch of missionaries were: Sr. Concetta AC, Sr. Bertille AC, Sr. Maria Anita AC and four Regents- Brothers Albert D’souza, James D’Souza, Peter D’ Souza, Louis D’sa and Fr. Benjamin D’Souza. For the first time Bidar witnessed the presence of Siters. As a convent building was not ready, the sisters stayed in Mr. Samuel Sequeira’s house for the first two days. Later, they shifted to Rev.Gyanis house.
On 6th June 1983, at 11.30 a.m. Maria Nilaya, the A.C. Sisters Convent was inaugurated by the Bishop at Fate Darwaza, in a space provided on rent by a kind Methodist Contactor D. Rajappa. A Carmel Home for the Missions was born in Bidar to be Missionaries in this predominantly a non-Catholic place, working for education, family apostolate and to a certain extent through direct evangelization. The Community: Maria Nilaya Convent moved to the present place on 8th Dec 1984. Unfortunately only two small rooms were available to them of the proposed convent building.
V. Rev. Sr Veronica A.C. the then provincial superior took personal interest in the Mission and prepared the team of Sisters to meet the challenges of the Mission. It was Sister Veronica who saw the hand of God in Bishop’s Invitetionto serve in Bidar Mission and do the pioneering work in the field of education.
The formal inaugural function of St. Joseph’s Convent School took place on 07.06.1983 at 11. 00 a.m. with the DDPI of Bidar presiding over the function. The Bishop of Mangalore blessed the rooms at Fate Darwaza, rented out by the Methodist Contractor D. Rajappa. This modest three room abode served as a residence for the Sisters as well as the class rooms for the students. Mr. B.R Shetty S.P. and a few officials were present for the Inauguration of the Convent. Thus started St. Joseph’s Convent school at Bidar under the management of the Catholic Board of Education, Mangalore. Assisted by AC sisters.
The Superiors of Maria Nilaya Community :
Sister Concetta – Sister – in – charge : June 1983 – May 1986
Sister Stella Mary– Sister-in-charge : May 1986- December 1988
Superior : December 1988 – May 1991
Sister Carmel Rose – Superior : June 1991- May 1994
Sister Evelyn Marie – Superior : June 1994 – May 1997
Sister Christine Noronha – Superior : May 1997 – May 1998
Sister Beatrice Pereira – Superior : May 1998 – June 2004
Sister Celine Vera – Superior : June 2004 – May 2010
Sister Christine Misquih – Superior : May 2010 – May 2016
Sr. Freeda AC ( May 2016-
JEEVAN JYOTHI HOSTEL :
In June 1987, the Mission Team decided to have a Study Home for the girl children of the villages under Evangelization Programme in the 3 Talukas of Bidar. The aim of the Study Home was to strengthen their Christian faith by providing them a education and to bring up the poor in the villages. The children after being educated would return to their village as good leaders and work for the betterment of their own people. As there was no building to accommodate the children, they were put up in the school building from 1987-91. During the first two years Sister, Carmel Rose supervised their studies and taught them Catechism regularly.
CARMEL VOCATIONAL TRAINING INSTITUTE, BIDAR. (CVTI)
Carmel Vocational Training Institute (Bidar) was inaugurated on 27th April 1999, by the Provincial Superior, Sister Linette AC. This Institute an the extended apostolate of the Apostolic Carmel Convent, Maria Nilaya, Bidar. Sister Christine Misquith the founder Principal carried on the activities of this center with great enthusiasm. This Centre is established after the pattern of Vijay May Technical School, Mangalore, with boarding facilities and academic and technical courses of study. The institute has proved to be a blessing for the empowerment of the poor, timid and diffident girls, who join here to seek a better life. The courses offered are Computer Education, Accountancy, Typewriting, Secretarial Practice, Tailoring, Spoken English and Education for Life.
The NIOS, New Delhi, has recognized Carmel Vocational Training Institute (CVTI) as a Study Center for Vocational Courses mentioned above. The students of CVTI have the facility to pursue a Two-Year Vocational Course after SSLC. Until now over 2000 students have passed out from this Center, obtaining a certificate from the NIOS, Government of India, New Delhi and every one of them has secured a job.
The CVTI, Bidar, gives not only Vocational training, but also academic education to the students who are dropouts and short courses to others. Tuition classes are arranged for the trainees who have failed in SSLC and to those who have passed seventh or eighth class and were unable to continue their studies and have been helped to pass SSLC . Besides academic studies, the CVTI trainees are given special inputs, to equip them to enter the world of work and also to be good house wives and responsible citizens. Faith in God, healthy friendships, leadership, office etiquette, adjustment in married life, bank transaction, postal services, time management, community dynamics, first aid and home nursing, AIDS awareness, and personality development form the part of the curriculum for the senior students. These equip them to enter the world of family, work and society with greater confidence. Through the training they receive they grow into responsible, socially conscious, confident and committed individuals and citizens. They imbibe leadership qualities mainly through their socially oriented activities and extracurricular programmes.
Not only do the students get empowered to live their own life, but it is worth recording that Carmel Vocational Training Institute has contributed much to help the people around, through the staff and students. Because of the presence of this institute, poor women of 25 villages are organized into 80 Self Help Groups (SHGs) under ORBIT. Sister Freeda AC is the Local Co-ordinator. Nearly 480 men underwent the de-addiction programme and their 486 children are sponsored by Caritas, Czech Republic.
