The Sacred Heart Congregation is a religious institute for women founded by the Venerable Fr Mathew Kadalikkattil on 1 January 1911 in the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in Kerala, India. The members of the Congregation are to live radically the discipleship of Christ, experiencing deeply the compassionate love of God the Father manifested through the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and sharing it with others especially the poor and the afflicted. 


Fr Mathew Kadalikkattil trusted in the divine providence in doing everything. One of the most important aims of founding the new congregation was to spread the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Fr Mathew (1872-1935) was the second son of Cherian and Rosa of the Kadalikkattil family. He was born on 25 April 1872 at Edappady in the Diocese of Pala. After his seminary studies in the Syrian Carmelite monastery at Mannanam Fr Mathew was ordained a priest on 17 February 1901. He was a fervent devotee of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and was a man of compassionate heart whose love for God found expression in the concern for the poor and the forlorn. 

As a parish priest Fr Mathew was very much like the St. John Maia Vianney, the Patorn saint of parish priests’ who spent long hours in the confessional and brought about changes in the lives of many sinners. He committed himself for the spiritual and material well-being of the sheep especially the downtrodden and the forlorn. He considered himself as a 'Servant of the Sacred Heart' and promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus not only through his words but also by his exemplary life of charity. It was during the long hours spent before the Blessed Sacrament he received the divine inspiration to found a new religious congregation for women. His intention was to spread the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and also to care for the destitute and the orphans of the society in whom the face of the forsaken Jesus is reflected. Fr. Mathew fulfilled this divine call on 1 January 1911 by founding the Sacred Heart Congregation.  His pastoral engagements brought new life to an innumerable number of families. Thousands of people had the privilege to receive a new life and light through the various houses he started.  

Fr Mathew was called to his eternal reward on 23 May 1935 after 63 years of meritorious life. It was after a month of very painful illness he yielded his soul to the loving Heart of Jesus. Even in the last years of his life he was fully committed to the cause of the poor in spite of all physical strain due to his rheumatic and diabetic illness. He was buried in the Holy Magi Church at Pala, Kerala. Later on, his mortal remains were transferred to the provincial house Chapel of the Sacred Heart Sisters at Pala on 6 August 1937.  Fr. Mathew was raised to the status of the Servant of God on 12 April 1989. Pope Benedict XVI, on 27 June 2011, after verifying the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Fr Mathew Kadalikkattil raised him to the status of 'Venerable'.

Founding and Growth of the Congregation

Fr Mathew founded the Congregation with the permission and at the inspiration of Mar Mathew Makkil, the Vicar Apostolic of the then Diocese of Changanacherry. Submitting himself unconditionally to the will of God Fr Mathew admitted four candidates in a temporary house at Pala on 1 January 1911. Thus, the first community of the Sacred Heart Sisters was formed. The community began to grow slowly but steadily. Soon, more communities were opened at Punnathura (1926) and at Ramapuram (1929). The sisters were recognized as Sisters of the Sacred Heart on 24 June 1931. On 23 May 1935 Pope Pius XI authorized Bishop Kalacherry to give the ?nal ecclesiastical approval of the Congregation. This happened on the same day that Fr Mathew was called to his ?nal rest. During his last days of his illness Fr Mathew used to say:  “The congregation will flourish after my death”. This prophecy of the founder began to be realized steadily ever since. In 1974 the mothers General of the independent units of Pala, Changanacherry and Kothamangalam, moved by the spirit of the second Vatican Council, requested the Sacred Congregation to merge these units under one Superior General and the request was officially promulgated in August 1974. On 11 March 11976 the Congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart was raised to the status of “Jurisponti?ces” and the newly formed Constitution was approved. 


The objective of the  Congregation is to foster the integral growth of humanity in moral, educational, social and cultural fields through charitable  works such as educational apostolate, care of the sick, social welfare activities, protection of the destitute irrespective of cast, colour and creed. The mission of a Sacred Heart sister is to bear witness to the merciful love of Jesus.  In other words, the  aim and the spirit of the Congregation is to spread the love and compassion, of  the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This has to flow through the sisters to the orphaned, the destitute and the distressed irrespective of one’s caste, creed or religion.  The sisters accept the Motto of “Snehaya Danaya Cha Rakshanaya” (Redemption through love and self giving) which reminds the sisters of the self-giving for the sake of the Sacred Heart.


The incredible growth of the Sacred Heart Congregation is attributed to the divine providence. In 2019 the Sacred Heart Sisters are rendering their services in 20 States in India and 5 countries abroad. There are 3600 Sisters in 445 houses in India and 47 houses abroad. The Congregation has eleven provinces and one region. They are: Sacred Heart Province Pala, St Mathew’s Province Changanacherry,  Jyothi Province Kothamangalam, St Joseph’s Province Thalassery, Vimala Province Kanjirapally, Nirmala Province Manathavady, Santhom Province Thamarassery, Amala Province Assam, Jeevajyothi Province Delhi, Christujyothi Province Ujjain, Navajyothi Province Idukki and Marymatha Region Belthangady. The Kerala provinces serve in the mission of North, North-East and South India.  

The marvelous growth in the past 109 years is attributed to the intervention of God. The Congregation believes that it is the mission of the Sacred Heart Sisters to engage in dispelling the darkness of ignorance by imparting quality education, social upliftment through animation, concretization and welfare activities, caring the abandoned children, evangelization and upliftment of Christian communities in Syro-Malabar, Latin and  Malankara dioceses. 























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