July 6 – IN MADHYA PRADESH
IN MADHYA PRADESH
Madhya Pradesh is a very large State of 443,000 km2 and it has some 70 million inhabitants. The capital situated in the west is Bhopal, and the main city in the centre is Jabalpur. The Institute only came rather late to the State by opening a school in the industrial outskirts of Jabalpur, at Ranjhi, on 6 July 1959, at the request of the bishop of the place. It is still in existence
Fourteen years later, in 1973, the bishop of Bhopal invited the Brothers to replace the priests in his diocesan school of St Francis situated in a poor quarter of the capital.
The years 1985, 1986 and 1987 saw one after the other the opening of a juniorate at Jabalpur, a village school at Junuwani catering to tribal children, and the taking charge of the boarding of Thomas at Khandwa. This is one of the thirty that the diocese has opened since 1977 for very poor children. They are lodged, fed and taken care of there but attend classes in a government school.
In 1992, the Provincial House was transferred from Delhi to Bhopal. In 1993, a school was taken over in Mandla, some 100 km from Jabalpur. In 1996, the Brothers withdrew from the school of Junuwani but started the one at Banea, situated not far from the Bihar border, in the district of Surguja, home of tribal people who are in majority Catholic, as in neighbouring Chotanagpur around Ranchi. By contrast, the other communities of Delhi Province (of which Madhya Pradesh is a part) are situated in milieus where Catholics are very few in number. The Province whose novices come from many different parts of India, hopes to have a higher number of vocations from its own territory. The bishop is residing at Ambikapur about 80 km away from Banea. The Province is planning to buy a plot in this city to build a technical school and a centre for the handicapped.
In 1997, another school was opened in Bhopal, Montfort School.
In 1998, the creation of a third Indian novitiate at Uppal brought about some changes: the pre-novitiate of Uppal was transferred to Jabalpur in place of the juniorate which was shifted to Sardhana.