The Society of Nirmala Dasi Sisters community was founded by
Rt. Rev. Joseph Kundukulam and his co-founder Msgr. Joseph Vilangadan
Mar. Joseph Kundukulam
(Our Beloved Founder)
Born : 26/09/1917 Ordination : 20/12/1942 Episcopal Consecration : 16-08-1970 1st Metropolitan Archbishop of Thrissur
Archdiocese :21-08-1995 Death : 26/04/1998
Mar Joseph Kundukulam
He was born on 26th September 1917 in a village called Parappur in the diocese of Trichur. His parents - Kuriyappan and Unicharu - were highly religious minded. He had two brothers and two sisters. Both the sisters joined the CMC Congregation.
He had his minor seminary formation in Thrissur and his study of Philosophy and Theology at St. Joseph’s Pontifical Seminary, Aluva. He was ordained priest on 20th December 1942 by Mar Augustine Kandathil, the then Archbishop of Ernakulam.
Afterwards he was appointed by Mar George Alappat, the Bishop of Trichur, as assistant parish priest and afterwards the vicar in a good number of parishes in the diocese of Trichur. His deep prayer life, apostolic zeal and compassion for the poor made him very dear to all the people of the parishes wherever he served. In addition to that, he was a very popular and impressive preacher of the word of God so much so that he was often called for preaching retreats in the churches and giving talks in the various prayer centres of Kerala.
Highly impressed by his holy of life, compassion for the poor and zeal for the people of God, in the year 1958 he was appointed by Bishop George Alappat, as the Vicar of St. Ann’s Church, and the director of St. Ann’s orphanage at West Fort, near Thrissur. He worked hard for the all-round development of the parish; together with that he was concerned with giving utmost care and protection of the inmates of the orphanage. It was during those days that he came very close to Rev. Fr. Joseph Vilangadan, the future co-founder of the Nirmala Dasi Society. A new home with the name St. Christina’s Home was started in Pullazhy, near Thrissur, on 15th August 1967 at the initiative of Fr. Joseph Vilangadan. Bishop George Alappat appointed Fr. Kundukulam as the director of the institute.
After the retirement of Bishop George Alappat, Mar Joseph Kundukulam was appointed as his successor and Bishop of Trichur. His Episcopal consecration took place on 16th August, 1970. During his period of administration there was enormous development for the diocese in the spiritual, social and apostolic fields. He was respected by all regardless of caste, religion and position. He had a very close association with the civil authorities and leaders of the society. Above all, he captured the minds of the people as a very powerful speaker of the word of God and as an ambassador of Christ’s compassionate love and mercy for the poor. He was popularly called “Pavangalude Pithavu” meaning the Father of the Poor. He was made the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Thrissur on 21st August 1995.
He was called to eternal rest on 26th April 1998 while he was on a visit to his daughters serving in Kenya and was buried in the Lourdes Metropolitan Cathedral Thrissur on 29th April 1998.
The spirituality of Mar Joseph Kundukulam may be summarised in his own Episcopal motto “All for all.” After the example of St. Paul (1Cor. 9:22), he made himself a holocaust of love and sacrifice for all – for God, for the people, for the poor and orphaned, for the sick and derelict, for the widows, children and homeless, and for his own spiritual daughters, the Nirmala Dasis. The most striking features of his holy personality are the following: Complete trust in God; union with God through prayer; fidelity to his priestly and consecrated life; a life ‘for the poor, with the poor and like the poor;’ exceptional zeal in preaching the word of God; commitment to the missionary call of the Church to all the nations and peoples; simple and sweet way of dealing with others; his insistence that his spiritual daughters, the Nirmala Dasis, should persevere in serving Jesus the poor by serving the poor with them (Mt. 25:34-40), in which he summarised the apostolic charism of the Society of the Nirmala Dasis which he founded.
Joseph Vilangadan D.C.L.
(Our Beloved Co-Founder)
Ordination : 07-12-1954
Domestic Prelate : 07-05-1992
Death : 09-10-2011
B. Monsignor Joseph Vilangadan
He was born on August 18, 1926, in the ancient Christian Vilangadan family, in Thrippunithura, Kerala. His parents, Ulahannan and Annamma, were very devout and faithful Christians. Of their five children, Fr. Vilandan was the fourth one. His two sisters became nuns: Sr. Mary CMC and Sr. Cabrini CMC.
After his secular education at Thrippunithura and Thrissur, he joined the minor seminary of the Archdioces of Trichur. He had his study of Philosophy and Theology in Rome. He was ordained priest on December 7, 1954 by Archbishop Sigismondi. After his priestly ordination he continued his studies in Canon Law and obtained Doctorate in the same discipline from Rome.
After returning to Kerala he was appointed assistant vicar of the Lourdes Cathedral, Thrissur. He discharged the offices of Catechism Director, Sodality Director, Promoter of Justice, Secretary to Bishop Alappat and Bishop Kundukulam. In 1970, when Mar Kundukulam assumed his office as the Bishop of Trichur, Rev. Fr. Fr. Joseph Vilangadan was appointed as the director of St. Christina’s Home. He also served as the Chancellor of the Archdiocese, member of the administrative council and consultant of the Oriental Churches. For a few years he offered his services to the new diocese of Palakkad. In 1992 he was conferred the honour of Monsignor.
From 1971 to 1997 he served as the Director of St. Christina’s Home (Pullazhi), St. Joseph’s Aged Home (Pullazhy), Pope John Paul Peace Home (Ambalapuram), Home of Love (Mulayam), St. Christina’s Home Rehabilitation Centre (Kozhinjampara) etc. Residing at Mulayam Nirmala Bhavan Novitiate House from 1997 to 2000, he continued serving as the Director of St. Christina’s Home Rehabilitation Centre. From 2001-2008 he was the Director of the St. Joseph’s Aged Home (Pullazhy). In 1998 he was appointed as a member and judge of the tribunal for the canonization of St. Euphrasia. In the year 2008 Msgr. Vilangadan retired from the official ministries and thereafter he spent his time in the Novitiate House, Mulayam and Pope John Paul Peace Home, Ambalapuram. He was called to eternal rest on 9th October 2011 and was buried in the cemetery attached to the Nirmala Bhavan Novitiate House, Mulayam.
The following are the salient features standing out in the eminent and saintly personality of very Rev. Fr. Joseph Vilangadan: He was a man of deep prayer, faith, personal holiness and awareness of God; a man of vast life experience and great scholarship; a man of remarkable love and compassion for the poor and derelict; a man of discipline, punctuality, sense of responsibility, simple living, hard work and insistence on perfection in everything.
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