The Lord revealed to Sr. Litty the need of dedicated girls to look after the mentally challenged residents whose number was on the increase. Eventually she felt the need of starting a religious community. Sr. Litty approached the Archbishop and brought the matter to his notice. The Archbishop graciously gave her permission to start ‘The Little Servants of the Divine Providence’ as a ‘Pious Union’ on December 08, 1978.
On 17 January 1980 Sr. Litty got dispensation from MSJ Congregation. On the same day she made her perpetual profession in the new community during the Holy Mass celebrated by Mar Antony Padiyara in the chapel of the Archbishop’s House. In the course of time, the first batch of six novices had their Vestition and First Profession in the parish church of Kunnamthanam in which the Archbishop himself was the celebrant.
The merciful God granted this Congregation the grace to build a house of its own at Kunnamthanam in the one acre of land donated by the Archdiocese of Changanassery with the generous help of benefactors. On 19 May 1981 Archbishop Mar Antony Padiyara blessed the new House. Today, this house at Kunnamthanam functions as the Generalate of LSDP Congregation.
At the moment, this Congregation has 161 professed sisters and 18 candidates. Nearly 1000 sick residents are taken care of in these sixteen houses.
The community was raised to a Congregation of Eparchial Status on 08 September 2001. It certainly is a milestone in the path of the growth of this Congregation.
“This shall be put on the record for a future generation and a people yet to be born, shall praise God” (Ps. 102, 18). We do see and experience the miraculous providence of God right from the very beginning. It is our experience that as the number of residents and the needs increase, the providence of God also increases. Each and every day was indeed moments of divine intervention and we experienced the providential care in miraculous and incredible ways. The very first day when there was not even a kerosene lamp, a generous lady from the neighbourhood gave us one. We did not have a time-piece for a morning alarm but we heard a loud knock at the door exactly at 5 O’ clock in the morning. When the door was opened we found none. One of those days we were in need of a lemon, a boy stepped in with a good lemon. For two full days, when we had nothing at home, the neighbours fed us. Once when we had no firewood, an old lady came with a big bundle of twigs carrying it on her head. On another day when we had no curry for the meals, the good God provided us with five items of curry from a house where there was a wedding banquet. Such miracles of providence have been going on incessantly under the benevolent and bountiful love of God.
In the beginning it was a kerosene lamp, now we are given even generators by the benefactors. What we wish to state is that Providence meets our needs. Instead of a few litres of milk, now we are gifted with milking cows. In the place of twigs, God now provides fire wood in Lorries and tempos. Though we started with half-a-kilo of rice, today people are helping us with sackfuls of rice.
“You gave them the food of angels from heaven untiringly providing them bread already prepared, containing every delight to satisfy every taste. All this showed how lovingly you care for your children” (Wisdom 16, 20-21). In the light of the above Word of God we have the incessant experience of many who bring food prepared and even to that level of generosity and affection that they themselves serve it to the residents.
There was no sufficient space in the Home to accommodate the increasing number of residents and it was then that Msgr. Augustine Kandathil helped us to construct a three storied building through the SAFP. We consider it as one of the highest expressions of God’s miracle. From the rented thatched hut the Home has grown today with several storied buildings, all constructed with the generous donations of people from different corners of the world.
Providence of God and suffering go hand in hand. In the initial stage we have experienced and lived through dire poverty, contempt and ridicule but the Almighty, according to His plan, turned everything for our good and growth.
“We are well aware that God works with those who love him, those who have been called in accordance with His purpose and turn everything to their good” (Rom. 8, 28) God asks of us nothing impossible. All that He demands is unshakable faith in Providence and the readiness to serve wholeheartedly.
“In truth, I tell you in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me” (Mt. 25, 40). This Word of our Lord urges us always to go forward with great enthusiasm and commitment.
We always treasure the golden heritage of deep-rooted faith in the Divine Providence which we received from St. Joseph Cottolengo through our foundress.