The Medical Sisters of St.Joseph is an Oriental Religious Congregation for women canonically ascribed to the Syro-Malabar Church. It is a Congregation of sisters with simple vows and the charism of the congregation is ‘compassionate love’. It has got Pontifical status and has got abbreviated title as MSJ. We combine both active and contemplative life, by joining the work of Martha to the prayer of Mary. It is a congregation whose members strive for self sanctification and sanctification of others through healing ministry and there by establish the Kingdom of God on earth.
History of the Medical sisters of St.Joseph:
Way back in early thirties of 19th century when health was not considered as a priority issue, the heart of a visionary was set on fire with zeal and compassion for the suffering under privileged brethren of our country. The Congregation of the Medical Sisters of St.Joseph is the fruit of the deep God experience and merciful love of our revered founder father, Servant of God Msgr.Joseph C.Panjikaren (1888-1949) towards the sick and suffering. Msgr.Panjikaren who was the director of the propagation of faith in the Vicariate of Ernakulum had taken keen interest in his life to proclaim the good news of Jesus to the poor. A zealous pastor that he was, Msgr.Panjikaren had directly seen the pain, the hardships, and the loneliness of the sick and poor during his many pastoral visits. It was his deep conviction that the church had the responsibility to provide Medical Service to these people. Realizing that the proclamation of the Gospel is to be supported by genuine acts of Charity, our founder opened a hospital named “Dharmagiri”(Charity Mount) at Kothamangalalm, Kerala in 1934.At that time when not many in the Catholic church in Kerala had opted to nurse the sick ,our founder decided to found a religious congregation for women ,that has care of sick as its apostolate.
On 31st October 1944, the then Metropolitan of Ernakulum Arch-diocese, Mar Augustine Kandathil granted official permission for the Congregation. With the profession of seven sisters on 3rd July, 1946 the religious congregation under the title the “Medical Sisters of St.Joseph”( MSJ) got canonically erected in the church with the status of a Diocesan Congregation.
Our Motto: " Love Serves"
Our Revered founder has given us three maxims;
!.”Thy will be done” (Lk 22; 42b)
2.”As long us you did it to the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”(Mt 25:40)
3.”Through the body to the soul”
“In union with Jesus the compassionate love, who emptied himself on the cross ,contemplate his face in all ,especially the less privileged, poor and the sick brethren and become ‘compassionate love’ to lead them to the living experience of the Kingdom of God through our humble service.”
The abbreviated title MSJ is arranged in such a way that 'J' & 'S' come inside 'M'. It reminds the members that like Mother Mary who brought forth Jesus for the world, we must sit at the feet of the Lord and listen to the word of God like Mary of Bethany and interiorize the spirit of the word and engage in selfless service like Martha. The lighted ‘Chiradh’ touching the ‘J’ reminds us that all our services must be initiated from our love for Jesus. By contemplating the face of Jesus i prayer we draw energy to see Jesus in all who comes to receive our service. The cross is the essence of religious life. It is the symbol of total surrender. It is the sign of prayer, Service, redemptive suffering and total self giving.
Following a Lady of Dolours, the co-redeemer with Jesus, we must understand the worth of cross and make all our services and sufferings for the service of the sick along with the pain and afflictions of our patients, redemptive. Lilly reminds us the life example of our heavenly patron St. Joseph. Following St. Joseph who took a main role in the paschal mystery, we must deepen our interior life through a humble and hard working life style. Lilly, the symbol of purity reminds us to lead a life of purity even when we render our service in varied life situations, walk through the roads of the world communicating compassionate presence of Jesus, but the not the world.