Rev. Fr. Adrian Caussanel, S.J., entered the Indian soil in 1888. Understanding the local realities, he felt the need to initiate native people to continue the mission of the Church in this vast land.
This was the beginning of an enduring vision to found the Brothers of the Sacred Heart.
Commonly known as the ‘dragon of south’ he was a person of might and untiring zeal, whose reputation remains proverbial in Southern India, particularly because of the intrepidity manifested on numerous occasions in defending the rights of the poor and the marginalized.
The missionary spirit, commitment for the poor and need to work in rural areas proclaimed and promoted by him is carried forward by the Sacred Heart Brothers till date. The way forward is inspired by his charism for justice and solidarity with the poor.
Fr. Adrian Caussanel was born on the 27th September 1850, at the very first infancy, he gave signs of great piety.He would never get tired of praying with his sisters who later joined the company of the Sisters of the Charity.
During his higher secondary studies at the Minor Seminary of St. Pierre and Villefranche, he was outstanding for his good conduct, his diligence for studies and his good natured character. He was highly regarded and appreciated by his companions as well as by his teachers. At St/ Pierre, he was awarded the Prize of Honour All showed great appreciation and sympathy towards him at the Major Seminary, in Philosophy and Theology. His aptitude for historical studies was remarkable. He had also great fascination towards for the various disciplines of the ecclesiastical science. The first sermon he gave t the refectory, shortly before leaving the Major Seminary attracted the attention of all and manifested his auspicious aptitude for preaching.
He joined the Major Seminary of Rodez to do his philosophy on the 4th October, 1871. He received the tonsure on the 7th June 1973, the Minor orders, the 30th may 1874 and the sub deaconry, the 18th December; 1875.he left Rodez on the 20th December that is the second day after his ordination and went first to Mazieres to take his leave form family then to Albi to see his sisters, Marie, the sister of charity and Emilie, the postulant.
From Albi, he went to Lourdes to spend a day of Christmas and on the evening of the 25th, he arrived at the novitiate of Pau to become the company of Jesus. After his novitiate, started at Pau and ended at Toulouse (Ste Marie – des – Champs), Adrian was sent to the Scholasticate of Vals at the beginning of October, 1877.
The following year in the month of September, he was assigned as supervisor and professor at St. Gabriel College of St. Affrique and worked with zeal and success until the holidays of 1882. His last two years in this college were extremely difficult because after the enforcement of the decrees, he was about the only Jesuit left.
The absolute trust conferred onto him by all the students brought about some worries on the part of the new teachers.
In the month of August, 1882, Adrian, ordered by his superiors, left for spain and having spent a few days at Lourdes 20, 21, and 22 arrived on 25th or 26th of the same month at Ucles, monastery of Ucles, province of Cuenca por Tarancon. He stayed in that monastery until 9th April 1885 and the diaconate on 26th July, 1883 and priesthood on 7th September, 1884.
While keeping busy with his ecclesiastical studies, he evangelized with great success the numerous needy that came to the monastery and after his ordination he worked with marvelous success at the service of the mission.
Recalled to France on 9th April 1885, he was put in charge of the college of Tivoli with a large staff on 14th April of the same year and continued his devoted task until the end of September 1887.
After a brief visit to Mazieres and a day spent with Frederic in Paris, Adrian reaches London on 1st October 1997 for his third year of probation. In the month of July, the following year, 1888, he learned that his superiors had designated him for the mission of Hindustan and left England on the first days of the month of August to return to France. An error committed by the ministry postponed his departure for India until the month of October.
Adrian took advantage of this delay to visit a few families he knew in France and that would be interested in his mission. He spent a few days at Meaux with Frederic and stayed more than a month at Mazieres. He left from Marseille on 21 October 1888 and arrived to Trichinopoly on 15th November, 1888.
Around the end of December of the same year he was sent to Tanjore and at the end of January 1889 he found himself at the head of the college of tuticorin and of the fine Christendom from the fisheries of the coast.
At the very beginning of 1893, the Most. Rv. Fr. General assigned to him the leadership of the Mission of the South. ,
He arrived in Madurai in 1889. He was a missionary and long time Superior of all Palamcottach District from 1893(2) to 1905 which includes the entire actual diocese of Tuticorin and part of those of Madurai and Kottar)
Man of Might and untiring zeal, whose reputation remained proverbial in all of the southern India, particularly, because of the intrepidity manifested on numerous occasions in defending the rights of his Christians , or the properties of the church against encroachment or harassment by the Hindus or even English administration.
He was never short of neither boldness nor judicial arguments, or even ingenious strategies, to vindicate his rights.
At the same time, as improvised physician, he invented, out of local products, a few medicines which one at least is still in market.
In a lifetime of service, Fr. Caussanel catered to the physical and spiritual needs of the people. Even as he offered spiritual comfort to those weary in the heart, he sought to provide medical aid to those afflicted in the body. The humble, the meek, the sick, and the afflicted came to him for comfort and succor.
He founded the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, a congregation of Brothers – Catechists – Missionaries – Teachers, dedicated to a simple and evangelical lifestyle, with a very simple costume barely distinguishing them from the layman.