THE HISTORY

The Congregation of the Missionary Brothers of Saint Francis of Assisi – CMSF, commonly known as “Franciscan Missionary Brothers”, was established in 1901 at Nagpur by Brother Paulus Moritz of Germany. CMSF was canonically erected on 21st February 1901 by Bishop Chrochet of Nagpur Diocese, India and was approved by the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide on 8th January 1921. It is a Religious Missionary Institute of Pontifical Rite under the Sacred Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. The Congregation follows the Rule of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis of Assisi.


The focus of the young Congregation was the development of the poor villages of India, which the Congregation felt as an urgent need as well as an evangelical imperative. Realizing that education is the basis for all human developments, the Congregation turned its attention to establish primary education in the villages by opening several village schools. Soon the Congregation received numerous invitations from different Dioceses and areas from different parts of India for similar activities. Thus, in the beginning of 1908, the then Bishop of Mumbai, Archbishop Herman Jurgens S.J. invited Brother Paulus Moritz to initiate the activities of the Congregation for the benefit of the poor and needy children of the island-city. Accepting the invitation of the Bishop, the Brothers established a small thatched shed, which served as their residence, as well as that of their poor students. This beginning was on 04th October 1908 at Mount Poinsur, Borivli West. The children were taught to read and write the local language, Marathi. Slowly, skills like carpentry, statue making, handicrafts etc. were introduced.


The first Mother House of the CMSF was erected at Khandwa. In 1908, the Brothers started their work at Mount Poinsur, Borivli West, in the Archdiocese of Bombay and from 1930, after the first General Chapter, the Mother House along with the Generalate were shifted to this place. The revised Constitutions were approved by the Holy See on 29th June 1931 and again renewed and updated in 1985 and 2009 during the 9th and 13th General Chapters and approved by the Holy See.

Owing to the zeal, courage and determination of our Founder late Brother Paulus Moritz and his successors in office, the Congregation has made rapid progress and founded many missions. They were mostly in the ecclesiastical units of Nagpur, Bombay, Daman, Krishnagar, Agra, Indore, Binajpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Mysore, Jhansi, Ghorakpur, Lucknow, Mylapur, Madras, Delhi, Alappuzha, Cochin, Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pondicherry, Thiruvalla, Kottar, Selam, Vijayapuram, Banglore, Shillong, Guwahati, Tura, Dhipu etc. Some of these missions, which were well developed have been handed over to the respective dioceses which have turned them into parishes, while others like Krishnagar, Bhinajpur, Meerut and Khandwa have been formed into doiceses by Holy See. Today the Congregation is well established in India, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Paraguay, south Americca, Bolivia, America and Srilanka.