The Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales (MSFS), also known as the Fransalians, was founded in Annecy, France on 24 October 1838 by Fr. Peter Mermier under the patronage of St. Francis de Sales. It was founded in response to the desire of St. Francis de Sales to found a society of missionary priests. The political disturbances in the country, especially the French Revolution had an impact on the spiritual realm too as it left the people in a deep spiritual crisis and indifference towards their religious duties. Sensing the signs of the time Fr. Mermier took upon himself the task of a spiritual renewal in his people by preaching parish missions. This special apostolate in turn gave rise to a community of preachers gathered around Fr. Mermier. His firm missionary zeal was amply clear from his slogan: I want missions. The mission plan of Fr. Mermier included foreign missions too and he expected Rome to entrust his little congregation with a mission in Africa. But contrary to the expectation, the vast mission territory of Visakhapatnam, in India was entrusted to the MSFS in 1845.

History of MSFS Southwest Province

The Southwest Province was erected in 1991. It was created by bifurcating the large province of Visakhapatnam. Southwest Province consists of the two states of Karnataka and Kerala in India, the Francophone countries of Chad and Cameroon in Africa and the Philippines. The province which began with 52 priests, two brothers and a few scholastics and candidates in 1991 has grown into a large one with 148 priests, 2 brothers, 94 scholastics and over a hundred candidates to date.

The first Provincial, Fr. Thomas Cherukat took over the administration of the Province on 3rd July 1991. With all the initial difficulties he with his long vision and undying zeal built it up into a strong and vibrant province remaining at the helm of affairs of the province for three consecutive terms of three years as provincial. During his tenure, many new missions were opened and the existing ones were stabilized. The missions in the Philippines and West Central Africa were opened in 1993 and 1999 respectively.