Servant of God Most Rev.Fr Varghese Payapilly was a diocesan priest of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam. In order to serve the poor, the destitute and the aged, forsaken by their dear ones or driven out into the street, he started a religious congregation in 1927, later it was called as the Sisters of the Destitute. Years after his rather sudden demise, his memory lives on as a priest who led an ascetic, charitable and exemplary life of apostolate.
Varghese was born on 8th August 1876 in a noble, rather rich and ancient Syrian Christian family of Payapilly Palakkappilly at Perumanoor in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam. His schooling was completed in Perumanur and Ernakulam. His seminary life was at Puthenpally near Alangad and the Papal Seminary at Kandy (Sri Lanka). He was noted for punctuality, discipline, piety and Fraternal charity. He was ordained priest in 1907.
During the flood of 1924, Rev.Fr.Varghese along with the prominent persons of the locality organized Refugee Camp at St. Mary’s school and saved many. In collaboration with the archbishop, Rev.Fr. Varghese gave shape to the congregation of the 'Little Sisters of the Poor' on 19th March 1927. Since another congregation already bore this name, a new name "Sisters of the Destitute" was adopted in 1933.
On 9th September 1929 barely after 2 years of founding the congregation, Rev.Fr. Varghese was affected with typhoid and was admitted in the hospital. On 5th October 1929 Rev.Fr. Varghese was called to his heavenly abode.
The theological virtues of faith, hope and charity were resplendent in him. He attuned himself to listening to the inner voice of God's spirit Rev.From his childhood onwards. He was humble enough to beg alms for the maintenance of the destitute with pioneer sisters and the leading men of the locality.
Servant of God Most Rev.Fr Varghese Payapilly was a dynamic person who could read the signs and needs of the time with great prudence and to respond promptly to the new challenges with fortitude. He is undoubtedly a beacon of compassion and love which will remain as an eternal source of inspiration for everyone.