Lay Leadership Animation

Pillar is a one-of-a-kind institution for residential training such as chapters, retreats, seminars and courses.  Modeled after the renowned Bildungshaus of Germany it was founded in 1999 by the Pallottines. It has well-equipped conference halls, comfortable guest rooms, airy corridors with inspiring paintings, and a well-stacked Library with books, journals and video documentaries. It hosts also a documentation center, a data bank covering numerous topics and events.   It is a much sought-after  institution by the NGOs, church groups,  state and  social organizations.

Pillar Campus

Pillar Campus is set on an idyllic environment. The green surroundings will rejuvenate your mind and body. For sports lovers, we have an excellent basketball court and wide open spaces for jogging and walking. For those seeking inward journey and God’s presence, there is a Chapel and a Meditation Pavilion with a gurgling fountain for company in a serene atmosphere.​

And for our inquisitive guests, we have some interesting places to explore on the sprawling campus. Strap on your boots and walk some 200 meters to the west and you’ll reach a small hillock where you’ll find the Sacred Grove. Go around the hillock on the prayer path for the Marian Cave with an open air communion place. The spirited ones can climb the sturdy stairs to the summit, the Prayer Rock, with viewing benches carved on the rock. Though it is not for the weak-kneed and those with fear of heights, for the able-bodied, the climb will give a reward of a sweeping view of the countryside.

Nestled amid hillocks and the Nagamalai mountain range, our campus is awash with greenery. Within walk-able distance are Jain caves, stone beds, bas-reliefs, Brahmi Tamil inscriptions, sculptures and water springs of Jain monks. Some of them date back to 300 B.C.​

Sacred Grove & Prayer Rock

For those willing to spend moments of silent prayer and meditation, the center has a sacred grove  (அருள் காவு) too.   It was dedicated in 2013 commemorating 50 years of St. Vincent Pallotti’s sainthood.  At the center there is a prayer rock surrounded by a prayer path  for  meditative walks. On the west side there  is a Marian Cave with a statue of Jesus’ Mother presented in the Tamil religious tradition.  In front of the cave there is space for cave communion formed of numerous stones for seating.  At the entrance of sacred grove there is  a row of steps leading to the place for group mass/prayer.  Close by there is a model Jain Monk’s bed where one could lie down to experience the tranquility enjoyed by the renowned world renouncer and the healing power of the rock .   The peak of the Prayer Rock could be reached by climbing the narrow winding steps, where one could spend time with God just as Jesus did on Mount Tabor. The entire sacred grove is covered by a lot of trees, providing a serene atmosphere. 

Meditation Hall

The stony and meditative hills surrounding the PILLAR Campus are sacred.  They were home to hundreds of Jain monks since 300 BC.  Leading an austere and ascetic life, the monks lived in perfect harmony with the surrounding nature.   Defying caste discrimination, they served the common folk providing education and medicine.  With the rise of  Bhakti Movement, they became victims of brutal persecution culminating in their impalement, ‘Kazhuvaetram’.  Eight thousand monks living in the various hills of Madurai were mercilessly killed.  Jainism, thus, disappeared from Nagamalai.  Today we have only some remnants of their once superior culture and spiritual past such as cave dwellings, stone beds, images, springs, footprints, Tamil Brahmi and Vatteluthu inscriptions.  This meditation hall, set in this backdrop, vibrates their spiritual legacy.

The single stone placed in the middle of the Meditation Hall in the erect position symbolizes God, who is powerful and eternally loving; a rock of refuge and strength for all who seek Him.  The spring splashing through the rock stands for the life-giving eternal spring (God) found in the depth of every human being, which is accessible in silence and meditation.

This sacred hall, designed by Y R Ramnath provides an atmosphere of peace and serenity required to find God in oneself.  Those touched by God are bound to change.  They become lovers of humanity.  Believers of all faiths and people of goodwill are welcome to experience the life-giving love and joy of God in this sacred space.

Reinisch Walk

Pillar Campus now boasts of a memorial dedicated to our confrere Fr. Franz Reinisch SAC. For his unrelenting opposition to the Nazi ideology, he was beheaded on 21 August 1942 in Zuchthasus Brandenburg by Hitler. A stretch of 1.2 kms of pathway in the green pillar campus is named after this heroic martyr – Reinisch walk.

Ernst Leuninger Library

Established in the Year 2002 this fledging library is stacked with more than 7,500 well selected books, and 943 bound volumes of serious journals. Further, the Library actively subscribes to 54 reputed journals and  magazines, and eight dailies. The Documentation Center in the library has presently more than one hundred thousand news clippings and scholarly articles on social themes. The Library is named after late Prof. Dr. Ernst Leuninger, a disciplined and exemplary German Scholar, who was the Doktorvater (doctoral guide) of Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Savariaradimai who is also the Founder of PILLAR Center as well as this Library.

Elisabeth Sanna Women Empowerment Center

Established in 2004 this center has been aiming at the economic self sufficiency and empowerment of women living in poverty and dehumanizing social situations. Initially it focused on women working in the granite quarries.  Teaching them tailoring and providing each one with a sewing machine free of cost at the end of the course the center liberated  numerous women from the granite quarries and made them financially self sufficient. The center continues to offer two tailoring courses – each consisting of six months – for sixty women.  Besides tailoring,  they are  taught also to make dolls, papad, pickle and jam.  They are also given awareness programs related to women, family and social life. The centre has been functioning from its inception within the Pallotti School Campus. As the Government did not permit such activities within school campuses, we were forced to build a new centre. For the last 4 years the centre remained closed and a new building was under construction. The newly constructed Elisabeth Sanna Women Empowerment Centre at Thani Nayagam Adigal Street, Pillar Salai, Madurai, about 300 meters from the Pillar Campus, was blessed and inaugurated by Rev.Fr. Andy Givel, the Provincial Rector of the Swiss Pallottine Province on 13 March 2023. Many former students who learned vocational courses like tailoring, embroidery, etc., were present. Some of them shared their experiences. They were testifying that the skills which they learned from the Centre helped them to lead a dignified life. They are today able to stand independent and support financially their families. Particularly they are in a position to educate their children. 

Goat Scheme

A young goat is gifted to a low-income family for them to rear and raise income from it.  While choosing families or individuals for this purpose, preference is given to families with female children, widows, and women infected with HIV.  One of the preconditions in the gifting of goat is that the family or individual who has received a goat would give one of the offsprings to another low-income family.  Helped by this scheme, many families have not turned to money lenders in their time of need.  They get a regular source of milk for their family and also use the income from goats to educate their children. 

Children’s Education Scheme

Many laborers and daily wage earners are unable to afford the cost of their children’s higher education.  However, they desire to see them educated in universities and technical institutions. We assist the deserving candidates providing scholarship.  Numerous boys and girls have benefitted from this scheme. They are now employed in good positions.