Our Foundress

Servant of God
Thattipathri Gnanamma
Our Foundress
“The Servant of God”Thatipathri Gnanamma Innaiah(1822-1874)Foundress of the Society of Sisters of St. Anne, Madras
Early Life of Mother Gnanamma
Mother Thatipathri Gnanamma was born as a second child to devout and God fearing Parents Gali Royanna, the Catechist and Mariamma in 1822 at Phirangipuram, Guntur Dt. Andhra Pradesh. Her brother Showraiah was a sculptor who concentrated on Hindu Temples’ Sculptures which Gnanamma could not tolerate. It was her constant prayers with tears and trust in God that brought him back to the Church to die as a good Christian.
Mother’s Life of Marriage
In the year 1837 Gnanamma as a young girl of 15 was given in marriage to Innaiah. Innaiah spent 12 years in Seminary to become a Priest; but God’s plan was different. He came to Phirangipuram and married Gnanamma and worked as a Catechist. 5 sons were born to this devout couple. Her husband Innaiah died of Cholera attack on his way to Madras with his Parish Priest to meet Rev. John Fennelly the Apostolic Vicar of Madras in 1859.
Mother’s Journey to Madras
Widow of 37 years and a mother of 5 boys Mother Gnanamma left her home town-Phirangipuram and came down to Madras in 1859 at the advice of Rev. John Fennelly, the Apostolic Vicar to be near her little sons who were studying at different levels for priesthood. She settled down permanently at Kilacheri village – a totally unknown place 60 Kms away from Madras in 1860, as it was very much conducive to attend to her spiritual needs after six months of stay at Eraiyur.
Establishment of a School in 1863
Out of her contemplation and prayers Mother determined to begin a school exclusively for girls as education of young girls was an unimaginable dream in her time. Mother went to her native place, sold all her properties and returned to Kilacheri to start her first school named as St. Clare School on 3rd May 1863. Today the congregation has hundreds of schools imparting value based education to thousands of children in her footsteps.
Mother Gnanamma as a Lay Apostle
Religious instruction became the full-time work of Mother Gnanamma after settling all her Sons. The great and generous service of Mother Gnanamma attracted and drawn many to join her Apostolate and stay with her to help in the administration of the School and hostel. In 1864, 28 year old young widow Agathamma and in 1866, 15 year old girl Arulamma joined the hostel to study in the school. 
Mother Gnanamma as the Foundress
Impressed by the Apostolate of Mother Gnanamma, the two girls Agathamma and Arulamma expressed their desire in 1871 to dedicate themselves fully to the work of God and join the religious life to continue her great work. Being guided by Fr. Arokianathar Mother formed them initially and sent them to Bellary for their Postulancy and Novitiate Formation in 1873 to St. Anne’s Novitiate where they took the names as Sr. Angela and Sr. Philomena. They pronounced their first profession on 04.10.1874 and reached Kilacheri on 18.10.1874. This is the beginning of St. Anne’s Congregation.
Mother Gnanamma’s Parting Message
My Beloved Children!Be Obedient to those who are responsible for you!Listen to your Spiritual Guides!Be the Protection and Solace of Women,along with academic and religious education to Girls!Learn to live as Women for other in your effort to translate love of God into love of fellow human beings!Do not be dependent on others financially!May your hard work be your protection and strength!
The Spirit of Mother Gnanamma
Mother Gnanamma passed away on 21st December 1874 from her earthly dwelling, but she is alive today in every woman, every girl and every child who is pursuing her studies in the Educational institutions of the Society of sisters of St. Anne, for she was ….A leader of great vision!A woman of conviction!A person of great perseverance!A giver without counting!A model of selfless love!A strong soul of unshakable faith in God!
“The Servant of God”Thatipathri Gnanamma Innaiah
Mother Gnanamma was given the title “The Servant of God” by the Sacred Congregation for the cause of Saints in its letter from Vatican on 21st January 2014 with the message that there is no objection to proceed with the Beatification and Canonisation process on the part of the Holy See. Most. Rev. Dr. George Antonysamy, the Archbishop of  Madras-Mylapore Archdiocese  announced this good news to the Public on 21st March 2014 at Kilacheri her death place and the birth place of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Anne, Madras and Phirangipuram. Let the Holiness of the Servant of God Thatipthri Gnanamma Innaiah prevail everywhere to lead us towards holiness.