Our History

The Canossian Daughters of Charity, Servants of the Poor, is an international congregation of women founded by St. Magdalene of Canossa, in 1808. Our actions arise from our identity born of Christ Crucified, the Greatest Love. We are called to journey in simplicity, sharing a common life at the service of our brothers and sisters on every continent. Through ministries of education and human promotion, evangelization and faith formation, and pastoral care among the suffering, we strive to touch each person with the love of God. Our motto is “to make Jesus known and loved”, especially to those most in need.

It is now 200 years since the Daughters of Charity realized their dream of striving to serve people in all corners of the world. Today the Sisters are found in all continents, where they are committed to witness Christ in the exercise of all works of mercy. Today, there are about 4000 sisters throughout the world, grouped into 24 provinces, serving the Lord through schools, hospitals, evangelisation and social work.

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Canossians over the world

The first overseas Canossian mission was established in Hongkong in 1860. Two hundred years ago, a group of five brave Canossian pioneers landed in Cochin, India from Hong Kong and started their missionary work on November 24, 1889. Prompted by the spirit of the Foundress they began the work of serving the poor of Christ in a place utterly unknown to them in culture, language and customs. Very soon, Canossian missions spread all over India, reaching out to the poor, needy and destitute.

Canossians in India are in three provinces:
Province of Mary Immaculate: North India
Province of St Francis Xavier: Central India
Province of Queen of Peace: South India

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Canossians in India

In the early 1900’s, the Rev Dr. Joaquim R. Lima S. J., Archbishop of Bombay, requested Canossian Sisters to take charge of the school annexed to the parish of Our Lady of Victories, Mahim. On January 4, 1932, three Sisters came from Belgaum to Mahim. The School opened on June 8, 1932 with 100 pupils on roll. On February 13, 1951 the Canossian community shifted to M. M. Chotani Road with the high school students. Gradually other buildings were added. The Canossian Sisters also opened the Night High School, Dev Kripa Mandal Social Welfare Centre and Special School for the Mentally Challenged. In 1976, because of overcrowding of students in Canossa High School, the Primary School and Special School were shifted to the Canossa Annexe in the Pitamber Lane.

Today, Canossa has nurtured and moulded millions of young girls into fine women of substance. We are an integral part of our community, touching lives and building a brighter world.