“Handmaids of Christ” celebrate the Founder’s birth day
On 11 February, the Congregation of the “Handmaids of Christ” are commemorating 141st birth day of their Founder, Mons. Herculano Gonsalves. Born at Cana of Benaulim on 11 February 1868, he was ordained priest in Rachol Seminary in 1893 and soon sent to Daman where he worked till 1911. He then served the Church in Dabul and Sonapur. In Sonapur he founded the the still existing Little Flower High School. As he returned to Goa in 1930, he came down to Calangute, where he established an orphanage, founded a school and established the III Order of Franciscans. At this stage of his life he was appointed Vicar General of the Western Ghatts and in this capacity he had to accompany the Bishop the parishes of Belgaum. He was also awarded the title of Papal Chamberlain and Desembargador.
It is in this period, in 1935, that he founded an Association of women, initially known as “Irmãs de S.to Aleixo”, and now known as Handmaids of Christ. These sisters are offering their services not only in the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman. Their services were required elsewhere in India as they are found working in Sakinaka in Mumbai, Belgundi and Sangargalli in Belgaum, Karwar and Karikal in Karwar, Kolpewadi and Rahata in Nashik, Harnai and Mangaon in Sindhdurg. They are engaged in a wide range of pastoral activities which covers the ministry in slums, managing and teaching in schools, social work among girls and assisting in various diocesan bodies and institutions, in the spirit with which the founder instilled in them through his personal guidance and the rule he gave them.
The celebration tomorrow will be marked by a Mass at 7.30 am to be celebrated by Archbishop-Patriarch Fili[pe Neri Ferrão and, thereafter, the blessing and inauguration of a Museum on life and works of this eminent person