Mangaluru, March 1,, 2020: The Congregation of the Sisters of the Little Flower of Bethany (BS), the well known Mangalore’s indigenous community of nuns, marked in a special way the 120th anniversary of the ordination (1900) of their Founder, ’Servant of God’ Raymond F C Mascarenhas, he was the former Vicar General (1931-41) of the Diocese of Mangalore. This saintly priest who was the pioneer of Bendur which he established from 1914 is the first priest of the Konkani catholic community of Mangalore to be on the path to saint hood in the church. This ’Servant of God’s’ cause which was initiated in 2009, has now progressed. The Roman Phase of the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God Raymond Francis Camillus Mascarenhas was opened on February 19, 2020 at the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Vatican.
The occasion of the 120th anniversary was celebrated in the city with a special mass attended by a total of at least a thousand priests, nuns, and laity at the Rosario Cathedral under the patronage of the Bishop of Mangalore, Most Rev Dr. Peter Paul Saldanha, the Superior General Rev Sr.Rose Celine BS and counselors, the Provincial team and key members of the congregation were present. The solemn occasion was a memorable one. The Bishop extolled the virtue of the ’Servant Of God’ Raymond F C Mascarenhas and the work he has done to uplift the people of Mangalore by construction the Bendur Church and later in 1921 founding the Bethany Congregation of Mangalore who have now spread all over India, even the NE and over seas. Their recognized services in the field of education and social services like hospitals, vocational training for women and their special attention to welfare of women and down trodden is note worthy.
Msgr Raymond F C Mascarenhas it is recorded was ordained at the Rosario Cathdral on March 4, 1900, after his priestly studies and preparation at the local St.Joseph Seminary Jeppu, then run by the pioneer Jesuits. It is understood the many historical stalwarts of the Church and society would have participated at this ordination in 1900...E.G : Mother Nympha Fernandez (1850-1909) the co-founder of another famous indigenous order of nuns the Ursulines (UFS) of Mangalore; Mother Mary Aloysia,(1855-1939) the Second Superior General of the Apostolic Carmel Congregation was a leading light in early Mangalore; Rev Fr Augustus Muller SJ, (1841-1910) with his companion pioneer Jesuits of Mangalore, Founder of Fr.Muller’s Institutions. Several who became Bishops and prelates and great personalities of Mangalore of that era. Indeed it is a great privilege for the people of this city to recall the personalities of old with honour and affection. The prayers of the people reflected fervently that Msgr RFC Mascarenhas be declared a saint of the church sooner and the region be blessed abundantly.