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Rt. Rev. Henri Fortunatus Caumont

Monsignor Fortunatus Henri Caumont was born in Tours, in France on December 10, 1871, to Monsieur Salvant Caumont and Madame Pauline Caumont. She had a great and lasting influence on her son. In school, he was the joy of his teachers. He was studious and hardworking, gifted with great intelligence, delicate artistic sense and personal charm.
How did he land in Rajasthan ?
In 1913, the see of Ajmer was erected and Msgr. Fortunatus Henri Caumont was appointed its first Bishop. This great personality was a man of vision and he was able to read the sign of the times.
The women of Rajasthan with their peculiar customs were in dire need of help and only women of great courage could reach out to them. At that period unlike now, the women of Rajasthan were very much secluded and isolated from the main stream of life and no man, much less a foreigner could approach them. He pleaded with the religious of St. Mary of the Angels to help him in coming to the rescue of the women of Rajasthan.
With the permission of the saintly Holy Father, Pius X, Msgr. Henri Caumont started the Congregation of the Mission Sisters of Ajmer on 26th April, 1911 and placed it under the protection of ‘Our Lady of Good Counsel.’ The Constitution of this Congregation was in keeping with the rules of St. Francis of Assisi.
The Founder Henri Caumont Genuinely loved the poor and though he expected the Sisters to work for the society, who needed them in urban areas, he gave very clear instructions to them concerning their apostolate to the poor. “They shall love the poor and lowly. They shall not particularly hunt after cultured people, not even those eager for knowledge; rather they shall seek the destitute, the sick and the little children, that is to say, the most forgotten, and the most forsaken.
On 4th April, 1930 this great follower of Jesus who was at the peak of his labour his last at the age of 58.

Sr. Mother Mary Matilda

Josephine was born on December 13, 1880. The fire of God’s love was enkindled in her and she said goodbye to the worldly pleasures and gave her entire life to God in His love and service. Away from the pleasant climate of France, in a strange land among strangers, in the harsh, extreme desert climate of Rajasthan, hers was indeed a life of heroic sacrifice.
Mother Mary Matilda loved challenges. She experienced hardships which lasted for 10 years while bringing up the congregation of the M.S.A. Her faith in God was tremendous due to which she could overcome the worst difficulties. She had long periods of waiting, watching and praying. Before the dawn of India’s freedom, she laid stress on the study of Hindi and highly appreciated Gandhiji’s Wardha system of education.
Her Motto was: “Seek ye wisdom, wisdom that comes from God”.
She was efficient and enthusiastic and encouraged the all round development of children. In Ajmer, she was acclaimed the first lady in the line of education. In 1925, she was appointed on the Girl Guides Commission. In 1926, she was appointed Inspectress of all the Girl’s High Schools in Ajmer – Mewaran, which brought her into contact with many local schools encouraging this noble work of women’s education. In the Second World War, she co-operated with the Government giving valuable advice to Women’s League to step up the production of woollen garments and gifts for Jawans.She was the member of the Board of Education of Rajputana; and an Examiner of English and French. She was also an Examiner of Needlework at Lady Irwin College, New Delhi. Mother Mary Matilda took keen interest in all India Women’s League Ajmer branch and was elected Vice President. All these honours were of little importance to her but they showed her devotion to the noble cause.She was indeed a valiant woman who gave a word of encouragement to all.In 1950, the Mission Sisters were planning a grand celebration for the Golden Jubilee year of Mother Mary Matilda’s Religious Profession. However, the Lord willed it differently.She celebrated her jubilee with Jesus on August 19, 1950. The Congregation of the Mission Sisters of Ajmer has completed its centenary on 26th April, 2011.