SACRED HEART NOVITIATE EACHINKADU, YERCAUD
On October 3, 1951 the Province decided to buy the Eachinkadu property in Yercaud in order to shift the Novitiate. The transfer of the Novitiate from the Coonoor to Yercaud was approved by the sacred congregation for religious.
The Eachinkadu Bungalow was built by French couple in the year 1863. In 1891 this property was sold to Rev. Dr. William Miller who built the bungalow known as ‘Mountain Home’.
After miller’s death the property was sold to Sri. K Subaroyan Mudhaliar . The new owner carried out extensive repairs to the buildings and planted coffee and orange trees. Just before World War II, Mountain Home was occupied by an ex -Prime Minister of Afghanistan with his family as political prisoners by the Government of India. During the war Eachinkadu was used as a military hospital for the British troops and there were as many as 60 beds in the various wards: After the war the building were unoccupied. So the dream became the reality in 1952 with the purchase of Eachinkadu Estate in Yercaud and it became legally the Brother’s property. In May, work began in full swing at Eachinkadu.
On May 30th 1952 the Novitiate was shifted from Coonoor to Eachinkadu, Yercaud. On June 20th the Vicar General blessed the House. The novices had their dormitory in ‘Mountain Home’ and the Eachinkadu Bungalow provided for a chapel, two class rooms, library, recreation hall, novice master’s room etc. The novices were very happy with the new surroundings. They had no play fields nor electricity for 2 years… The dining hall was in another building connected to the Eachinkadu Bungalow. They were busy developing vegetable and flower gardens. Water was always scarce… Bros. Michael Cecilius Francis Xavier and Felician looked after the novices.
On May 8, 1953, at Yercaud, 16 postulants received their religious habit and 14 novices took their first vows.
On July 29, 1953 the novices moved from mountain home to the newly constructed dormitory. Bro. Amance moved to mountain home as director of the scholasticate which had four young brothers .He continued to be the Headmaster of Montfort school .He also took classes for the novices. Bro. Francis Xavier came to stay in the same building Repaired tools and sometimes manufactured tools including wheel barrows. His was a shining example for the Novices.
On May 8,1955 the Profession ceremonies were held in Eachinkadu itself and 12 novices made their first vows. On October 1955 Bro. Baptist came to Eachinkadu to replace Bro. Amance.
In May 1957 the provincial of Thailand visited India and on May 8th in Eachinkadu he received the vows of ten novices from India. The new study hall was completed in 1957 and earlier the dining hall was extended.
While at Montfort school Bro. Michael expired on November 8, 1959. He was buried at Eachinkadu in front of our Lady’s statue. Bro. Michael was the Novice Master at Eachinkadu for 7 years. He was model of piety, a qualified leader, an indefatigable worker, an enthusiastic lover for souls, a cheerful confrere, a man faithful to his duty and one with boundless devotedness to others. His contribution to the growth of the Indian province has been great.
The first Profession took place on April 12, 1961 and 17 novices took their vows. On April 15, 1962, 21 Novices made their first Profession. In 1962 Bro. Paul of the cross took over. On May 8, 1964, 20 Novices took their first vows. In July 1965 Bro. Stephen the Novice Master was appointed, Provincial Superior. Bro. Charles was appointed as the Novice Master at Eachinkadu.
In September 1992 the novices celebrated its golden jubilee. On July 14 2002 the novitiate celebrated its diamond jubilee. A statue of St Montfort was erected to mark the occasion and further there was an exhibition and cultural programme. A magazine was published with write ups from those who made the novitiate here. Bro. Lambert became the novice master in 2003.
In the same premises as a centenary project the cemetery for the Brothers was renovated majestically in granite and with a beautiful landscape. The walls enumerate the details of the departed Brothers and those who interred at Eachinkadu. The alter would attract the eyes of all as it has a magnificent sculpture of ‘La Pieta’. The basis of our Christian faith in death “I am the Resurrection and the life” is embossed in gold. The whole atmosphere is so tranquil at this Shrine for the dead and is christened Heritage Park.”
Steps are being taken to construct a new building replacing the existing dilapidated main building and also add extra facilities like Toilets, Kitchen and renovate dormitory at Eachinkadu. In order to facilitate the construction work the first year novices were shifted to Sitagarha Novitiate. The building work along with other works were all completed within a year and blessed. The Novices were brought back to Eachinkadu Novitiate to continue their second year formation.
Bro. Arockiaraj became Novice Mater in 2008. He was Novice Master for two batches of Novices. Bro. Jenny Kuriakose took over as Novice Master from 10th June 2011. The long waiting dream of having a concrete basketball court was fulfilled by the initiative of National council and Yercaud Province, it was commissioned on 12th February 2012. The big rain water storage tank also was repaired along with the construction of new basketball court.
As on today great number of Brothers had their religious formation here. The Institution continues to attract many young men hailing from different states of India to discern the will of God for them through religious formation. The meaning of the name ‘Eachinkadu’ is abode of God where one meets God in silence and solitude.
The following are the Novice masters of the Sacred Heart Novitiate, Eachinkadu.
|Bro. Charlie Darling||1965-73|
|Bro. Jacob Ezhanikatt||1975-77, 1979-81|
|Bro. Augustine Novello||1977-79|
|Bro. Abraham P.J||1986-91|
|Bro. Jacob Mathalikunnel||1991-95|
|Bro. Lawrence Joseph||1995-99|
|Bro. B.A. Kurian||2001-03|
|Bro. Jenny Kuriakose||2011-2015|
|Bro. S. Sleeva Reddy||2015-2019|
|Bro. P.T. George||2019-|