Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara
St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara is a native of India, born at Kainakary in Kerala on 10th February 1805 of an indigenous family. He had his formation in the religious Institute of the place, was ordained Priest on 29th November 1829 and became a religious on 8th December 1855 worked among and for the people of his country. He was engaged in apostolic activities all along his native land and his days full of merit came to a close at Koonammavu on 3rd Jan. 1871, lamented an admired by all.
Fr. Chavara was a true apostle of the renovation of the Christian life of Malabar. He was the initiator of the organized works of charity in Kerala. He started the first Catholic Printing Press in Kerala, founded schools not only for the Catholics but also for those belonging to other religious and esp. for those belonging to the lower castes. He was a true apostle of the sanctity of family life. He worked unceasingly for the spiritual renewal of the family, formulating norms and rules for leading an upright life. He was the reformer and organizer of the Syro malabar liturgy.
He was a man of Prayer in whom contemplation and action was blended so beautifully well. He founded the first indigenous religious congregation for men at Mannanam. He 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. His long cherished desire and the results of his several attempts, in 1866 on Feb 13, with the co - operation of Fr. Leopold Beccaro, Carmelite missionary, the first Carmelite convent of the sisters was inaugurated at Koonamavu, under the name "Third order of the Discalced Carmelites''. The motive of starting such an institute of religious life was not only for the self sanctification but also to help others in both spiritual and material matters. The congregation which began with 4 candidates is grow with 6300 members work in different part of the country and abroad. 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. We do involve today in education, Pastoral social work, and healing ministry.
Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara (CMC Founder )
|1805 Feb . 10||Birth at Kainakary|
|1829 Nov. 29||Ordination at Arthunkal|
|1831 May 11||Establishment of first Indigenous Religious Congregation for Men at Mannanam with Fr. Thomas Palackel and Fr. Thomas Porukara.|
|1855 Dec. 8||Canonical erection of the CMI Congregation and Religious Profession of Fr. Chavara and others|
|1861||Raised as the Vicar General of Syrian Catholics by Bp. Bernardine Baccinelli|
|1866 Feb. 13||Establishment of First Religious Congregation for the women(CMC) at Koonammavu with the help of Fr.Leopold Beccarro OCD|
|1871 Jan . 03||Death at St. Philominas Monastery, Koonammavu|
|1984 April 07||Declared as Venerable by Pope John Paul II|
|1986 Feb. 08||Declared as Blessed by Pope John Paul II|
|Jan.03||Feast of Bl. Kuriakose Elias Chavara|
|Nov. 23||Canonization of Kuriakose Elias Chavara by Pope Francis.|
REV. FR. LEOPOLD BECCARO OCD:
THE CO-FOUNDER OF CMC
An Italian Carmelite missionary, Leopold Beccaro, the eldest of 8 children was born in a good Christian and aristocratic family on 28th August, 1837 in the village of Grignardo of the diocese of Acqui in Italy, about 80 kms away from the city of Genova.Antony Beccaro and Teresa Bono were his parents. He had six brothers and one sister Maria Caterina. Jacob (Baptismal Name) was very intelligent and after his schooling, entered the Carmelite order and took the name Leopold Maria of St. Joseph. He came to Kerala in 1859 as one among the 5 missionaries who were sent to Malabar at the request of Msgr. Carlo Giacinto, the vicar apostolic of Quilon, during his visit to Rome.
Leopold was sent to the monastery at Koonammavu which was one of the important training centres for the tertiaries. He learned Malayalam within a short time which made his ministry and communication efficient and easy. This also enabled him to understand the desires and culture of his candidates and the people of Malabar. Unlike other missionaries, he loved in a special way the people of Malabar and so worked differently from other missionaries for them. The people of Malabar, especially St. Thomas Christians had great love for Fr. Leopold. In 1863, understanding the ability and spirituality of Fr. Leopold, Msgr. Baccinelli appointed him as his delegate over all the monasteries of Tertiaries. He was a true missionary with full zeal for the Lord and his work. He taught Latin, and transferred the God-experience he had, to the people with whom he lived.
Fr Leopold Beccaro was a man of deep prayer and zealous action. Imbued with the zeal to work for the salvation of souls and to help them practice virtues, to tend his flock and to give them spiritual direction, he studied Malayalam language and wrote spiritual books. He found joy and consolation in the Blessed Sacrament and remained content even in the midst of suffering, surrendering himself to the will of God. Seeing his deep spirituality and prayer, Fr Kuriakose Elias Chavara, took him as his confessor and spiritual father. The spiritual bond that developed between Blessed Chavara and Fr Leopold and the discussions they had regarding the desire of the widow Eliswa Vaippissery and her daughter Anna Vakayil, helped Blessed Chavara to realize his dream of starting a convent. They also exchanged their views concerning the apostolic services the sisters of Malabar (Kerala) could render. Thus, hoping that .besides looking after their own spiritual needs, they could teach girls catechism along with other virtues and train them in some handicrafts including needle work. Fr Leopold co-operated with the establishment of the convent and took tireless efforts to direct his spiritual daughters in the way of perfection taught by St. Teresa of Avila. He who nourished with his life blood the growing seed of Carmel in Kerala has greatly contributed for the formation of the Carmelite spirituality of CMC.
