The Congregation of the Mother of Carmel (CMC), the first indigenous Religious Congregation for Women in the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Church was founded as the Third Order of Carmelites Discalced (TOCD), on 13 February 1866 at Koonammavu, in the Vicariate of Verapoly Kerala, by Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara the then Vicar General of Syrian Church of Kerala. Rev. Fr. Leopold Beccaro OCD, an Italian Carmelite missionary is its co-founder, who was the Provincial Delegate of the time in Kerala.
Starting at Koonammavu
St Kuriakose Elias Chavara was much aggrieved at the absence of a religious Congregation for women in the Apostolic Church of St Thomas. He longed for a house of sanctity where the girls of this land could learn spiritual matters and grow up as good Christians. Father Leopold Beccaro was a man of deep prayer and filled with zeal for apostolic activities. He loved the Kerala Church in all sincerity and sought the Lord’s ways for its growth. Divine Providence brought these two holy men together at Koonammavu and their combined effort paved the way for the foundation of this Congregation. The first members were Elishwa Vakayil a widow, her daughter Anna, Thresia Vyppissery, the younger sister of Elishwa and Elishwa Puthenangady (Clara), a widow. Gradually many young women belonging to both Syrian and Latin rites embraced this religious life and they grew in number.
Pope Leo XIII on 20 May 1887, through the Decree Quodiam Pridem, separated the Syrians from the Latin Jurisdiction and established two Vicariates namely Thrissur and Kottayam for them. This event became an important land mark in the history of the Congregation. In the convent at Koonammmavu, there were sisters belonging to three Vicariates, namely Verapoly, Thrissur and Kottayam. According to the Order of Bishop Charles Lavingue, the Vicar Apostolic of Kottayam, the sisters who belonged to the said Vicariate commenced their journey on July 25, 1888 to Mutholy to start a convent there.
On 18 April 1890, as the resolution to the dispute over the jurisdiction of the Koonammavu convent between the Vicars Apostolic of Verapoly and Thrissur, the Holy See declared that the convent shall be under the Vicariate of Trissur. So, seven members including a boarder of the Koonamavu convent belonging to the Latin Rite shifted to Verapoly on 17 September 1890, and there they became an independent community under the Latin Jurisdiction.
CMC Under Different Syrian Vicariates
On July 28, 1896 by the decree Quae Reisacre, Pope Leo XIII, established three Apostolic Vicariates, instead of the existing two Vicariates, via, Thrissur, Ernakulam and Changanacherry under the jurisdiction of three indigenous Apostolic Vicars. Consequently, the convent at Koonammavu came under the Vicariate of Ernakulam. As a result, the Vicariate of Thrissur was left without a convent. In order to resolve this situation, the Vicar Apostolic of Thrissur established a convent at Ambazhakad on May 9, 1897, bringing the inmates belonged to his own Vicariate from Koonammavu convent.
On July 25, 1950, when the Vicariate of Changanacherry was bifurcated and the diocese of Pala was formed, an independent unit of the Congregation was established in the new diocese in 1952. Thus together with the Syrian Church, the Congregation gradually grew, spread out as four independent units with same charism, under four Mother Generals (Ernakulam, Changanacherry, Thrissur and Pala) in the territory of six dioceses in Kerala (Ernakulam, Changanacherry, Thrissur, Pala, Kothamangalam and Tellicherry) and two dioceses outside Kerala, namely Jalandhar and Chanda.
Unification of Independent Diocesan Units
In the year 1962 decisive steps were taken to unify the Congregation that functioned till then as independent diocesan units. In 21 May 1963, Rev. Fr. Hippolitus Kunnumkal OFM Cap. was appointed as the Papal Delegate to give leadership in this venture. As a result of his tireless effort the independent units were unified on 16 November 1963 under one Mother General (Mother Mary Celine) and the diocesan units were declared as Provinces. Thereafter, the Constitutions for the unified Congregation was prepared and was sent to Rome for approval. On 2 March 1967 through the Decree Prot.No. 504/57 of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, the Congregation was raised to the Pontifical Status, under the name ‘Congregation of the Mother of Carmel’ (CMC) and the Constitutions of the unified CMC was approved with the instruction to revise the same in the spirit of Vatican Council II and in the light of Perfectae Caritatis and Ecclesiae Sanctae. The renewed text of the Constitutions and the Statutes of the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel of the Syro Malabar Rite as per above instruction was approved on experimental basis on 30 October 1975 through the Decree Prot.No. 136/75. Taking into consideration the needs and signs of the time, the said Constitutions is revised again and it is definitely approved by the Oriental Congregation on Feb.22, 2014 by Prot.No.133/2012.
