Salvatorian Sisters celebrate anniversary

The first five Salvatorian Sisters from Italy arrived 60 years ago in Sri Lanka on the request of the Catholic Church of Sri Lanka to replace the Holy Family nuns from France at the General Hospital.

Sri Lanka
Dec 11 2013, 6:47 PM
Salvatorian Sisters celebrate anniversary
Salvatorian Sisters in Sri Lanka.

Sisters of the Divine Saviour, known as Salvatorian Sisters, celebrated their 125th Anniversary worldwide and their 60th year in Sri Lanka on Sunday.

The first five Salvatorian Sisters from Italy arrived 60 years ago in Sri Lanka on the request of the Catholic Church of Sri Lanka to replace the Holy Family nuns from France at the General Hospital in Kurunegala. The Holy Family Sisters of Bordeaux, who had worked about 70 years at the hospital, were being withdrawn because of lack of Nursing Sisters in their Congregation.

At the time of the Salvatorian Sisters' arrival, there were no Catholic private hospitals in the Island and foreign missionaries of various Congregations had served as supervisors and staff nurses for 80 years in various hospitals in Sri Lanka.

In 1959, the new Democratic, Socialistic Government under Prime Minister Bandaranayika asked for the withdrawal of the Religious Sisters serving in the Government hospitals. The Bishops' Conference was asked to deport them to their native lands.

By this time the Kurunegala General Hospital had become the beloved home for the Salvatorian Sisters and it was not easy for the Sisters to get out of a lovingly and painstakingly built mission.

The then Bishop Dr. Edmund Pieris of Chilaw, who was a personal friend of Bandaranayika, managed to get a statement from him that the Salvatorians would be allowed to remain in the Island and work in a private Catholic hospital.

So, the bishop brought the Salvatorians to Marawila and St.Anne’s Nursing Home was started at Dr. Fonseka’s bungalow at Weerahena, with only ten beds.

Father Cajetan Fernandopulle, then Procurator General of the diocese, later put up a new building with accommodation for 40 beds and a chapel with residential quarters for the nursing nuns on the 23-acre land owned by the Church.

Started as a Nursing Home under the management of Salvatorian Sisters, St. Anne’s Nursing Home had gradually developed into a full fledged Private Hospital, serving the people of the area for last 54 years.

The Society of the Salvatorians was founded by Father Francis Mary of Cross Jordan on December 8, 1881. Together with him, Therese Von Wullenvenweber co-founded the Sisters' Congregation. Today, there are 1200 professed members in the Congregation working in 29 countries.

Courtesy: Sister Vasanthini Dionysious, The Messenger

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