About the FMM

Stella Maris College is managed by the Sisters of the Institute of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary

The Foundress
Blessed Mary of the Passion
(Helene de Chappotin)
1839-1904

Blessed Mary of the Passion was born on May 21, 1839 in Nantes, France. Since her earliest years God had placed his hand on her and was forming her for a challenging mission through the difficult circumstances of her life. She came to India in 1865 at the age of 26 as a Sister of the Marie Reparatrix Congregation and worked in Tamil Nadu for 11 years having mastered Tamil, the local language. Her love for the people who affectionately called her Passion Thayar, and her bold missionary initiatives for development work and the empowerment of women met with resistance, confrontation and misunderstandings by the local church. Under very oppressive circumstances, she and a group of Reparatrix sisters decided to withdraw from the Marie Reparatrix Congregation. She returned to Rome in November 1876 in order to explain her situation. The Holy Father, having heard her, asked her to write a Rule of Life as she perceived life in the Missions. Her Rule of Life was approved by Pope Pius IX on January 6, 1877 and the Institute of the Missionaries of Mary was born. Later in 1882 she affiliated the Institute to the Franciscan Order and the Institute of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary came into being.

Her biographers describe her as "an extraordinary woman, marked by a boundless love for the Absolute, strong in times of trial and suffering, always serene, easily forgiving and generous, and outstanding for her

indefatigable zeal. She was endowed with nobility of heart, with a superior intelligence and with a tenacious will, surrendering herself entirely to God by her offering of herself to Him and dedicated to Mission. She occupied an important position in the Church, and in the evolution of Missionary Spirituality, and distinguished herself by her renowned holiness, sincerity and uprightness.

She died on November 15, 1904. At the time of her passing away the Institute had spread through Europe, the four continents, Asia, Africa and the Americas, in 23 countries, 80 communities and numbered 2060 Sisters.

THE INSTITUTE

The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary are a religious Institute founded by Mother Mary of the Passion (born Helene de Chappotin du Neuville, 1839-1904) at Ootacamund, Tamil Nadu, on January 6, 1877. The Missionaries form an International religious congregation of women representing 79 nationalities spread over 75 countries on five continents. As of 2013, the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary formed the fifth largest religious Institute for women in the Catholic Church with 6314 members.

From its origin, the F.M.M. charism was lived in International / Intercultural communities. The face of their fraternal communities, like a rainbow, is composed of sisters from different peoples, nations, languages and cultures, who welcome one another as a gift from God. In this way their communities witness to unity in diversity, announcing the future that God is preparing for them when all peoples reconciled will be gathered into one people of God. This characteristic of their communities offers them the possibility, together with others, of creating bridges which unite them beyond their differences.

Among the FMM, the family spirit is very important. The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary live love and express it in multiple ways. It is called strength of life, newness of the Gospel, passion, daring, risk, commitment for Justice. It becomes a face, a word, a meeting, a dialogue, a presence, an out-stretched hand. It is questioning, risk and choice, peace and reconciliation, offering and gift, consecration and prayer, new life and hope.They are available for universal mission, ready to leave their countries or to remain there, according to the call of mission in order to go anywhere and to anyone, to announce the Good News of God's love.

In India they are about 1300 sisters spread over five provinces - Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ootacamund and Chennai Provinces with about 250 Sisters in each province.

The Ministries they are involved in, in India, as in the whole world, are Education, Health Care, and Development Work, work with those affected by Hansen's disease, migrants, the marginalised and pastoral work.

Following Mary of the Passion and all those who have preceded them, they are called to defend life, justice and human dignity. With contemplative eyes they see the poor as persons and places of the revelation of God who challenges them.