ST. THOMAS SEMINARY MHOW
To promote religious missionary vocation, in the footsteps of Jesus Christ and our founder St. Arnold Janssen.
We achieve this through a proper selection of the candidates and grooming them in an atmosphere conducive to discern and grow in their religious missionary vocation and facilitating the integral development of personality.
HISTORY OF ST. THOMAS SEMINARY MHOW
After several attempts by the first SVD pioneers in India, to open a Minor Seminary had failed, it finally started in June 1951. Since not many vocations could be expected from our own young diocese, Rev. Fr. Zimmermann SVD made an extensive tour of South India to make our Society known in the Catholic Centres of Travancore (Kerala) and Mangalore. His enthusiasm and great effort brought in a rich harvest; 36 youngsters volunteered out of whom 15 had already finished High School. It was an adventurous enterprise and heaven alone knows how many headaches it caused Fr. Regional Schoepe SVD to feed and accommodate the Society’s nursery in the premise of the Rajeshwar High School. It was no less adventure for the boys. A great number of them travelled for the first time by train for three to four days on end leaving their homes a good 1500 miles behind. They waved a wistful good bye to their sunny coast, while the swaying coconut palms bade them farewell. In exchange they had here the extremes of summer heat and winter cold of the Malwa in the North. Among other things they had to get used to an entirely new diet and way of life. The small boys had also to attend school with the unfamiliar Hindi medium. Their idealism was put to a rugged test. It could only be God’s Providence that sent Brother Gratian who hailed from Mangalore who knew the mother tongues of all the boys, surely a great asset in settling many problems. According to Fr. Edward D’Mello SVD there were 18 from Kerala and 19 from Karnataka. He writes, out of 37 eighteen became priests (Some SVDs and others Diocesans).
In the first year Fr. Joachim Mocha SVD was the rector who was more at home with Hindi than with English. He enjoyed hunting, when the boys went on picnic. Br. Gratian Aroojis was the prefect and guide. He was doing his regency. There was no football ground, so the students used the military ground for football.
The situation eased a bit when the Latinists moved to Palda in June 1953. Plans for new buildings were proposed and dropped; till one day a golden opportunity suddenly presented itself. It became known that the Reiffer Brothers wanted to sell the Photo studio of their father. It is in fact the only large bungalow in the vicinity of the church and school. The bungalow was promptly bought and a few months’ work converted the studio into a minor Seminary.
On the New Year day of 1956 His Lordship Bishop Simons SVD blessed the house and called down our Lord for the first time upon the altar of our little chapel. Father Henry Wichelmann SVD, the Regional, together with a few other guests graced the occasion with their presence. Among them was Br. Paul SVD who got news at breakfast that this Benjamin of Divine Word Houses would also be his new residence, while he continues to work as treasurer to the High School.
The following confreres were in St. Thomas Seminary in different capacities:
-Fr. Mathew Mullawana (Diocesan Priest in Raipur was Prefect …1962-1963. Frt. Alumckal (Regent) from 1963 to 1964 (Left). Fr. Joseph Puthur SVD . Prefect (Regent) from 1964 to 1965 (Now in INE). –Fr. Jose Vazhayil SVD Prefect (Regent) from 1965 to 1966. Fr. Patrick Ruane SVD, (Staff and to learn Hindi) in 1965-66, Later on appointed to Sirpur, Khandwa. At the moment he is retired and staying in Brazil (Catalogus 2012, Page 160) Fr. Gratian Aroojis, Indore diocesan priest was the first regent of St. Thomas Seminary who was borrowed from Goregaon seminary, Mumbai by Fr. Peter Verhallen SVD in 1950s. He knew Konkani and Malyalam pretty well so he could manage with the new recruits from the states of Karnataka and Kerala. Brother Paulus SVD was a treasurer in Rajeshwar and was staying in the Seminary during Fr. Kanski’s tenure. Br. Amabilis Schoddel SVD was Farm in-charge and was staying in the farm itself during Fr. Kanski’s tenure. Fr. Joseph Puthuparambil SVD, staff and college student during Fr. Kanski’s tenure, in Christian College. Within last 62 years, candidates from Hindi speaking belt also were admitted in the seminary numbering around two thousand. Out of them more than 130 priests are ordained.