Social Apostolate : Carmel Vocational Training Institute has Sponsorship Programme under Caritas Prague, Czech Republic and many poor children sre able to study and get jobs and look after their families well. Through Sponsorship programme many programmes are undertaken. Every year Remedial classes are taken up in six villages, 10 days camp is organized with short courses such as Machine Embroidery, Candle Making, Tailoring, Computer Hardware and Doll making, Funds for Goat rearing are made available. Computer Labs is provided 6 handicap children in their villages they can work and earn their livelyhood.
Carmel Vocational Training Institute also helped poor children to go to Mangalore and stay in four Children’s Homes for their study, and they have done very well in SSLC exam and all have passed.
Micro Credit for staff members of CVTI : Our Teachers have the benefit of taking loan from CVTI Micro Credit Scheme in urgent need and pay back in 10 months.
Micro Credit Scheme for Small Scale Businesses : Caritas Prague, Mrs. And Mr. Jason Fernandes from USA and Mr. Piere and Mrs. Tiny from Holand donated to this fund and till today we have given (until 2017) loan for goat rearing to the 113 women, Buffaloe loan to 245 women, Small Business loan to 62 women. This has contributed to women’s empowerment a lot.
Carmel Community College: In 2006, Carmel Community College was started on the 2nd floor funded by Manos Unidas, Spain through the initiative taken by Fr. Xavier Alphonse SJ the founder of Community College in Tamil Nadu. Carmel Community College is affiliated to ICRDC and this was inaugurated by Sister Olivia AC, the then Provincial Superior, Karnataka Province and blessed by Bishop Robert Miranda, Bishop of Gulbarga. This College offers Nursery Training Course and so far it has trained 552 teachers and all are employed in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Carmel D.Ed. College : The Bishop Rev. Robert Michael Miranda had requested Sister Olivia to consider starting a D.Ed. College, so as to give an opportunity to the deprived youth of the Diocese and Bidar Mission to become trained teachers and find a respectable profession in life. It was a mutual gift that the Bishop of Gulbarga and the AC Province of Karnataka made. The Province purchased a 2-acre land from the Bishop to start the D.Ed. College for a nominal price while the Bishop made a gift deed of the property, on which the Convent and the CVTI are constructed. Carmel D.Ed. College got permission the order from National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) on 26.06.2009 and the Govt. of Karnataka granted permission to have Kannada as the medium of instruction.
The Day, 28th July 2009 was a red letter day for the Sisters of Maria Nilaya. At 3.00 p.m., the invitees were welcomed with the blessing of a mild shower. Sister Olivia A.C., Provincial Superior, inaugurated the College Building. Bishop Robert Miranda, Bishop of Gulbarga blessed the building. Sister Celine Vera was the Superior. Sri Harsha Gupta, DC, Sri Suryavamshi, the M.P. and Sr. Lydia Educational Secretary were the Chief Guests.
Sister Noelle Marie was appointed as the Principal and Sister Jyothi, as the Vice -Principal.
The D.Ed. College caters to the faith formation of Catholics as well as Christians. Values are inculcated and English language is given importance. They are trained to value the manual work, outreach programmes are conducted and placement for the passed outstudents is provided. In all, they are trained to be responsible persons and serve the Society through good education.
Carmel Play School : It was started in 2012. It was started mainly for the children of poor parents who go for job/work and have no one to look after their children. The all round development and the growth of the tiny children is taken care. (2½ to 3½ years age). There is good staff to take care, and also sufficient place for children.
Rescue Home : On June 1st, 2012 Maria Nilaya Started a Rescue Home for women in distress. So far we have accommodated 2 families and after counseling sent them back to their homes. Three women were in the Home for 2 years they too got a better future. Three girls were rescued and got education in Carmel Vocational Training Institute and got jobs.
Children’s Home : On November 1st, 2012, Children’s Home was started to give faith –formation and good education to Jamgi colony Children. The children of this colony are given admissions in the school and accommodation in the children’s Home. Special care and attention is given to them, for their Spiritual, Physical and Emotional growth.
Activities of Maria Nilaya:- The Sisters of Maria Nilaya are actively involved in Educational, Vocational, Professional and Social Apostolate. Sisters give full Co-operation in the Parish by teaching Sunday Catechism, preparing for the Liturgy, attending SCC Meetings, visiting the families, attending PPC meetings, Team meetings, Co-operating in Parish programmes, visiting catholic families Jamgi Colony, helping in settling disputes in the families and showing compassion to the sick and suffering, also offering financial help to the poor. Sisters also give dedicated service at St. Joseph’s Institutions. Sisters have been in-charge of different Commissions at the Local level such as Liturgy, Bible, Catechetic, Youth, Development, Peace, Justice, Labour, Family, Health, Vocation and Formation, Prison and Education. Etc.
Through the A.C. Associates- our partners, sisters have strengthened the members in their faith by motivating them to have prayer in their families, desire for sacraments, specially the Eucharist, have a Compassionate heart towards the poor and the sick. Sisters have good relationship with the Parish Priest and the Assistant Parish Priest, Sisters of St. Joseph’s Chambery, with civic authorities and also the public.
The Superior and the Community is ever grateful to the Diocese of Gulbarga headed by inspiring, dynamic, enthusiastic and hardworking Bishop Robert Miranda for encouraging, supporting, loving, motivating all of us to live our consecrated life in a very meaningful way, very specially we are greatly indebted to him for helping us to work always as a Team which is an unique experience.