Arul Ashram Foundation in Pondicherry – India

Frères de Saint-Jean à Pondichéry

The Brothers founded the priory Arul Ashram in Pondicherry, India, in February 1997 at the request of the local Archbishop. The initial intention was to create a contemplative male presence in the diocese and for the Brothers to accompany the students at the University of Pondicherry. Now the apostolic activities covered by the Brothers include catering for the spiritual needs of children and students, assisting with the formation of different religious congregations, running a centre for people with AIDS and welcoming people on retreats who wish to benefit from the silence of the Ashram.

The Shanthi Bhavan AIDS Centre is located on the same terrain as the Brothers’ priory. The initial idea was for it to be a place of welcome for men who were nearing the end of life, but it later started to welcome women and children as well. This led to the building of separate houses for the women and children, as well as houses for families. Following the constant growth in the number of children who are HIV Positive and orphaned in the area, a small school was set up that also serves as a formation and training workshop.

The Ashram’s capacity is already stretched and it needs to grow. In total – counting the Brothers, the students, the AIDS-sufferers, the sisters looking after them, foreign volunteers and local personnel – there are around 90 people living in this one space.

Website of the Brothers of Saint John in Pondicherry
Listen to a RCF Radio Bulletin (in French)

Examples

Noé Mission Saint-Jean – France: volunteers developing and running projects started by the Brothers and Sisters of St John to help the most deprived.
Magdalena Association – France: accompanying and offering support to those who live on the streets and to men and women involved in prostitution.
Saint-Jean Espérance – France: a place of welcome for young men and women aged between 18 and 35 who are struggling with addictions, especially drug addiction.