St.GEMMA NOVITIATE NILAMBUR
Nilambur is a municipality of the district of Malappuram. The town is located approximately 180 km north of Kochi. It has a population of about fifty thousand (50,000) people, and is well connected to other cities and towns by road transport and railways. The travelling time between Nilambur and Bangalore is only six hours by car.
In terms of the religious affiliation of people, Nilambur has a distinction of being very heterogeneous. It is quite significant given the fact that the whole district of Malappuram is predominantly Muslim. There is a good mixture of Hindu, Muslim and Christian population in and around Nilambur.
The Novitiate community comes under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Calicut. The city of Calicut is about 70 km from Nilambur. The diocese of Calicut was established in 1926 as the 25th diocese in India. It was served mainly by the Jesuits from Italy and the early prelates of the diocese were all Jesuits.
The novitiate is located about two kilometers from Nilambur town in a village called Vadakkumpadam. The community residence is built on a 3.8 acres of land which has a cultivation of rubber trees, coconut/arecanut trees as well as a few nutmeg trees. However, among all these crops, the rubber plantation is the main source of the community income. By and large, the community is able to sustain itself by the produce of the land. But more than that, I believe, it is the ambience that is very important especially for novitiate formation.
The Novitiate House was blessed on the 26th of October 2011 by the then Administrator of Calicut Diocese, Very Rev. Msgr. VincentArackal, in the presence of Fr. Antony Tharayil, C.P., the Regional Superior. A fairly good number of CP’s were also present for the occasion.
“The purpose of the novitiate is to help candidates: understand more thoroughly the meaning of the Passionist vocation, experience living in the Congregation, and acquire and make their own our spirit and apostolic dedication” (Const. # 89).
Various classes on a wide range of topics and other input sessions, as well as spiritual practices, try to help the novices fulfill the purpose of the novitiate year. Apart from the classes by the Novice Master, other CP’s also chip in. The novices are also given opportunity to attend the common novitiate program conducted at the Claretian Community in Carmelaram, Bangalore.
Besides classes and prayers, the novices also spent time outside everyday doing manual work on our property. Apart from everyday manual labour, one whole day every week is set aside for work in the garden. First Friday of every month the novices have a desert-day. That day they take off to wander around and experience the quiet and solitude. The whole community observe that day as a day of fasting and penance. Once a month a priest from outside comes to hear confession.