The centre was started on 4th  November, 1916 at the present premises, by a Belgian Priest Rev.Fr.Jean Michotte, with the funds received from generous benefactors to accommodate, feed and render medical care for the leprosy patients abandoned by the community.  To start with there were 5 patients and to take care of them there were two catechist sisters.


Government of India recognized this centre as Charitable Institution in 1917 and also sanctioned grant since 1922.

The centre had its first medical officer in 1929-30 and out-patient clinic was started around the same time.  Strength of the inmates steadily increased to 200 by 1933.

A Special Middle School was started for educating leprosy affected children and children of the leprosy affected patients. Recognition of the school by the  Government was obtained in 1948.

In 1958, under National Leprosy Eradication Programme, Leprosy Control work was started in 3 taluks of Thanjavur District.

In 1967, this centre underwent many changes.  ILEP ORGANISATIONS, through Emmaus-Swiss started  funding the centre.  Rev.Mother Anne and Dr.Zwicky converted this centre into a hospital with all basic facilities for the treatment of leprosy.  Strength of inmates rose to 650.

Reconstructive surgery, one of the important facilities needed for correcting deformities in the leprosy affected people, was started in 1968, initially with visiting surgeons and subsequently with its own surgeon Dr.D.D.Palande.

New blocks for wards were constructed in 1971-72 and the strength of inmates rose to 1000 by then.

The need for socio-economic rehabilitation for the leprosy affected and cured was felt and Social Welfare and Rehabilitation work was started in 1972.

Health Education Programmes were conducted in the surrounding villages which in due course achieved change of public mentality towards the disease and those affected by it.

In 1976 Diamond Jubilee was celebrated and to add more facilities to those who can afford, Emmaus Block with special wards and Diamond Jubilee Block were opened.  Rehabilitation Block and Isolation Wards were also constructed subsequently.

Many leprosy cured people were appointed as staff to fulfill the demands of the expanding institution.

This institution was among the first to introduce Multi-Drug Therapy for leprosy in 1982.

New Out-Patient department block was constructed in 1987.

SHLC celebrated its Platinum Jubilee in 1991.   Houses were constructed and given to 75 rehabilitated patients to  commemorate the jubilee.

Diocesan Centenary Block for housing Administration wing was added in 1999.