The Foundress of the Society is Mother Anna Huberta Roggendorf. She was born in a small town Mechernich, west of river Rhine, Germany on 31st July 1909. She was called Gertrude Roggendorf in her childhood. At the age of 19, she joined the Daughters of the Cross at Haus Aspel near German boarder. In the year 1930, she made her first vows and learned English in London. She came to India as a young missionary in the autumn of 1932. She was placed at St. Joseph Bandra, teaching children which gave her a glimpse of the life in India. She was admitted to final vows in 1934 and a couple years later, she joined St. Catherine's home, Andheri. At the age of 29 she was appointed the superior of the home.
Being at St. Catherine's, she saw the misery and the inhuman conditions all around in the ever-expanding city of Mumbai. She felt the call to serve the poor and she opened the hospitable doors to thousands of destitute children and helped them to find a new beginning in their helpless and often broken lives.
Inspired by her vision, nine young women joined Mother Anna Huberta in her noble work in the year 1942 and dedicated their entire life in the service of the poor. Mother Anna Huberta called them "Helpers of Mary". They lived a simple life, in small communities in the midst of the poor, and shared their needs and sufferings. The sisters were bearers of love, peace and joy.
Mother Anna Huberta wanted the Helpers of Mary to go where no one dared to go, to live a challenging life. As a result in 1959 they moved out to Worli and later to slums of Madh Island and Dharavi. Their new found joy of serving others, attracted more girls and their numbers increased enabling the extension of work to more slums of Mumbai and remote villages.
As a visible sign of reaching out, we opened dispensaries, slum schools, care homes for children, soon to be followed by hospitals, tailoring centres, supporting classes for poor children, homes for the dying and destitute, hospice for HIV/AIDS children and women, empowering women and young girls, rehabilitation centres for leper patients and their children besides other social and welfare projects.
Mother Anna Huberta left no stone unturned in her desire to reach out to those who were at the edge of the society. She became victim of Cancer. On 4th July 1973 she was succumbed to her illness, leaving behind a great legacy. She was laid to rest in the premises of Shraddha Vihar, Andheri, the head quarter of the Society.
We want to ‘Live for Love’
Fr. Neuner with the Pioneers Helpers of Mary -
Sr. Mary Zita, Sr. Mary Imelda, Sr. Mary Monica (from left to right)
Lucina Menezes - Mary Zita
Isabelle Dias - Mary Imelda
Mary Monteiro - Mary Monica
Carmeline - Mary Carmen
Lizzie - Mary Margaret
Rosemary - Mary Elizabeth
Marceline Fernandes - Mary Benigna
Nora - Mary Nora
Ursula - Mary Ursula
Sr. Mary Bernadette was the first leader of the Marys and was incharge of Shraddha Vihar from 1957 to 1964.
Sr. Mary Fatima took over from her in 1964
Sr. Mary Imelda took over in 1971
Sr. Mary Anandlata was elected as Superior General in 1977
Sr. Leela Sequeira in 1983
Sr. Mary Anandlata in 1989
Sr. Mary Asha in 1995
Sr. Mary Indumati in 2001
Sr. Mary Leela Sequeira in 2007
Sr. Mary Stella Devassy in 2013
Sr. Mary Pushpy Alappadan in 2019