Fr. Attillio Colussi
God raises particularly gifted collaborators to work by the side of persons with a special mission. Fr. Atillio Colussi, the first spiritual director of the Congregation, was closely linked with the Congregation’s establishment and subsequent growth. The founder entrusted the young candidates to the care of Fr. Colussi knowing well that he would do justice to the task. Fr. Colussi was aware of the responsibility placed on him since Bishop Ferrando had to look after his flock scattered over a vast region and could not attend to the details of formation of the young candidates. With single-minded devotion, Fr. Atillio Colussi helped the founder to achieve the goals. His sincere and dedicated work of formation of the candidates bore visible fruits in the lives of the pioneers of the Congregation. One of the lasting monuments of his love for the Missionary Sisters is the Constitutions that he drafted, carefully capturing in them the missionary dimension of the Institute.
Bishop Ferrando often referred to Fr.Colussi as ‘the Father Pestarino of the Congregation’. Fr. Luciano Colussi sdb, describes him as ‘a Priest with a great heart’. “It was my joy and my responsibility before God, to help these young girls to realize their call to be missionaries,” Fr. Colussi recounted in later years. In the unavoidable absence of the founder who was busy in his missionary travels, the young members of the Congregation discovered a father in Fr. Atillio Colussi, to whom they could confide all their joys and griefs, their successes and failures. Even after his transfer to Calcutta, he was full of solicitude for the Missionary Sisters and kept himself informed about them and spoke of them to others as ‘my Sisters.’ Whenever the Sisters visited him at Calcutta he would show them same affection which he had for the pioneers of the Congregation. With his characteristic gaiety and cheerfulness, he deemed it a pleasure to be at their service. The Sisters, in their turn, lovingly treasured in their hearts his example and teaching.
An exemplary priest and Religious, Fr. Colussi was a zealous missionary and a lover of the poor. His simplicity and sincerity impressed people and attracted them to the person of Christ whom he proclaimed. He died on 2 November 1988, at the age of 81. The Missionary Sisters pay a rich tribute of love and gratitude to this valiant missionary whose guidance, interest and hard labour have contributed to fashioning the edifice of their memorable past.
Fr. Noel Joseph Kenny
When the Mother House and the Novitiate of the Missionary Sisters was transferred from Barpeta Road to Shillong in 1965, the founder desired to entrust the spiritual animation of the Congregation to a priest whose life was deeply embedded in spiritual values. Finding in Fr. N.J. Kenny, a rich reservoir of spiritual wealth, Bishop Ferrando appointed him chaplain of St. Margaret ’s Convent, Peachlands, on 20 February 1965. Right from the start, Fr. Kenny gave himself whole-heartedly to the task of directing and moulding the congregation and thus enriching the spiritual life of its members.
The past three decades have witnessed Fr. Kenny’s dedication and selfless services to the Missionary Sisters. He has made great sacrifices in updating the Constitutions of the Congregation in the light of the Decrees of Vatican II. He also prepared a commentary on the Constitutions and brought out a book entitled, A Way of Perfection. It was born out of his ardent love for the Congregation and his genuine interest in the sanctification of each of its members. He was instrumental in drafting the prayers contained in the prayer book of the Sisters, The Practices of Piety. The Congregation was privileged to have the inspiring presence of Fr. Kenny at all its General Chapters. He guided the deliberations of the Chapters and helped in formulating practical directives.
Fr. Kenny spared no pains in making himself available for regular classes on catechism, spirituality and religious life. One could find him joyfully going about his duties, administering the Sacraments, preaching, teaching, blessing, advising, encouraging and guiding both Superiors and Sisters alike. Like the wise builder in the Gospel, he laboured to lay the foundation of the spiritual life of the Sisters. His own religious life was a shining example for each of the Sisters to follow. His fidelity to duty, coupled with his deep interior life was radiated by his serene and jovial composure.
The sudden demise of Fr. Kenny on 8 November 1955, shocked and profoundly grieved the Sisters. They were totally unprepared to accept such an eventuality as Fr. Kenny was active even at the age of 85. He often mentioned that his mission in life gave him great fulfilment and ample reward. During his 30 years of service to the Missionary Sisters as their Spiritual director, he took fatherly pride in their overall growth and development. His commitment to God and to the people was an expression of a sense of fulfilment in the service of his Master. His sense of humour, simplicity of life, friendly and loving ways and his deep spiritual life have been a source of inspiration to all.