The first missionary religious congregation for women in the history of the Church and the world is the Institute of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary founded in 1877 by BL. Mary of the Passion, now in the 139th year of its course.

Franciscan in its essence.
Missionary in its services
Mary - like in its approach.

» Dedicated to universal mission

» Seek strength from the Eucharist

» And offer ourselves in challenging services

In Memory

Sr.Maria Soundaram

  •                     A loving Tribute to Sr. Maria Soundram fmm



  •                                               Born 4th March 1945 - Died 4th October 2017
  • “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die will live…Jn 11/25”.Sr.Maria Soundaram believed in this Word and placed her trust in the Lord.
  • Maria Soundram was born on 4th March 1945, into the family of Mr. Thambu Raj and Mrs. Savariamma in Dindugal, T.N. She had 11 siblings- 8 brothers and 3 sisters and she was the 2nd child in the family. Maria wanted to be like St.Theresa of the Child Jesus and she tried to imitate her virtues. The family was devout Catholics and had inculcated Christian values and devotion to saints to the children and it had influence on her life.
  • Maria Soundaram entered the Institute of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in 1967, at Maria Assunta Convent and made her first vows on 19th March 1970. She made her final profession on 21.05.1976 in Trichy. She was trained in social work at Nava Nirmana Social Institute, Stella Maris College, Chennai after which she began her mission.
  • Sr. Maria Soundaram wrote in her auto-biography, “After completing my training in Nava Nirmana, I started my ministry. I made an option for the poor, choosing poor children and women as my target group, following the Gospel values of Love, fraternity, equality and justice. I wanted to dedicate my life for the kingdom of God by working among the poor and the rejected people of society”. Her mission was to live among the poor people and share their joys and sorrows, find solutions to their problems, create awareness about their life situation and help them to bring about changes in their life. She tried her best to conscientize the people on the ill effects of child labour and liberated many children and bonded labourers. She conducted night schools for the children and introduced small savings for women in the village.
  • Sr. Maria Soundaram had many talents and she was a good needle work teacher. She joined the ‘Social Action Movement’- SAM Project. She worked with two other FMM sisters at Nilam, Pudukottai , involved with people, helped them to dig a pond as well as a well. She used to speak about the SAM project and about parents and children who were very co-operative. Children did the awareness programme with their performances from village to village. One of the social evils- Child labour was very dominant at Kanchipuram. Sisters redeemed the children and gave the children tuition to these child labourers who were drop-outs from the schools and placed them back in 3rd, 4th, 7th and 8th standards.
  • In spite of her problem with hearing, she visited many communities and travelled places alone. She never considered deafness as a serious problem and accepted it as the will of God. She wanted to continue her work among the poor and  for the development of women and children. She always demanded the rights of people from governmental organizations.
  • When her health was poor and needed closer follow up, she was brought to the Infirmary at Child Jesus Convent, Trichy, in 2007. She was highly diabetic and was treated with regular follow up. While she was cared for in the infirmary, she was also sensitive to the elderly sisters who were sick and did whatever she could with her little ability. On the 2nd of October, 2017, her health deteriorated and she was admitted in the ICU of the Child Jesus Hospital. On the 3rd, evening she was anointed with the Sacrament of the Sick. On the 4th night, the Feast of St. Francis another saint whom she loved very much, she surrendered her soul to the Lord, for His glory.
  • As a sanctuary lamp, burning quietly and brightly for the Lord, Sr. Maria Soundaram lived a life with strong determination and dedication, she was faithful to the Eucharistic adoration, devotion to Mother Mary, commitment to the mission, serving the poor, and lived her Franciscan vocation in the convents wherever she lived. May God grant her eternal peace and may her soul rest in peace.

         Sr. Amala Joseph fmm