Raised to the Pontifical Status and led by the same Superior General in the spirit of the approved Constitutions, CMC began to acquire a global vision widening her fields of activities. Today CMC is rendering her apostolic services in Continents of Asia, Africa, North & South America and Europe. Her presence in different countries of Africa, Iraq and Peru gives more colour to her selfless services. Today CMC has twenty five Provinces and four Regions including the African Region and 6250 sisters from Asia, Africa and America.
Thus endowed with God’s choicest blessings and providential care, CMC has a glorious history to be recorded and grate fully remembered.
Inauguration of the Golden Jubilee of Carmel Jyothi Vidya Bhavan, Aluva
A New venture in the mission of CMC – Starting of Iraq Mission
National Seminar for Women in connection with CJV Golden Jubilee.
Inauguration of the 150th Death Anniversary of St. Chavara
Golden Jubilee Celebration of Carmel Jyothi Vidya Bhavan.
New Shoot for CMC from America – Vestition and 1st Profession of Novice Diana Love
The Remains of the Servant of God Mother Euphrasia transferred from outside the Chapel to St. Mary’s Convent Chapel, Ollur.
Demise of Mother Prima-Superior General (1986- 1991).
Demise of Mother Mary Celine the First Superior General (November 1963 – April 1974).
Silver Jubilee of Carmel JyothiVidyabhavan, Generalate, Aluva.
Blessing of Villa Carmel Convent Rome.
Erection of Sacred Heart Province, Mananthavady.
Demise of Mother Stella Maria – Superior General(1980 – 1986).
Erection of ChristuJyothiProvince,Mancherial
Erection of St. Mary’s Province Thamarassery.
Erection of Carmelodya Province, Wardha.
Erection of Carmel Matha Province, Hazaribagh.
Carmel JyothiVidyabhavan is affiliated to the Teresianum Pontifical Faculty, Rome.
Erection of Mount Carmel Province, Bhopal.
Constitution is revised in the light of CCEO and approved by the Holy See.
Erection of Sanjoe Province, Imphal.
Erection of NirmalJyothi Province, Bina.
Erection of the Jagathmatha Region, Jagadalpur.
Inauguration of NirmalJyothi Province, Bina.
Starting of the Semi-Cloistered Contemplative Prayer Wing at Sanjoe, Karukutty.
Blessing of the Spirituality centre in the Generalate, Aluva.
Started the formation house for African Candidates in Katubuka,Tanzania.
Mother Euphrasia is declared”Venerable” by Pope John Paul II.
50th Death Anniversary of Venerable Euphrasia.
Blessing of the Carmel Novitiate House in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, Africa.
125thAnniversary of Ven. Euphrasia’s Birth.
Erection of Carmelgiri Province, Idukki.
Mother Silvia Pala – Superior General (1974-1980)
Established VimalJyoti Region Rajkot, Gujarat.
First Profession and Vestition of the First batch of African novices in Katubuka.
Mother Euphrasia is declared Blessed by Pope Benedict XVI
Inauguration of ChavaraRegion ,in Africa.
Inauguration of Kurnool Region.
Dimise of Mother Benicasia – Superior General (1991-1997)
Established EuphrasiaVidhyaBhavan Juniorate house in Wardha.
Silver Jubilee celebration of ChavaraSadan, Bhopal.
Opening of the Death Centenary Celebration of Rev. Fr. Leopold OCD, the co-founder.
Death Centenary of the Servant of God Mother Eliswa, the first member of our Congregation.
Jnanodaya Juniorate House Silver Jubilee Celebration.
Golden Jubilee of CMC Unification.
