Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara, the Founder of the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel (CMC), is a saint of great legacy from Kainakary, a Kuttanadan village of Kerala. His spirituality was a rare combination of immense social and spiritual commitment. Contributing a paradigm shift to the rigid thoughts of the caste system, he brought about transformation in the retarded Kerala society through his philosophy of all-inclusiveness. The early 19th century was marked with its dull social, cultural and educational backgrounds, which in turn inspired Chavara to envisage for an enlightened community. His contributions are vital in actualizing education for all caste and genders, especially through his command of having a “Pallikkoodam” attached with every Church including all strata of the society.
He established the CMC congregation in 1866, in the spirit of Carmel, to take care of the spiritual and social upliftment of women and children. From its very conception we, the CMC sisters are following his footsteps in the field of Education. In our founder's view, education illumines our hearts for better understanding and thus catalyzing the integral development of a person. He promotes each one of us to come out with our best version so that we can add to the glory of God – the Abba Father - through our thoughts, words and deeds. His mortal remains are visited by thousands solely because of his intercessional power before God. He was canonized on November 23, 2014, by His Holiness Pope Francis.
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An Italian Missionary Fr. Leopold Beccaro. O.C.D, the Apostolic Delegate of Kerala in the late 19th century, is the co-founder of CMC. Blending “Bhakti” and “Karma” in harmonious proportion, he installed a lifestyle of ‘action emerging from contemplation’ into the heart of CMC. Shoulder to shoulder with our founder St. Chavara, he initiated a new religious lifestyle for women in Kerala, by inspiring his spiritual daughters to be the first members of this congregation. Our apostolic activities were commenced by teaching spiritual matters to young girls and by giving them proficiency in handicrafts. Imbibing the zeal of our co-founder, the CMC sisters now have entered many other modern apostolic areas and activities.
Despite being an Italian origin, he learned Malayalam language and translated good Italian spiritual books to his mentees. As a man of deep prayer and zealous action, he always urged CMC sisters to attain excellence in their apostolic domains. Keeping our heart pure like jasmine, if we are shielding ourselves from the vices of the world, the Wisdom from above will encamp on us to extract the best out of each one. His fatherly love and concern were always etched in the hearts of many.
Canonized along with her Founder, Saint Euphrasia Eluvathingal is the first saint of CMC. She proved that living CMC Charism is enough to realise Union with God. Her ways which were minted with humble prayers and determined determination always provided the driving force to her fellow sisters in apostolic activities. She redefined prayer as deep union with God and spent long hours in front of the Holy Eucharist reciting rosaries. Her remains in St. Mary’s Convent chapel attracts pilgrims in large numbers as she says “ Marichalum Marakkillatto…”
Euphrasia is said to have had a vision of the Holy Family, at which point the illness she had long felt ceased. Euphrasia made her solemn profession on 24 May 1900, during the blessing of the newly founded St. Mary's Convent, Ollur or Chinna Roma. After she took her perpetual vows, she was appointed assistant to the Novice Mistress. Though frail in health, in 1904 Euphrasia was appointed Novice Mistress of the congregation. She held this position for nine years until 1913, when she was made Mother Superior of the convent, where she was to live the rest of her life, serving as Mother Superior until 1916.
In her efforts to live evangelical virtues like Jesus, Mother Mary Celine, our first Superior General, is a unifying factor in the history of CMC. She gathered her daughters under the main roof of CMC, who were once scattered in different Vicariates. Her deep interior life which reflected in her words and deeds led her through the paths of heroic sanctity. She was declared as Servant of God by Maran Mar George Cardinal Alencherry, Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church on 9 April 2018.
Her intense deep prayer life, the spirit of sacrifice and foresight enabled Mother Mary Celine to overcome the difficulties and struggles of unification and the beginning of the Central House Generalate at Thaikattukara, Aluva. She could start the juniorate there with the help of the seminary professors at Mangalappuzha. During her 11-year term as Superior General, she was able to bring about a spirit of prayer and unity among the members. In 1974 she retired and entered into deep prayer life at Sanjoe Bhavan, Karukutty. She died on April 23, 1993.
The glorious saga of St. Mary’s College, Thrissur has been marked with the caliber of her eminent shapers. The academic excellence, the noble culture replete with Christian values and principles, the valuable traditions followed through years and the unity of Marian Fraternity was expertly instilled into vibes of our Alma Mater by our Former Principals. We salute their epic contributions with loads of gratitude…