Short History of Founder

     The Congregation of Assisi Sisters of Mary Immaculate was originated in the loving providence of God, according to His wonderful plan to accomplish a special mission in the church. To accomplish His vision God has chosen a newly ordained young and zealous priest of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Arch diocese. His name was Fr. Joseph K .W Thomas Kandathil who had just started his priestly service as the assistant parish priest of Muttam church near Cherthala. Instead of spending his day in the safety of the presbytery, he loved to visit the poor slums of the locality. He was moved with compassion seeing the miseries of people living in those huts which were the abode of utter poverty, ignorance, unemployment and dreadful diseases like phileria, small pox and leprosy. He was haunted by the desire to do something for those miserable to help and uplift them. Hence he started a small dispensary and an old age home near the parish church. The condition of leprosy stricken brethren was very pathetic those days. When a person was diagnosed as afflicted with leprosy, they were packed in mats and thrown to road sides and cemeteries with the fate of being eaten alive by wild dogs and ferocious wolves.

         Fr. Joseph's dream was to find a refuge for those helpless ones so that they can be treated, cured and brought back to life. With this desire he approached many generous persons of the locality and one of them donated 9 acres of barren land to him. Here he started St. Joseph poor leprosy hospital on 2nd February 1942. During his major seminary life he had some exposure to leprosy patients at Fr. Mullers' hospital and he used to dress their wounds and also he had some practice in the homeopathic medicine. These experiences helped him to wash and dress the wounds of the lepers with his own hands in the newly started home. For the patients he was not only a priest to sooth their agonising soul, but also a father and mother to them. To feed his children he was not ashamed to go for begging throughout the eastern and western parts of Kerala. When the number of inmates increased to hundreds, he could not do everything on his own and hence he requested the help of few congregations.
         A few sisters volunteered to assist him but they could not cope up with the hard and challenging life. When the sisters went back to their own convents he felt the urgent need of his own sisters who never go back leaving his children abandoned or show reluctance while taking the worms from the foul smelling ulcers. With a desire to start a congregation he approached the Arch Bishop of Ernakulam, Mar Augustin Kandathil who was His paternal Uncle. But the Arch Bishop was reluctant to give such a permission. Fr. Joseph was not disappointed but he persistently knocked at the door of Christ's heart saying "I need sisters". It was the time for Jesus to act and He sent girls ready for such a hard life. A postulant named Teresitta was chosen by God to be the first flower to be planted in the garden of God. She became ill and died soon. The Arch bishop, Fr. Joseph and the mother superior of CMC convent Muttam had a dream in the very night that the soul of Sr. Teresitta going up to heaven with a flower in her hand. This vision made the Arch Bishop to confirm that it was the will of God to give permission to Fr. Joseph.
         Since Fr. Joseph had no idea of the nature of the congregation to be started, he waited for a sign from above. Those days he was preaching a retreat to the Carmelite Sisters of Muttam Convent and was also making a retreat himself. One day, after an hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, he went to sleep. During the sleep he had a vision. He saw the Crucified Christ embracing St. Francis of Assisi. He understood it as the sign from heaven to start a Franciscan congregation. Thus the long awaited desire of Fr. Joseph was fulfilled on 2nd April 1949. Fr. Joseph was a person who never longed for human appreciation hence he neither published his services nor allowed anyone to do it. But Before he was called to eternal reward on 12th Dec 1991, Fr. Joseph could see the fast growth of the congregation in to all most all the states of India and raising of the congregation in to pontifical rite on April 28th 1986. As a reward to his selfless service to the humanity the Papal See has given him the title as Monsignor in the year 1969.Within a short period of 28 years after his death, our beloved Father Founder was declared servant of God by the Holy See on on 24th October 2019.