Rosarians

Birth : 1882

Death: 1968
Rev. Fr. Antony Soosainather CR
First Rosarian Priest
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Fr. B.A. Thomas OMI, Servant of God
Founder of the Rosarian Congregation
Dreaming of good things for the future of the Church is the work of the Holy Spirit. God predestines certain chosen instrument in his hand to bear good fruit according to His will and plan. One such a dreamed person was Rev. Fr. Thomas OMI. He was born on 7th March 1886 in the little village of Pandianthazhvu near Jaffna, Sri Lanka. Ill health was his constant companion from his early childhood. Despite of his ill- health he had a desire to become priest. Finally after the insurmountable difficulties he was ordained as priest on 6th January 1912. His Rector put him in charge of the boarding house for non-catholic students and got him to teach in the college for a couple of hours. His close contact with the non-Christian students gave ample opportunities for the conversions. His dream was to evangelize India and Sri Lanka through prayer and penance through the new dimension of the contemplative apostolate in the work of evangelization. In 1926 Pope Pius XI published his encyclical “Rerum Ecclesiae” in which he expressed, the same idea which Rev. Fr. Thomas O.M.I. had in the mind. Pope emphasized the urgent need of contemplatives in mission lands. Bishop Guymar of Jaffna who knew well Fr. Thomas and his aspirations, asked him to start an institute of contemplative in his diocese. He approached him to start the congregation; but with much difficulty he obeyed the words of the Bishop as the will of God and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Thus was begun the congregation of the Rosarians on 2nd February 1928. Fr. Thomas was a man of vast ambitions and farsighted vision. He knew quite well, as is seen from history, that monasticism adapted to the native cultures and needs could be an effective means not only for evangelization, but also for eradicating many a spiritual, social and economic disorders that bothers mankind at all times. His unwavering faith in Divine providence and persistent trust in the maternal protection of our Blessed Mother kept him on. Finally Fr. Thomas’ work was sealed visibly with the sign of God’s approval, the sign of the cross. Troubles from within and without seemed to hamper his work. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (Jn 12:24). The sufferings and sacrifices of Fr. Thomas began to bear fruit. The members of the Congregation are totally dedicated to contemplation, give themselves to God alone in solitude and silence and through constant prayer and ready penance. By their example they motivate the people; by imparting hidden, apostolic fruitfulness, they make this people grow. On the New Year Day of 1930 Fr. Thomas said to the Friars, “My only joy and reward is to make ‘SAINTS’ of you.” Let us offer ourselves as slaves to Jesus through his blessed mother. “If your spiritual progress is not satisfactory, if you are worried by the defects of others, if Ceylon and the world in general are not yet converted never forget that you are to be blamed for it.” During his own life time he had the happiness to see the congregation spread into three dioceses in India. In 1950, a contemplative congregation for women too was started by Fr. Thomas. Within a decade, the sisters too spread out into two more dioceses in India and Sri Lanka. The last six years of his life were indeed a veritable Calvary for him. Cut off, against his will, for his spiritual children and his cherished field of labour for over thirty years, he watched helplessly his life’s dream as is crumbling to ruin, feeling him self discarded and useless in his solitary confinement. Yet he kept on with humble submission and patient acceptance of all that Divine Providence permitted, until death claimed him on 26th January 1964, when he was seventy-eight years old. He, who was not expected to live beyond five years as a priest, had spent more than fifty years of strenuous labour and heroic penance! 11th March 2006 is a remarkable day for the congregation of Rosarian for that day Pope Benedict XVI has declared Fr. B.A. Thomas O.M.I. as a Servant of God and initiated the cause for his beatification.