Canonization of Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara (Founder)and Saint Euphrasia at Rome by Pope Francis
Inauguration of the Sesquicentennial Jubilee of the beginning of CMC (150th Year)
Celebration of the Sesquicentennial Jubilee at Koonammavu with final profession of 150 sisters.
Inauguration of Jaipur Region
150th Jubilee Inauguration of the Testament of a Loving Father (Chavurul)
A new launch in the Media Mission of CMC with the blessing of the Studio in Generalate
Golden Jubilee Celebration of Generalate
150th Jubilee Celebration of the Testament of a Loving Father.
Tertianship – A New step to renew initial formation – began
Official commencement of the cause of Canonization of Mother Mary Celine.
Silver Jubilee of Villa Carmel, Rome
Foundation of the first house of Women TOCD at Koonammavu - St. Teresa's Convent.
Vestition of the first members of WomenTOCD.
Inauguration of the Boarding House(Edukkumthaath), attached to the Convent.
Religious Profession of the first four members.
Demise of Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara.
Starting of the School attached to the Convent.
Provisional constitution given by Fr. Leopold OCD.
Departure of Fr. Leopold Beccaro the co-founder to Italy.
Starting of the Orphanage attached to the Convent.
Promulgation of the decree(Quod jam pridem) by which the Trichur and Kottayam Vicariates were formed.
Founding the first branch convent at Mutholy, Pala.
Bifurcation of the Congregation(Women TOCD) on the basis of rites(Later known as CMC &CTC).
Re-organization of the Syrian Diocese-Trichur, Ernakulam and Changanacerry.
Demise of Fr. Leopold in Genova, Italy.
Bifurcation of the Women TOCD Changanacherry into Changanassery and Pala Provinces.
Demise of SaintEuphrasia.
Pala Province Starts mission at Thalassery Diocese.
Establishment of Kothamangalam Diocese.
ErnakulamVimala Province started the first mission house at Jalandhar in Punjab.
Establishment ofPavanathma Province, Kothamangalam.
Thrissur Province started the first mission house at Sirpur, Kagaznagar in Chanda -the first Syro- Malabar mission Diocese.
Rev. Fr. Hippolitus is appointed as the papal delegate by the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, for the cause of CMC Unification.
Unification of the Diocesan units of Women TOCD & the election of the first Superior General.
Beginning of "Carmelaram" Publication.
Establishment of Mount Carmel Generalate House in Aluva.
Centenary Celebration of the Congregation.
Pontifical status to the Congregation with the new name "The Congregation of the Mother of Carmel (C.M.C.) and the provisional approval of the first Constitution.
ThalasseryRegion started the first mission house at NR Pura in Karnataka.
The Blessing of C.M.C. Generalate-cum-Juniorate building by His Eminence Maximilian Cardinal Furstenburg.
The First General Chapter of C.M.C.
The inauguration of Juniorate in the Generalate House, Aluva.
The Revised Constitution of CMC promulgated for experimentation.
Blessing of “Sanjoe” prayer house in Karukutty.
Blessing of the first formation house for the mission novices at Pachmarhi in Bhopal Archdiocese.
Erection of Udaya Province, Irinjalakuda.
Erection of St. Joseph’s Province Thalassery.
Erection of Jai Christo Province Palakkad.
Erection of Amala Province, Kanjirappally.
Final Approval of the Revised constitution.
The visit of Holy Father Pope John Paul II in Kerala.
Beatification of Bl. Chavara and Bl. Alphonsa.
Erection of Pushparam Province Ghaziabad.
Inauguration –ChavaraSadan– Formation – cum – Missionary Orientation Centre at Bhopal.
Mother Euphrasia is declared as Servant of God.
Erection of Mary Matha Province, Angamaly.
Release of the Saint Chavara Stamp in Trivandrum by the Hon.IndianPresident Sri.R. Venkitaraman.
Silver Jubilee Celebration of CMC Unification.
Centenary celebration of Mutholy Convent, the first CMC branch house.
Inauguration -Jnanodaya– Mission Juniorate House in Bangalore.
Silver Jubilee of CMC Generalate House, Aluva.