Institute Mater Dei

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Official name Institute Mater Dei
Country / Continent India / Asia
Director of the institute Superior of the Institute ; ( Presently, Sr. M. Regis Kizhakkevattam SRA)
Legal holder of the institute Conference of Religious Women, India (CRWI)
Sponsor of the institute Missio Aachen/ Kirche in Not / Major Superiors of Women Religious India
Year of foundation June 1964
Number of staff (employees, freelancers, volunteers) 7 Resident staff sisters and 10 laymen/women supportive resident staff. 5 teaching professors of the week.
Staff members of your institute Staff members of the Institute are religious, priests and lay men/women.
Contact Institute Mater Dei,

Santa Monica Convent,

Old Goa, Goa, India


Particulars of your pastoral institute

Official name

Institute Mater Dei

Director of the institute

Superior of the Institute ; ( Presently, Sr. M. Regis Kizhakkevattam SRA)

Legal holder of the institute

Conference of Religious Women, India (CRWI)

Missio Aachen/ Kirche in Not / Major Superiors of Women Religious India

Vision / mission statement

“Grow unto the fullness of Christ” ( Eph 4:13). The holistic growth of young women religious of various congregations and lay women through a prayerful study of the Sacred Scriptures and the other related subjects that would enable our women religious to face the challenges of modern life and make their services not just efficient but effective in the Church and the world around.

Main areas of work

Teaching / studying / weekend and other important days of service in Bom Jesu Basilica/ Se- cathedral and other needs as per request.

Addressees of your work (course participants[1])

The courses are attended by the sisters of various Congregations India/ Abroad and lay women as per request. The course participants are active in the parish and in the pilgrim centre Bom Jesu of the diocese. The resident staff of the Institute are religious and lay women, but the visiting professors and the professors come to the institute for teaching are priests and lay men and women.

Year of foundation

June 1964

Organisational structure of the institute

The degree course in Theology and certificate course in philosophy sections are affiliated to JNANA-DEEPA VIDYAPEETH, PONTIFICAL INSTITUTE OF PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION, NAGAR ROAD, PUNE – 411 014, MAHARASHTRA, INDIA. The other courses of one year certificate course in theology and one year certificate course in Formators’ courses are run by the elected executive members of Major superiors of Women religious. The executive members administer the institute through the appointed Superior, Treasurer, directresses for various departments, who are also equipped with the requirements for teaching and other needed expertise. The non-teaching staff appointed to support the directresses of the departments.

Number of staff (employees, freelancers, volunteers)

7 Resident staff sisters and 10 laymen/women supportive resident staff. 5 teaching professors of the week.

Staff members of your institute[2]

Staff members of the Institute are religious, priests and lay men/women.

Qualifications of staff members of your institute

The religious women and the priests are post-graduates and Ph.D holders in Ecclesiastical and Secular studies. The supportive staff of office and library are graduates in secular studies and kitchen and other staff are with minimum educational qualifications.

Questions relating to the work of your institute

What pastoral options do you feel obliged to?

We staff and students of the Institute share in the services to the pilgrims coming to the Basilica of Bom Jesu, and Se Cathedral parish Church in collaboration with the priests of Jesuit community and the parish priest and his assistant. We share in the ministry of Distribution of Holy Communion, and other liturgical services like leading the choir, Readings of the Mass and the like to lead others to participate actively in the celebration of the Holy Masses - Pastoral and catechetical apostolates like, preparation for the reception of the sacraments; being mentors for broken relationships, sharing in Jail ministry, house visits, working with slum children etc

What are the pastoral focus areas of your institute?

The parish, Place of Pilgrimage that is the Basilica of Bom Jesu, slum areas, the centres run by different congregations in the neighbourhood for differently abled, senior citizens whom no one to care for.

What pastoral aims does your institute pursue?

Deepening the faith of the persons in faith crises, relationship problems, who are in need of emotional and spiritual support.

What pastoral services does your institute provide?

Catechetical and liturgical, social, psychological and spiritual services.

What pastoral processes have you initiated or accompanied recently?

Sharing with the neighboring religious communities in their apostolates such as family visits, Caring for the physically and mentally challenged, taking care of the educational and emotional needs of the slum children and women

What does this mean for the areas of catechesis, deaconry and liturgy?

A better facilitation for better and meaningful participation in Christian worship and better living.

What notion of God inspires your work?

The Compassionate and unconditional love of God

In how far does Christian spirituality shape your work?

It is the Christian altruistic love which is calling to action perceiving the neighbours in sorrow and difficulties .

What processes do you use or develop to analyse reality? How are these elaborated and how are they linked to pastoral care? How do you pass these processes on?

