The Claretian Congregation that began its journey on July 16, 1849 in Spain had its origin in India as a result of the foresight of Bishop Sebastian Vayalil, fırst bishop of Palai, Kerala and the then Superior General of the Congregation V. Rev. Fr. Peter Schweiger, who were eager in missionary endeavors. Bishop Sebastian Vayalil came to know about the Claretians through Fr. Alexander Cherukarakunnel, from the diocese of Palai, who was studying in Rome and had a few Claretian friends. In 1960 Bishop Sebastian went to Germany and formed a clear plan regarding the starting of a branch of the Congregation in India.

From 1961 onwards Mar Sebastian Vayalil sent a few batches of students from his own minor seminary to pursue their Claretian formation in Germany. Two among them, Joseph Madavath and Mathew Pazhayemkottil, were ordained by Mar Sebastian Vayalil at Frankfurt, Germany in 1968. The new priests were immediately sent back to India to begin the mission. In India Claretians decided to prepare a sound basis of missionary formation. So they started with the Minor Seminary at Kuravilangad (Kerala), a simple novitiate at Carmelaram and a study house at Malleswaram (Karnataka), another minor seminary in Tamil Nadu. Then they looked for mission stations in Tamil Nadu, Andra Pradesh and other parts of India. Fr. Francis Dirnberger who was the then Vice Provincial in Germany came to India as an elder brother who should assist his young brethren and fell in love with this country. When the number of students went up, the Claretians in India spread out very well to so many places in the different regions of India. They developed different possibilities of an apostolic missionary work: missions, parishes, publications, teaching, helping the sick, the poor, and those who are living on at the fringe of society etc.

Today Claretians in India have a history of five decades during which they have grown into five organisms - three Provinces namely Bangalore, Chennai and St Thomas and two Independent Delegations namely North East and Kolkata. Presently 580 Claretian missionaries from India are serving in 18 states of india and 25 countries in the world.


Thomas Province of the Claretian Missionaries is the third Major Organism in India. The province was officially inaugurated on 16 July 2004. At present there are 138 Priests,5 perpetually professed members, 29 temporally professed members, 6 novices, 63 aspirants and postulants in formation,14 houses and 15 residences. The Main Apostolates of the Province include Evangelization, Preaching, Social Development, Education, Prison Ministry, Care for the HIV/AIDS Positive People, Rehabilitation of the Mentally Challenged, Care for the Paraplegic People etc...

The Province was bifurcated from the Province of Bangalore. The General Government, in its session on 4 January 1996 canonically erected the Syro-Malabar Dependent Delegation of the Province of Bangalore in India. It was officially inaugurated on 29 January 1996 at Claret Bhavan, Kuravilangad by Mar. Joseph Pallickaparambil, the Bishop of Palai. The Provincial Government appointed Fr. Augustine Mundiath as the Delegation Superior, Fr. Mathew Keechira as consultor cum secretary and Fr. Jose Pulinkunnel as the consultor cum econome.ln the Fifth Provincial Chapter of the Bangalore Province (February 1997) the following resolution was made: “For a more dynamic growth of the Claretian Charism within the ecclesial tradition of the Syro-Malabar Church, and to give the members of the Congregation from the Syro- Malabar Church opportunity to be trained in the tradition of the Syro Malabar Church and practice them-be it resolved to initiate concrete steps to create structures and dynamism that the dependent Syro-Malabar Delegation can work more effectively with more autonomy until its erection as an independent Delegation at the earliest after a period of three years” (Chapter Document No.1).

In 1998 the Provincial Government re-appointed the Delegation Government for another term of three years. During the council session of 15 November 2000 the General Government formally decided to constitute an Independent Delegation of Syro Malabar Rite, with the official title Saint Thomas Independent Delegation. The decree came into effect on 1 June 2001. General Government appointed Fr. Augusine Mundiath as Delegation Superior, Fr. Jose Thenpillil as consultor and Secretary and Fr. Jose Pulinkunnel as consultor and econome. The Independent Delegation was officially inaugurated by Mar Joseph Powathil, Archbishop of Changanasserry on 2 June, 2001.

The General Government in the council session on 17 March 2004 decided to erect the Saint Thomas Independent Delegation into a Province and the Delegation council was appointed as the Provincial Government. The province was officially inaugurated on 16 July 2004 at Claret Bhavan, Kuravilangad by Mar Joseph Powathil, Archbishop of Changanacherry.

The territorial jurisdiction of the province include Kerala, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and the Syro-Malabar diocese of Adilabad in Telengana, 18 Civil districts in Maharashtra under the dioceses of Kalyan and Chanda, 7 civil districts in Uttar Pradesh under the diocese of Gorakhpur and Mozambique.