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India: Kerala Conference of Major Superiors names first woman president

Sr. Dr. Ardra, sisters of the Imitation of Christ (Bethany)

For the first time, a Catholic nun has been appointed to the post of Kerala Conference of Major Superiors (KCMS) president in southern India.

Sister Dr. Ardra, a member of Sisters of the Imitation of Christ (Bethany), assumed the position of KCMS president during a joint meeting of the Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council and KCMS held at the Pastoral Orientation Centre, Palarivattom, Ernakulam, on June 7.

She is currently the assistant general of the congregation, the first women's congregation in the Malankara Church, which Servant of God Mar Ivanios founded on September 8, 1925, in the Syrian Jacobite Church in Thirumoolapuram, Thiruvalla.

Meanwhile, Vice President Father Dr. Augustine Mulloor, OCD, took charge. Father Jose Ayyankanal MST, Bro. Varghese Manjali CST, Sister Maria Anto CMC, and Sister Lizzy CTC are the new KCMS executive members.

The Kerala chapter of the Conference of Religious India (CRI) is known as KCMS.

The KCMS promotes collaboration and coordination between the bishops and diocesan clergy. Besides, it fosters unity among Kerala's Catholic religious organizations. KCMS was constituted on September 15, 1971.

There are 355 religious congregations and 470 major superiors in Kerala: 267 women's religious congregations, 71 priestly religious congregations, and 17 brother congregations. Altogether, there are 1,17,000 religious people in Kerala. Forty thousand religious works in Kerala—60,000 work in other Indian states, and 26,000 work abroad.

Kerala contributes more than 75% of India's religious, clerical, and missionary population, although it makes up only 1% of the country's total land area and houses only around 3% of its population. 

At the national level, CRI has more than 125,000 Catholic nuns, brothers, and priests from rural and urban areas who work in hospitals, clinics, educational institutions, and social welfare organizations.- Santosh Digal


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