In July 2006 consent was given for the Prior General to advance to the status of being an Augustinian Delegation, in that India has now achieved the necessary numbers of members to take this step.
The Delegation began with three centres: Edacochin, Alwaye, and Thalappuzha. Located at Thalappuzha is St Thomas Parish, which the Order began staffing early in 2006.
Late in 2006 the new Delegation of India of the Order of Saint Augustine purchased a school with 900 male and female students.
Begun in 1996 as the Sembagam Matriculation Higher Secondary School, it is located in the city of Pollachi in the State of Tamil Nadu.
In conformity with Indian law and practice, the school will remain open to persons of all religions. It is situated 200 kms from Edacochin (Kerala State), which is the major Augustinian centre in India.
Fr Xavier Kattikat has been placed in charge of the school project, and an Augustinian priory will shortly be established near the school. It will be the fourth Augustinian Priory currently in India.
Since 2008 six Augustinians have been involved in the school, variously in teaching roles and in administration. By June 2008 two new staff rooms and fourteen new classrooms were ready for use, and another eight classrooms added a year later
The school enrolment had increased to almost 1,180 by June 2009.
Photos (at right)
Picture 1: An Augustinian becomes a deacon in Kerala, India in 2007.
Picture 2: Singing the book of solemn profession at Aluva, Kerala in October 2007.
Picture 3: Young visitors to St Anthony's Shrine, Edacochin, February 2008.