The first community at Koonammavu enjoyed a fatherly/ motherly love from Fr. Leopold. The paternal care and motherly guidance flowed from him motivated the sisters to take bold initiatives at various circumstances in their religious life. The first pages of their chronicle give us a number of stories about how he kept them close to his heart and instructed them the first lessons in the apostolate, through which the term Bhakti Karma Yoga evolved. He also had a good spiritual contribution in Malabar through his valuable writings most of which were aimed at practical spiritual life. Due to certain disagreement with Msgr. Mellano, the Vicar Apostolic of Verapoly, Fr. Leopold had to go back to Italy in 1876.
His contribution to the spiritual growth of Malabar is praiseworthy. Though Fr. Leopold lived only 16 years in Malabar, he was well accepted and ever remembered by the clergy and people of Kerala. Therefore, they tried to bring him back to Malabar on various occasions. Eventhough Fr. Leopold left Malabar, he always cherished in his heart the dream of returning to Malabar . Unfortunately, it never happened.
THE FIRST CMC SAINT
SAINT EUPHRASIA ELUVATHINGAL
Mother Euphrasia was born on 17th October 1877 in Kattur village in Edathuruthy which is in the present Irinjalakuda Diocese and was baptized on 25th October 1877 in the Mother of Carmel Church in Edathuruthy and was named Rose (Rosa). The parents of Mother Euphrasia were Eluvathingal Cherpukaran Antony and Kunjethy. Her family was very rich. They owned acres of land and coconut plantations.
Her pious mother taught her to pray the rosary and to participate in the Holy Mass. She had a vision of Mother Mary at the age of nine and she offered her virginity to God eternally. Her father was opposed to her entering the Convent, as he wanted to marry her off. After two years of penance, abstinence, fasting and prayer, Rose got permission to go to the Carmelite Convent in Koonmmavu on 3rd July 1888. In the Convent, she was miraculously healed of her serious sickness by the appearance of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
Mother Euphrasia was immersed in prayer, in contemplation or praying the Rosary most of her life. So people began to call her. "The Praying Mother". She was most devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. When she was Superior of the Convent, she put up the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the wall and entrusted the administration of the Convent to Jesus. She had a great longing to be with the Eucharistic Lord and participate in the Holy Mass and adore the Blessed Sacrament.
She desired to reduce the sufferings of the Crucified Lord and console him by her love, penance, and suffering. Mother Euphrasia had a filial relationship with Mother Mary. Her love of God was manifested in loving service to her fellowmen with the gifts of the Holy Spirit through prayer, intercession, healing, prophecy, etc. Any service done for her was acknowledged with a sweet smile and the words, "Won't forget even after death". She never accused or criticized others.
She was sickly and was suffering from many diseases, but she never complained. She had many heavenly visions; also tortures from evil spirits. Her Spiritual Director was Bishop John Menachery of Trichur Diocese, who commanded her to write all about her spiritual life to him. Although Mother Euphrasia requested him continuously to destroy all her letters, without her knowledge the far-sighted discerning Bishop kept the letters and through these we have come to know of her deep union with God.
In 1963, Mar George Alappatt, Bishop of Trichur, printed and published the prayer for her Canonization. In 1970, the first biography was written by Fr. Philip, O.C.D, Kerala Carmala Kusumam in Malayalam. The petitions of those who prayed the Canonization Prayer were granted. She was canonized on November 23, 2014 by Pope Francis.
'My joy is to live a hidden life unknown to all'- Mother Euphrasia.
Blessed Euphrasia Eluvathingal CMC
|1877 Oct . 17||Birth at Kattoor, Irinjalakkuda|
|1877 Oct. 25||Baptism at Edathuruthy, Mother Carmel Church by Fr. Mathew Ookken|
|1889 Dec. 17||Vision of the Holy Family, a Divine intervention at Koonammavu boarding|
|1897 May 10||Become a Postulant|
|1898 Jan. 10||Vestition|
|1900 May 24||Bleesing of St.Marys convent Ollur, Profession of religious vows|
|1904 April 29||Assistant Superior at Ollur,Thrissur|
|1910||Officialy elected as Novice Mistress at Ollur,|
|1913 April 29||Superior at St.Marys convent, Ollur|
|1950 May 24||Golden Jubilee of Religious Profession|
|1952 Aug. 29||Death at St.Marys convent, Ollur|
|1987 Aug. 29||Declared as Servant of God by Pope John Paul II|
|2002 July 5||Declared as Venerable by Pope John Paul II|
|2006 Dec. 3||Declared as Blessed by Benedict XVI|
|Aug.29||Feast of Bl.Euphrasia|