It can be described as a community totally committed to the vision of 'the Kithu Dana Pubuduwa movement of contemplation and Apostolic activity'. It is a community that sprang up from among the people of Sri Lanka inaugurated to work based on the charisma of the Kithu Dana Pubuduwa. It's membership lives according to the Pubuduwa Spirituality. It also lives in faithfulness to the special Charisma of the Subandhi community which is a life at the Foot of the Cross. It involves a vocation to living in poverty, obedience and chastity (also described as blessed virginity, the state of being alpeichcha, and submission) and thus living a life totally committed to the kingdom of God.
It is a lay community living in conformity to a life of committed virginity which is found in the structure of the Catholic Church. It can be termed "A Secular Institue of Consecrated life". It is composed of brothers and sisters. They are committed to live a life in total conformity to the Pubuduwa Spirituality and thus bearing witness to it. It is a life of praise and worship. A life of prayer and a life of commitment. A life dedicated to love nature and the environment.
The beginning of the Subandhi Sangaya happened in the following way. Before the Kithu Dana Pubuduwa began its founder priest served as the chaplain of the Catholic Youth Movement. There was a group of dedicated youth in that movement who opted to serve as 'full-timers'. From among them a group were called to join a lay apostolate in the Catholic Church in the latter part of the sixties.
In 1975 due to the encouragement of the Founder Priest a small group of 10 female youth began to engage in apostolic activity while living a simple life in a small house at Mabima.
Sister Maria Goretti the first member of the Subandhi Sangaya was also one of this group. She was blessed with a life converting experience in December 1976 during the Kithu dana Pubuduwa prayer conference. She was blessed with a vision of Jesus shining brightly. With this vision Maria Goretti decided to totally renounce her former life and dedicate her whole life to Jesus Christ. Sharing her experience with the Founder Priest she expressed her desire to commit her life full time for the Lord. As a result on the 17th July 1978 the first “House for the fully committed” was inaugurated in a house in Mattakkuliya Colombo 15 with a group of 06 Female youth under her leadership.
On the 27th July 1980 four out of the above six girls made a commitment to Jesus Christ Whom they acknowledged as their eternal Bridegroom. They made a promise to engage in an apostolate for the growth of God's kingdom while being at the foot of the cross and remaining unmarried. They gave their initial promises and enterd into a covenant before the National and other leadership of the Pubuduwa. Maria Goretti took the leadership of this group.
At the Pubuduwa Family Rally held on the 20th November 1983 two male youth joined by making their promise to be part of this group and the community thus created of both male and female was named the Subandhi Sangaya.
The name Subandhi
We can define the word Subandhi as being made up of two parts. The first part being 'Su' and the second being 'Bandhi'. It means fully bound, 'not confined '. 'Agape' on the other hand means fully bound. The full meaning of 'Subandhi ' is "being bound to God Who is the Truth, the Source of eternal love and united to all beings , the whole of Creation and to man the highest of all beings."
Jesus Christ our 'jewel' is the source of the Subandhi Life and the first to be Subandhi. The Charisma of the Subandhi is the “life at the foot of the cross.” The Subandhi experience is that which our Lord shared with those at the foot of His cross: The Blessed Mother, the Apostle St. John and the few devout women. (John 19: 25 – 27). The Cross upon which He sacrificed Himself, is the symbol of - suffering – failure – loneliness – separation and death, and also the symbol of total liberation.
The symbol of the Subandhi depicts all the features of being Subandhi – symbols depicting a 'doorway to a Church, a Cross, rays flowing outward from it, and a Crown is included in it. It also symbolizes the threefold baptismal vocations, the communitarian life flowing from centre of the Blessed Sacrament. The eight rays flowing outward from the cross depicts the prophetic vocation based on the Eight Beatitudes. The death experience following the putting into practice the prophetic calling is depicted by the Cross.