Welcome to Hospitaller Order of St. John of God St. Thomas Province, India
“Brothers, do good yourselves by doing good to others”, said St. John of God, the founder of the Hospitaller Order. He is called ‘the Saint of Charity’, and ‘the Father of the Poor’ and he left his mark on the history of hospitality.Following his example, his followers, the Brothers of St. John of God, started the Pratheeksha Bhavan at Kattappana, in order to participate in the compassionate love of Jesus towards the sick and the poor, which is the identity of the Hospitaller Order.
Kunjachan was a middle aged and illiterate man who was differently abled. He used to collect remains of food left behind restaurants for the pigs that people raised near their houses. With the little money he got in return he lived his days quite happily. Since he had no house or relatives he searched for a place where he could spend his nights too. Finally he met Bro. Fortunatus, the ‘Father of the Poor’. The latter allowed him to sleep on the veranda of the Brothers’ quarters. He used to give Kunjachan a mat and a blanket which he folded in the morning before he left the place. Thus the idea of starting a home for the poor and the homeless came to Bro. Fortunatus. His dream became a reality in 1976 and it was called ‘Pratheeksha Bhavan’, which means ‘house of hope’.
As St. John's Hospital grew, the needs also increased. Some of our patients, once they were healed, were not leaving the hospital, for they had no place of their own to go to. This situation demanded that we have a home for the poor and the destitute at the earliest.
In the words of the founder, Bro. Fortunatus: “In May 1976 the Novitiate classroom and adjoining former doctor’s quarters were converted into a home for chronic patients. It was named Pratheeksha Bhavan. About 30 patients can be accommodated. Mainly there are TB patients, patients suffering from diabetes, asthma, elephantiasis, multiple sclerosis, etc. All patients requiring long-term treatment, at the same time being very poor, destitute patients, without relatives, or neglected by their relatives. Food is being supplied by the common kitchen. Patients take food themselves from kitchen and distribute it themselves. Bed-making, cleaning the building inside and outside is also taken care of by the patients. Patients who are able to work offer their services by helping in the laundry, kitchen, agriculture, etc”. So, in addition to being a home for the aged, the destitute, it served as a long-term hospital for the chronically sick.
Construction of a new building for Pratheeksha Bhavan was started in July 1977. The funds were collected by Bro. Michael Mockenhaupt, secretary for the mission in Frankfurt (Indien Hilfe Verein) and Misereor. The new facility, with 150 beds, was blessed by Fr. Joseph Thyparampil, the Vicar General of Kanjirapally Diocese, on 20th January 1979.
In Pratheeksha Bhavan persons are admitted without any discrimination of sex, caste or religion. At present there are 158 inmates, comprising 87 men and 71 women. Most of the inmates are from the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. They are suffering from old-age problems and various chronic illnesses like diabetes, cancer, paralysis, mental illness, etc.
Associated with the Pratheeksha Bhavan was a home for about 20 boys who were either from very poor or broken families, who were studying in the nearby school, which was closed since 2016.
Pratheeksha Bhavan also carries forward the various charitable activities for the poor and the sick initiated by Bro. Fortunatus Thanhäuser, its founder, like constructing houses, providing food, clothing and medicine, helping school-going children with books, fees, food, etc.
The Sisters of Charity of St. John of God are helping he Brothers since 1977 for the day-to-day running of the institution and care of the inmates. The inmates receive medical care form the St. John’s hospital. The finance for the daily running of the centre is given mainly by our benefactors, which includes auto drivers (‘Sarathy’) who are providing noon meals on every Friday and the merchants of Kattappana.
Today Pratheeksha Bhavan stands as an expression of God’s compassion through human hands. We are reminded to believe and follow the words of Jesus, “Whatever you do to the least of my people you do unto me”.
“Dear Brothers and Sisters, Hospitality towards the needy will be your language for making the greatness, strength and effectiveness of Christian love understandable to all. With this concrete and immediate language, you can rekindle expectations, desires and hopes in hearts that are often disappointed and broken; you can echo the voice of God who, in the intimacy of conscience, invites every man to conversion” (Pope John Paul 11).
Bro. Jose Mathew Thottathil is the present Director of Pratheeksha Bhavan.
PB No. 2, Kattappana South P.O.
PIN - 685 515,Idukki (Dist.), Kerala, INDIA
Br. Jose Mathew: 00 91 9447824781
Provincial . Councillors . Commissions . Province (Policy) Directory-2012 . Statistics . Deshgaon St.Johns Health Centre,M.P . Kattappana . Pratheeksha Bhavan At Kattappana . Co-workers . On Brother Fortunatus . The Spirituality of the Order(Resume by Brother Brain) . Commission for Fund-raising . Prayers to Our Lady .