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Faith in Action : SSSMile Village in Kerala India

The DE PAUL SSSMILE VILLAGE, was established in Vettikkuzhy in the year 2000.

Vettikkuzhy is a small, but beautiful village in the Block Panchayath of Chalakkudy in the district of Trichur, Kerala, South India. Vettikkuzhy is twenty kilometers away from Chalakkudy railway station and forty five kilometers away from Kochi-International airport in Nedumbassery.

What is the SSSMILE Village?

SSSMILE is the acronym of Sacred Scriptures’ Social Message into Living Experience

The village was the brain child of Father Antony Plackal, a member of the Vincentian Congregation. The Congregation draws its spirit and distinctive character from the life and works, and the Common Rules of St. Vincent de Paul who was chosen as the father and patron of the Vincentian Congregation.

The Congregation has taken as its motto, "He has sent me to proclaim the Good News to the poor" (Luke. 4:18), which inspired St. Vincent de Paul.

In this spirit Father Antony founded the SSSMILE Village to follow Jesus’s guidance in Matthew 25:40 “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” The pressure of responsibility, having started to build the Village and take in destitute and abandoned residents, must sit very heavy on his shoulders.

The Village is designed to have twenty homes for four hundred people who will come from the streets to reside in the Village. There will be twenty people in each house. The people from the streets will include children, young people, elderly men and women, people that are physically handicapped, mentally handicapped, blind, lepers, wandering families, unwed mothers with their children, drug addicts and people that have been abandoned. They are all welcomed to the village where they find shelter, food, medication, love and care and a life of human dignity and decency. Children capable of learning are sent to school outside the Village. Residents are also given opportunities to learn skills to be able to help themselves to become independent.

In the longer term Father Antony has an achievable dream of complete self sufficiency. He hopes to be able to buy some land on which to grow rubber trees. Those residents capable will be trained to tap rubber and care for these trees. The rubber will be sold and the Village will become self supporting. But in the mean time the effort must be in maintaining what is there now.

One of the aims of Saint Joseph’s Epsom: Faith in Action is to help Father Antony and the volunteers that work in the Village with the courage and determination to keep going. Knowing that we are all here helping them gives them great emotional support and we must continue to do it.

At present the Congregation is led by Very Rev. Father Varghese Puthussery, he was elected Superior General in 2005. Father Varghese was a priest here at Saint Joseph’s in Epsom between 1992 and 1994 and is not only a colleague but a friend to Canon Bill, who was last in Kerala in 2007.