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The life of Fr.Victor –(1860-1897)

In 1860 Msgr. Valerge took Fr. Victor as his companion while making a visit to Mulagumoodu. At that time Mulagumoodu was an abandoned village. Fr. Victor experienced a special attraction for the place and wanted to live there. He started his missionary work there by putting his trust in Him who called him. Fr. Victor along with Fr. Eugene Verleure (his brother) tried to execute their plan of changing the face of Mulagumoodu. A Church and a Presbytery rose there. Thus there was a place of worship where people could come and find their peace and joy.

Then his attention was drawn towards the children who were abandoned in the severe epidemics of cholera. A school for them was a necessity. There came up a school near the Church.He built an orphanage in 1862 at Mulagumoodu for boys and girls who lost their loved ones in terrible epidemics of cholera. They gave education to the children, trained them in technical skills like carpentry, black smithery, tinkering, brick work and masonry. He too built a tile factory in Mulagumoodu, which employed the inmates of the orphanage as well as the people around.This happened to be also a time of great harvest for the church. People were very open to receive the Good News.

Of themselves they were approaching the missionaries and got baptized and enjoyed their experience of peace and joy. As the church in Mulagumoodu got expanded due to the concerted works of Fr. Victor, he felt the need of some religious sisters to help him in the administration of the Orphanage and the care for the women. Hence in 1891 he laid the foundation for constructing a suitable convent for them. It got completed after 6 years. Unfortunately by the time Mother Marie Louise De Meester and Mother Marie Ursule from Belgium arrived, Fr. Victor was not there to receive them.

He was struck with a deadly disease of cerebral stroke and was taken to Quilon. On 27th June 1897 he breathed his last uttering his final words “I your dying soldier salutes you Christ Jesus”. He was buried on 30th June 1897 in front of the altar of St,mary’s Church,Mulagumoodu. The Belgian sisters took possession of the newly constructed convent on 07-11-1897.

Establishment of ICM convent

Fr. Victor has mailed a letter from Mulagumoodu to Mother Marie Louise in Belgium about the necessity of her services to the orphanage which was part of his mission. Fr. Victor was instrumental in bringing to Mulagumoodu the first religious sisters from Belgium, Mother Marie Louise De Meester and Mother Marie Ursule, Canonesses of St. Augustine of Yper, who took charge of the first convent at Mulagumoodu in 1897. They later founded the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (ICM- Immaculate Cordis Mariae) whose members, both foreign and Indian, have served in our area and many other parts of the world.

The number of children in the orphanage was steadily increasing and so were the demands on the food reserve. While Sister Marie Louise De Meester thinking of making some sort of income, Sr. Marie Ursule came up with a bright idea of lace making. Girls from the neighbourhood also joined as trainees. More than 4,000 families in and around Mulagumoodu enjoyed the financial benefits.The missionary sisters established schools and other educational institutions particularly for girl children. The Congregation was started at Mulagumoodu in 1897, Mother Marie Louise De- Meester and Mother Marie Ursule, permitted by the Bishop of Bruges in Belgium, to leave their convent at Ypres and transfer their vow of obedience to the Bishop of Quilon, arrived at Mulagumoodu on 7th November,1897 and took possession of the convent there with the authorization of Msgr. Ferdinand. Building of Church (1910) at Mulagumoodu

In order to make the faith of the people of Mulagumoodu alive, a church was built and later renovated in various stages.

In the year 1860 Fr. Victor purchased 40 acres (16 hectare) of land and constructed a church with thatched roof and it was renovated with tiled roof by Fr. Vincent in the year 1910. (period of construction 1902-1910).

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