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Montfort Brothers in the North East India

A Brief History of the Province of North East India.
The Beginning:

Landing at Silchar airport the six missionaries found themselves in a totally alien soil. They were earlier sent off affectionately by the Brothers at Yercaud much in the same way as mothers in olden days sent off their beloved sons to the battlefield. Good wishes and prayers in full measure accompanied the six men who were chosen to implant Montfortian foundations in the far off land of Mizoram. The affectionate and warm welcome they received from His Lordship Bishop Denzil Souza who had invited them to lend a helping hand in his diocese, was indeed quite reassuring.

To the north east of India, bordering Bangladesh, Myanmar and China lie the seven sisters - Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura. Connected to the rest of the country only by a narrow goose neck stretch of land, these States greatly felt neglected by the rest of India. The natural consequence showed itself in the simmering anger of the people that gave rise to myriad self-styled underground movements. Born on the ostensible ideology of freedom and the right to self-determination, their very existence have now become a way of life giving rise to chaos and anarchy, hampering the growth and development of the Region.

The warm welcome that the missionaries received at the Bishops House on the outskirts of the town soon melted away their initial trepidation. The affable and cheerful ways of the young Bishop bowled them over. The priests and other religious appeared to be equally simple and endearing. After the lunch and some rest they proceed to Kolasib in Mizoram. After an exhausting journey that lasted about five hours, along NH 54 serving as the only artery that connects Mizoram with the rest of the country, meandering along the picturesque hills and valleys, they reached Kolasib to spent the night there.


Bishop Thomas Menamparampil, upon his transfer from Dibrugarh to the newly created diocese of Guwahati extended an invitation to the Brothers to have a mission centre at Guwahati. He pledged a 10 acre plot of land, 23 kms away from the city, on NH 37. With a rubber plantation, this plot of land was acquired by him from the Silesians. Bro. Martin and Bro. Leopold who was the District Superior at that time moved to Guwahati to stay at the Bishops House and develop the newly acquired property. It took several hundred truck loads of earth and the magic of Bro. Martins dedication and hard work to turn the fish ponds along the highway to usable land. The administrative office of the District Superior also was shifted to this centre at Guwahati from Chabua. Eventually, the school would become another centre for the inclusive education of children with disabilities.


Though, much has changed since the days of the first Brothers who came to the northeast, life here still throws up many challenges. The very same problems that the first batch of Brothers encountered continue to torment. The language and culture barrier remain as a hurdle even today. Doubts and setbacks continue to bother them. Lack of vision and commitment shows itself in self-destructive attitudes. But in all these there is the hope in the minds of the Brothers that one day they will break free and set out like the apostles, always ready for action, always prepared to suffer any trial men with the freedom of the Lord Jesus Himself(Montforts prayer).