The Order of the Ursuline Sisters of Mary Immaculate (UMI), a religious congregation, took over the Holy Family Hospital in 1978. The Order was founded by Sister Brigida Morello in Piacenza, Italy, in 1649. Though it was the Congregation's original aim to educate young women who had no access to education, its mission expanded in India to include diverse forms of service - medical, social and pastoral.
They arrived in Kerala in 1934 to uplift weaker sections of society in the Malabar region and also ran dispensaries and visited patients at home. This was the UMI's foray into medical services. This new vision culminated in the setting up of the Congregation's first major hospital in India - Mariampur in Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, in 1961.
While the UMI opened other medical institutions across the country, they took over the administration of the Holy Family Hospital in Bandra, Mumbai , from the Medical Mission Sisters in 1978. Overseeing this transfer of management and continuing to play a pivotal role in its growth and expansion was Mother Maria Giovanna Alberoni. She was the first UMI Sister to pursue medical studies in India. It was she, along with Sister Bernadina Poomthottam, Msgr Nereus Rodrigues, Dr Faust Pinto and Dr Eustace de Souza, who guided the hospital from a 22-bed nursing home to a full-fledged multi-specialty institution and medical research centre.
Across India, the Congregation includes many Sister-Doctors, who are engaged in medical services as nurses, pharmacists, laboratory technicians and administrators in UMI-run institutions. Following are the major medical institutions run by the UMI in India:
Holy Family Hospital, Mumbai: 232-bed
The Congregation runs health centres in villages across the country. They also run urban clinics targeted at slum populations through vaccination, healthcare projects and daily clinics.
Education: Apart from medical services, the UMI also serves the community through educational and socio-pastoral activities. It runs many schools in different parts of the country, in both English and local languages as the medium of instruction. Most of these schools extend to the higher secondary level and junior colleges as well.
Outreach: To serve the needs of communities more comprehensively, the Congregation conducts numerous community outreach programmes. It manages homes for senior citizens and orphanages, rehabilitation centres, free boarding houses to educate socially disadvantaged young women and prison ministries as well.
Navjeet Community Health Centre, the Congregation's community outreach programme in Mumbai, was started soon after they took over the administration of Holy Family Hospital. Its main objective is to meet the diverse needs of socially disadvantaged residents of Mumbai.