The early part of the history of Ranchi Province forms a part of the history of the Indian Province. When the whole of India was one Province and when late Bro. Louis Bureau (Bro. Eleazar) was the Provincial Superior, that Brothers set foot in Chotanagpur at the invitation of Rev. Fr. Moyerson, s.j. the Jesuit Provincial and that of the Archdiocese of Ranchi, in 1955. Again, when the Indian Province was divided into three Regions in 1967, the history of Chotanagpur mission of the Brothers became a part of the history of the Northern Region, under the Regional Superior, Bro. John of the Sacred Heart, succeeded by late Bro. Ambrose.
When this Northern Rgion was raise to a Province in 1975, with late Bro. Ambrose as the first provincial Superior, the early history of the present Ranchi Province can be traced to that Province. The Northern Province, due to its growth and geographical vastness, was divided into two Regions on 28-4-1982: Delhi Region and Ranchi Region. Thus, one has to study the history of the above two Provinces (Indian Province and Province of North India) to have a correct Perspective of the Ranchi Province and its early history.
The geographical area of Ranchi Region comprises the states of Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal. The following institutions/houses already existed when the Ranchi Region was formed: 1. St. Joseph’s H.S., M.S. & T.T.C., Konbir-Noatoli. (1955) 2.St. Aloysius H.S., M.S., Ranchi (1957), 3. St. Vianney’s H.S., M.S. Lachragarh. (1963), 4. St. John’s H.S. Nawatanr (1966), 5. St. Joseph’s H.S., M.S. Kanke (1968), 6. Loyola School, ITI, Patna (1969), 7. Public School Montfort School, Dhenkanal (1976), and 8. Montfort School Complex, Kansbahal (1978).
Bro. Edmond Toppo, Regional Superior (1982-86)
The Ranchi Region comprised the state of Bihar (Present Bihar & Jharkhand) and Orissa. The Ranchi Region with regional headquarters at Ranchi came into being on 28th April 1982 with Bro. Edmond Toppo as the first Regional Superior. He was assisted by 4 Councillors: Bro. C.M. Joseph, Sylvester Bara, John de Montfort and Peter Canisius. This administration had only a one-year term. At the end of this one year in 1983 Bro. C.M. Joseph succeeded Bro. Ambrose as the Provincial Superior of the Northern Province.
In 1983, Bro. Edmond Toppo was reappointed as the Regional Superior. His Councillors were
- Bro. John de Montfort,
- Bro. Paulose Mekkunnel,
- Bro. Peter Canisius and
- Bro. Sylvester Bara.
Though the regional headquarters was to be at Ranchi, it had to be shifted to Konbir-Noatoli since Bro. Edmond (the Regional Superior) was headmaster at Noatoli. It continued to be at Noatoli till 1986. The Regional headquarters were shifted to St. Aloysius, Ranchi in 1986.
Bro. Sylvester Bara, Regional Superior (1986-89)
Bro. Sylvester Bara was Regional Superior from 1986-89.
- Bro. Paulose Mekkunnel, Regional Councillor
- Bro. Benjamin,
- Bro. John de Montfort ,
- Bro. Edmond Toppo.
Provincial and Regional Chapters
An important point that repeatedly came up in Provincial Chapters of 1983 and 1987 as well as in the Regional Chapter of 1984 was extension of the mission beyond institutions. It was decided that every community would take up an extension programme. New Initiatives were to be taken only with the purpose of serving the poor. No new houses or institutions were to be taken up except for this purpose.
The fifth Provincial Chapter (1987-1988) of the Province of North India expressed its desire that the Regions of Delhi and Ranchi could become autonomous Provinces on April 28, 1989. The Central Administration agreed to this desire and created the two Provinces.
Bro. Sylvester Bara, Provincial Superior (1989-1992)
Bro. Sylvester Bara was appointed provincial Superior
The Councillors were the following:
- Bro. Paulose Mekkunnel
- Bro. Edmond Toppo
- Bro. Frederick Soreng
- Bro. John de Montfort.
Br. Thomas Thanickal was appointed Secretary and Treasurer.
Construction of the Provincial House in Kanke, Ranchi
As Delhi and Ranchi were to become independent Provinces in 1989, a decision was made to construct the Provincial House in Kanke for the Province of Ranchi. Construction of the new Provincial House at Kanke Began in 1988. Bro. C.M. Joseph, Provincial Superior, looked into all the details of this construction. The new building was named Montfort Niwas and it became the Provincial House in 1989 itself.
Inauguration of the Province: On April 28, 1989, during the solemn High Mass celebrated at St. Aloysius, Ranchi, attended by many religious, Bro. Sylvester Bara, the first Provincial Superior, took charge. The outgoing Provincial, Bro. C.M. Joseph, in his speech said that it was a matter of pride that in 33 years’ time the little branch of St. Gabriel became a Province, that too with a local person as Provincial Superior and that the Province too had majority of local Brothers. There were 37 perpetually Professed brothers and 11 temporarily professed Brothers. It was felt that as St. Aloysius, Ranchi was a crowded place, a less crowded place was better for the Provincial House. Kanke was found convenient. Construction of the new Provincial House at Kanke began in 1988.