Be Holy and Lead Others to Holiness
CONGREGATION OF THE MOTHER OF CARMEL(CMC)
CMC, the first indigenous religious congregation for women in the Syro Malabar Church, was founded as the Third Order of Carmelites Discalced on February 13th 1866 at Koonammavu, Kerala by Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara (1805-1871). Rev. Fr. Leopold Beccaro OCD is its co-founder. Rooted in the Indian Culture, nourished by the heritage of St. Thomas Christians, CMC took its form as an offshoot of the Carmelite family.
On 20th May 1887 by the decree Quod iam pridem of Pope Leo XIII, Syro Malabar Christians were separated from the Latin jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Verapoly and established Syro Malabar dioceses of Trichur and Kottayam. This was a turning point in the life of the then infant Congregation. Both Latin and Syrian bishops claimed the jurisdiction of the convent at Koonammavu and on 18th April 1890 verdict reached from the Holy See entrusting the convent under the vicariate of Trichur. As a result, on 17th September 1890, there occurred a bifurcation and Latin sisters went to the vicariate of Verapoly and later came to be known as Congregation of Theresian Carmelites (CTC). With the reorganization of the dioceses of Trichur, Ernakulam and Changanacherry in 1896, the Syrian section got divided into independent units, each of which was directed and patronized by the Local Ordinary of the respective diocese. The further bifurcation of Ernakulam and Changanacherry into Kothamangalam and Pala paved the way of forming new units of the Congregation. All the five units were growing independently under the patronage of Local Ordinaries guided by its own Mother General.
The great event of the Unification of the above independent segments of the Congregation under one Mother General took place on 16th November 1963 under the guidance of Papal delegate late Msgr. Hippolytus OFM Cap., who later became the first bishop of Jammu-Kashmir. The Congregation was raised to the Pontifical status by the Sacred Congregation for Oriental Churches on 2nd March 1967 under the new name, Congregation of the Mother of Carmel (CMC). Thus after a century of independent growth, the Congregation started her united full-fledged onward march into new avenues of love and service. Today CMC renders her faithful service in four continents like Asia, Africa, America and Europe with much dedication. Her beauty is doubled due to the presence of indigenous vocations from different states of India and also from Africa. Today she is blessed with 6410 nuns and nearly 500 formees in different stages in 21 provinces, 2 Vice Provinces and 5 regions including Chavara Region Africa. Thus the Abode of Virtue for the girls of Malabar, started at Koonammavu, has reached the ends of the earth with the Good News of Salvation beyond the limits of time,culture and place. By this the Kerala women who were for the life confined to the kitchen at home, were brought to the limelight for the service of womenfolk.
Our founder St. Chavara Kuriakose Elias envisioned the spiritual resurrection of the people of God through the initiation of our congregation. The prime duty and goal of the establishment of our congregation was to enable the people of God to understand the meaning of the gift of faith and also help and support them to worship God in spirit and truth and lead them to infinite bliss of mystery of the salvation of Christ.On 8th February 1986 Blessed Pope John Paul II beatified our founder Father Chavara Kuriakose Elias; and one of the members of our congregation Mother Euphrasia was raised to the status of Blessed by Pope Benedict XVI on 3rd December 2006. On November 23rd 2014, Our Founder Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sr. Euphrasia Elavuthunkal is canonized by Pope Francis. The Congrigation celebrated its 150th Jubilee in the Year 2015-16(1866-2016).