Services Of The Servant Of God Michael Ansaldo
Education to poor women
In those days when the oven was meant for women to study, Father Michel Ansaldo founded women wandering in the streets and on the foot paths, enduring untold misery, educating them and making them worthy to stand on their own feet in this society. Together they set up a home for the destitute. Ansaldo had a very special focus on these afflicted Women and widows, children who were affected by child marriage, young widows because it was the time in which the poor women were exploited sexually and misused by the upper caste people. They were forced to work only the menial jobs also the prejudices of the Indians against women’s education were still too strong. Realizing the situation of the afflicted women and widows, in order to bring them out of that situation, Ansaldo started orphanages and school to give literacy to these poor women and widows, which was a revolutionary step against the prevailing caste system.
Toiled for the economic development of the widows
He also realized, with literacy, the importance of economic development was also important in the process or the empowerment of poor Women and widows. He started to give some basic skills on tailoring, weaving and other technical skills for the poor women and widows, giving them self-confidence and to earn for their own living, which was unthinkable in his historical human discriminated context.
Started Orphanages and Convents
The colonial rulers, who came with the sole motive of exploiting the natural resources of the country. In order to provide for the needs of the colonial rulers more taxes were imposed. But the poor people who lived below the poverty line were not able to pay them. The British and the French soldiers looted the houses and raped the women and as a result, the children born of those accidents outside wedlock were left destitute. There was also in practice the habit of auctioning slaves publicly in the markets.
The solution that struck his mind was that the womenfolk must go to school to learn and must also learn some trade that would make them at least relatively independent at the beginning stage and permanently independent in the long run. For this purpose, he founded a school for the womenfolk to give them an education and to protect young widows and the women who were the victims of sexual crimes. Ansaldo also started an orphanage in shepherd street in 1775 and dedicated it to the protection of St. Aloysius Gonzaga.
In course of time due to the caste system practiced in the house of the abandoned, namely, the minor convent run under the patronage of St. Louis de Gonzaga was divided into two one for the low caste/casteless who were considered highly polluted and untouchables and the other for the caste people. Among the inmates there were few women with good heart taking care of these orphans they are non-other than the sisters of St. Aloysius Gonzaga. Thus, till today Sisters show their preferential love to the afflicted, to the abandoned women and oppressed children in the Society.
During his life, Ansaldo carried on all his works with full of confidence in the Lord; but after his death, difficulties were encountered. However, in the midst of such financial and situational crisis the two minor convents (St. Aloysius Gonzaga and Bon Secours) and one major convent (Carmel) are still existing as full- fledged Religious Congregations. They dedicate their lives to the service in the spirit of the founder Servant of God Michael Ansaldo, in taking care of the orphans and in reaching out the poor and the downtrodden in the society.
Foundation of a small school for girls
The heart of Servant of God was moved by the drastic condition of the young girl children. He went out along streets of Pondicherry and collected the children, gave them the food, the shelter, he founded a Tamil medium school, to give them an education and to protect the young widows and the women who were the victims of sexual crimes.
Father of the poor flock
People usually called him as “Michael Nader” and “Father” (papa). Ansaldo is more than a person of prudence and courageous, he is a very good human being by his very words and deeds. He was known for the gentleness and kindness. “As birds fly in search of fruits similar people used to flock towards him in search of both spiritual and material needs”. He used to attract the people very easily with his charitable activities. Whoever used to approach him used to gain lots of confidence and hope in their lives. Thus, people called him with the whole heart as “Michael Nader”. His arrival at Pondicherry became as a new spring, as a sign of hope for the orphan children the afflicted women. Thus, he began two homes for the orphans in 1775 under the patronage of St. Aloysius Gonzaga and the Our Lady of Bon secures.