By observing the reality we critically analyze the context which calls for response from our part. We participate intellectually, emotionally and spiritually in the process of decision making with the persons concerned. We pass on this contextual theologizing process through instructions, guidance and workshops.

What prophetic approaches does the institute put into practice with a view to shaping society?

Witnessing life, teaching, living together in the community by keeping up the religious life according to the directives of the Church.

What does the work of the institute involve exactly? (Framework conditions? Publications? Courses? Lectures? Congress?...)

Lectures, Seminars, Debates, Quizzes, Symposiums, Media Associations, Yearly Magazines.

What magazines, periodicals, books, manuals, work aids, methodological instructions etc. does your institute publish?

We do not publish any particular magazines or periodicals only an annual magazine with the articles by the students and staff members

What do you consider to be the most important service of your institute?

Intellectual, Spiritual and Psychological formation of our young sisters who just begin the religious life and for others a renewal in religious life.

How do you evaluate the work of your institute?

The Institute with its aim of empowering the women religious in their faith and mission in dedication, rendered service through members of different Congregations as teaching staff and administrative staff to many members of different Congregations for the past 49 years. Looking back to the years of service, we are satisfied to certain extent as thousands of women religious are empowered through this institute to religious leadership. Those sisters who have studied here are rendering services in various fields of ministries such as pastoral, catechetical, educational, healing, developmental and the like. As we get every year good number of students we are confident that the intellectual and spiritual formation that the sisters receive here are transformative. They are led to innovative ministries. We are happy at this privilege of rendering service through this National Centre that we can reach out to many Congregations.

What are the most important developments that you are dealing with at present?

Until 2009 we were having here only two courses, namely, Certificate course in theology and Certificate course Animation program for Formators. Since 2009 the Institute has introduced Diploma course in Philosophy and Bachelor Degree ( BTh) in Theology. The first group of sisters in Bachelor degree completed the course in July 2013. This is the most important dealing that we have at the moment.

What are the main difficulties your institute is confronted with in its work?

The renovation work of this 450 year old building and the required finance, personnel to do service, other academic needs such as library upgrade, more computers and internet facilities.

What challenges do you perceive for your institute at present?

The degree course in theology and philosophical studies, as it is in the beginning stage, we are facing problems to stabilize it with staff and students. As the other Theologates run by men religious are open to train young women religious, there is a pressure to give it up what we have started. This is actually the only national institute for women religious by women religious.

What hopes, dreams and visions do you have for your institute?

Our hope for this institute is that it must be raised to a Women studies centre as a recognized university for religious and secular studies.

To what extent does your institute support laypeople in the Church and in society?

By including the lay men and women in teaching staff, supportive staff and students.

How do you communicate your experiences and results to the respective local church, to neighbouring local churches and to other addressees (e.g. institutions affiliated to you)?

Through the presentation of the yearly report of the activities of the Institute presented in the public annual gathering and through other common gatherings. We get the neighbourhood communities involved in our discussion on common issues, seminars and symposiums.

To what extent does cooperation with the Bishops’ Conference of your country or with your diocese take place?

The local Ordinary is the patron of the institute and he is part of the institution in every important decision making and plans in academic and administrative levels.

What linkages/networks are in existence at national level?

This Institute is administrated by the National Conference of Women Religious India. The Executive members of the administration are elected at National level and they follow up and coordinate the functions of the Institute with the appointed staff members who are religious women.

What linkages/networks are in existence at international level?

The Financial support by Missio Aachen and Kirche in Not Germany; the prayerful support and cooperation of the Major Superiors abroad with small financial contributions at times.

What kind of interreligious cooperation does take place with non-Christian religions?

The social and psychological support service is rendered to people of all religions as per their need. We participate in the Inter-religious dialogues and prayer services organized by the leaders of other religion on the occasion of the National secular days of importance. We also are part of the organizing the interreligious programs by our local Church in our Church premises. Thus we promote inter-religious harmony and united social and developmental activities.

What kind of ecumenical cooperation does take place with non-Catholic churches?

We cooperate with the diocesan committee in organizing and participate actively in the ecumenical gatherings.

Which theological mergers/associations are you affiliated with (personally or as an institute)?

We are affiliated to Jnana-Deep-Vidyapeeth, the Papal Atheneum, Pune, Maharashtra, India .

How we assist you with your intercontinental exchanges and with exchanges between the continents?

As we cannot afford to purchase the foreign editions of the books on philosophical and theological subjects we wish to have them donated by any willing persons and the financial support for the scholarships for our students sisters.

  1. It would be interesting to know among other things whether course participants are active at parish, diocesan or supra-diocesan level and whether courses are attended by priests, religious or laypeople.
  2. It would be interesting to know among other things whether the staff members of the institute are priests, religious or laypeople.