Königin der Apostel



History of the Congregation


The Congregation of the Missionary  Sisters of the „Apostles “(Societas Missionalis Sororum Reginae Apolostolorum, SRA) is a Roman-catholic missionary Society which was canonically established in Vienna, on 1st  July 1923.

From 1872-1876 the German Jesuit priest, Antonius Maria Bodewig worked in India as a missionary. Seeing the sad situations of the women, children above all the widows, he wanted to found a missionary Congregation for their liberation. He took keen interest in it and took many initiatives for the same. His approach was several decades ahead of his time and he had to face severe oppositions and did not get the permission from his local Ordinary to actualize his dreams.

Already in 1905 Fr. Bodewig sent a group of brothers to Vienna, with a prophetic word ‘Your future is in Vienna’. Paul Sonntag a former member of Fr. Bodewig’s association came to Vienna in 1906 and zealously promoted the work of Fr. Bodewig’s vision by publishing his writings and new information about India. In 1909 he published the mission magazine ‘light and love’ in view of promoting interest for the Indian mission. Dr. Theodor Innitzer, one of the Professors of the Vienna University supported Paul Sonntag’s undertaking. With his assistance Paul Sonntag could establish the new missionary association under the title ‘Catholic Mission Work for India’. In 1923 Cardinal Friedrich Gustav Piffl approved the establishment of the new Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the ‘Queen of the Apostles’. Theodor Innitzer was appointed as the first Superior General of the male branch. For practical and administrational purpose in 1925, the male branch was separated from the female branch. On 8th January 1927, the first heralds of the young missionary Congregation embarked from Naples to India. They reached Bombay on 24th January. Until 1949 the Congregation remained under the diocesan jurisdiction. On 7th  April 1949, Pope Pius XII elevated this to the status of a Congregation of Pontifical right.

In 1928 the present motherhouse of the female branch was established in Vienna. During the World War II, those in India could not have any contact with those in Europe. Hence in 1940 the 12 sisters, who were in India began to recruit new members from India. Since 1965 Indian sisters are active in Europe. On 27 September 2000 the first Indian sister, Sr. M. Callista Panachickel was elected to the office of Superior General of the Congregation.

Beside Austria there are 106 convents in India, 4 in Germany and 1 in Italy. 1983 we extended our mission work to the Philippines. Now there are five convents. Since 1992 we are also present in Eastern Europe, Slovakia. Today there are 840 sisters working in different parts of the World.

In the overseas the Congregation cares for the social welfare of the people through schools, adult literacy programme hospital and health centres.  In Europe the sisters render their services to the sick; they also teach in kindergartens and function as pastoral assistants.


  • Light and love. Mission publishing house Vienna. (Magazine from 1909 to 1939 appeared.)

  • Callista Panachickel: The fruit of the Weizenkorns. Failure and Wiedergeburt of the vision of the mission pioneer Antonius Maria Bodewig. Mission sisters “queen of the Apostel”, Vienna 2004

  • Antonia Ungermann: Queen of the Apostles In: Encyclopedia for theology and church. 2. Edition. Herder, Freiburg ith B. 1961 (6. Volume)