The mission territory covered a vast area of 45,188 Sq. k.ms. The main challenge faced by the missionaries
was to work in a new missionary context, to learn the new language and culture and to start the work from
practically nothing. To start with their mission work, the first thing was to establish some primary contact
with local people, which would do a lot of good for the opening of new centers. By the end of November 1968,
Msgr. Mattam, hired a building, 59, Master Plan, Civil Lines in Satna and made Satna a permanent mission
station. Fr. Thomas Kuzhippala, V.C. began to stay there. He was looking after the pastoral needs of Satna and
Birla stations. As the result of personal contact and Divine providence, on 26 January, 1969 Msgr. Mattam,
shifted his residence from Rewa to Satna. From that time on, the house at Rewa was considered as the 'Ashram'
for the Vincentian fathers working in this diocese. But, later, an Ashram was constructed at Padra, Rewa.
After two years of stay there, Msgr. Mattam, changed his residence to another rented house i.e., 21, Master
Plan, Civil Lines, near to the present over bridge.
In 1969, Msgr. Mattam and Fr Thomas Kuzhippala, VC went to Sidhi, contacted with people there, and bought
a plot of land with two small buildings, just near to the collectorate. Fr Thomas Kuzhippala, VC was appointed
priest-in-charge of both Sidhi and Singrauli stations. In April, 1969, Msgr. Abraham Mattam and Fr John
Rathappilly VC went to Nowgong in Chhatarpur district, contacted with people, and bought 10 acres of land.
Fr. John Rathappilly was appointed as the priest-in-charge of Nowgong. He had the charge of Chhatarpur and
Tikamgarh stations too.
On 14 July, 1969, the first school in the Exarchate was opened in Sidhi with the name
Gandhi Shishu Vidyalay. On 19 July, the first batch of Rev. Sisters to the Exarchate of Satna came to Sidhi.
The Fransiscan Clarist sisters who came on that day were Rev. Sr Boniface (Superior) Sr Beena and Sr Mariusha.
Thus, the first convent in the Exarchate was opened and the school was entrusted to them. In October, the
Gandhi Centenary Memorial Home for the Destitute and an orphanage for girls were opened in Nowgong.
These were the first charitable institutions that began to function in the Exarchate. By the year 1970 the
work expanded to all the six districts and a number of mission stations were opened on the 'virgin land' of
the Exarchate of Satna and the Christian presence was slowly being felt.
On 24 June, 1971, the foundation stone was laid for the present Bishop's house. As the
territory of the Exarchate was vast, it always demanded a number of priests and religious for the momentous
task. There was a constant need to be always on the move and meet the people. On 1 February, 1975, an
Inter-religious Dialogue Centre and library were opened at Satna. Evangelization was given prominence in the
diocese, not excluding, however, the rest, like the formation of clergy, health and education.
Later history with regard to the mission stations and other institutions are dealt with in
the forthcoming pages. Hence we do not go to those details here.