Committed to our Charism of “Loving God in Serving the Poor to be fully human and fully alive”, the first group of young volunteers under the guidance of Founder, Fr. J.E. Arul Raj began to live an apostolic life in a small village called Pandravedu in Tiruttani District of Tamil Nadu. They started to be involved in socio – pastoral ministry among the poor villagers. Trusting in the providence of God and literally living under a mango tree and a small hut in Keechalam, the Society began its life, serving the marginalized, especially the women and children through the formation of small self-help groups.
The services of the sisters and the style of leading people first to green pastures and then to the Shepherd Jesus Christ and through him to the Heavenly Father caught the attention of many. Various dioceses invited the sisters to intervene and support the struggles of the people around their parishes. We, the DMIs readily responded to such calls. Thus, the seed sown in Keechalam has branched out to Thiruvallur, Kancheepuram, Chennai, Perambalur, Salem, Pudukkottai, Dindigul, Nagapattinam and Sivagangai Districts in Tamil Nadu; Danapur, and Tumsar in North India. In all these places, we began serving the poor and the oppressed through women group formation, skill trainings, empowerment programmes, children parliaments and other socio-pastoral initiatives aimed at holistic development and a fully human and fully alive life.
Home based care for children and the differently abled and sponsorship programme for children are also being carried out in places like Keechalam, Kavunji, Annainagar, Chettiapatti, Rajakkamanagalamthurai, Nagapattinam, Ottanthangal, Elupatti, Kodikkotai, Thomas Mount and Saswad. Also in Thekkampattu, Valikandapuram, Perambakkam, Tirisulam, Danapur and Tumsar.
While socio-pastoral and child welfare ministry have always been in the full bloom, we felt around the year 2000, that the Church needed to do more in the field of higher level Technical Education. So, we started Engineering Colleges with the noble intention of equipping rural children with professional skills. We have today 7 Engineering Colleges in Chennai, Tanjore, Nagercoil, Coimbatore and Tiruneveli, 2 Arts and Science Colleges in Chennai and Tirunelveli, 3 Colleges of education in Chennai, Tirunelveli and Rajapalayam. The list includes a Polytechnic College and teachers training institute in Rajapalayam apart from the schools run in various places. 25 Schools are also being run by us. A Catholic University by name St. Joseph University is being run by our Sisters in Nagaland.
In the year 2003, the African mission was thus unfolded. Today, apart from the socio-pastoral initiatives and child development programmes of the DMI sisters in various places of Africa, there are 3 full-fledged universities in Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi offering regular and virtual education. We also have a college of Medical and Allied Sciences in Tanzania. Huge medical missions in Ethiopia and Tanzania, a great re-evangelization mission and peace and reconciliation efforts are being undertaken in the war-torn country of South Sudan. Besides, we have our presence in Rome and Brazil as well.
Our main ministries can be enlisted as follows:
• Visiting the Catholic Families
• Promoting Basic Christian Communities
• Preparing for the first communion and other sacraments
• Teaching Catechism
• Visiting sick and praying for the sick
• Distributing Communion
• Assisting in the parish works
• Attending the unfortune events
Evangelization through Social Development
• Vocational Skill training centers
• Rehabilitation centres for underprivileged
• Non-formal Education
• Women Empowerment Programmes
• Child Development Mission
• Food Security Programme
• Community Health Programme
• Livelihood promotion for rural families
• Elementary Schools
• CBSE School
• Residential and Matriculation Schools
• Higher Level Technical Education (Engineering Colleges)
• Community Health care Programme
• Hospitality Centers
• Vocational Skill training Centre
• Rehabilitation Centers
• Women and Youth Hostel
• Evangelization Centre