It is the Historical Moment to the Holy Race in CMC’s Dedicated Life .
Sr. Sancta CMC, Superior General.
The Church in India and the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel are radiant in glory and overwhelmed with Spiritual joy. Because the divine mercy has given us a golden opportunity to enter the Sesquicentennial Jubilee year of our congregation in the same grace filled year of the canonization of our Founder Father. Chavara and that of Mother Euphrasia, a member of the same congregation. This congregation was founded on 13th February 1866 at Koonammavu in the name of the ‘ Third Order of the Carmelites Discalced’(TOCD) by saint Chavara Kuriakose Elias CMI, who was the Vicar General of the Kerala Syrian Catholics. An Italian Carmelite Missionary, Rev. Father Leopold Beccaro OCD who was the Provincial Delegates of the Kerala Carmelites is the Co-founder. Vakayil Eliswa, a widow,her daughter Anna, Vyppicherry Thresia, sister of Eliswa, Puthanagady Eliswa (Clara)another widowwere the pioneer members of the congregation. As the fragrance of the virtuous life of the convent at Koonammavu spread around more young women were attracted to religious life and gradually their number increased by leaps and bounds.
On May 20th 1887 Holy Father Pope Leo the XIII th through his Encyclical letter Qwad Yam Preetham established the Vicariates of Trissur and Kottayam for the Syrian Catholics .It became a turning point in the history of this congregation. There were sisters who belonged to the tree Vicariates of Varapuzha, Trissur and Kottayam in the convent at Koonammavu. On18th April 1890 the holy Father gave order to transfer the convent of Koonammavu to the Vicariate of Trissur. In this situation, seven sisters of the Latin Rite went to Varappuzha on 17th September 1890. That independent branch is now known as the Theresiam Carmelites (CTC) and the Syrian section as the Congregationof the Mother of Carmel(CMC). The CMC that grew steadily under the patronage of the indigenous Bishops was brought under one Superior General on 16th November 1963and raised to the Pontifical status on March 2nd 1967. With this CMC has attained an international outlook and expanded her fields of dedicated service beyond the territory of India.
Father Chavara who had a dream of perfuming the path of the history of the heavenly horizon of the Kerala church with holiness entrusted the duty of the Christian formation of women and children to the sisters. Later on the land of Kerala witnessed the miracle of empowerment and self sufficiency of women through various handicrafts such as Tailoring, Embroidery , Lace work and Rosary making in addition to attaining formal education. The history of the CMC that began in a humble situation at Koonammavu and spread all over India and extended to other continents is one of great anointment of the divine Grace and mercy. It is in this moment of showers of Grace that the candle of the inauguration of the Sesquicentennial jubilee is being lighted. Moreover, it is conducted on the happy occasion of the ‘Thanksgiving Day’ which is going to be held under the auspices of the Arch diocese of Ollur tomorrow, in connection with the Canonization of our founder father Chavara and that of our saintly star mother Euphrasia .
Saint Chavara and Rev.Fr. Leopold Beccaro OCD joined their hearts and minds to start the boarding(Edukkumdath)attached to the convent with a view to giving Christian formation and protection to girls. As God planned eternally for His divine purpose, Rosa Elavuthinkal who joined the boarding at Koonammavu on 3rd July 1888 for studies became saint Euphrasia today! Her canonization proved that convents have become abodes of sanctity. She has become the author of her own soul by unveiling her world of interiority with sufficient clarity . Even in this new wave of Feminism her powerful spirit, peculiar style and unquestionable sincerity in her writings make her stand uniqe. Saint Euphrasia was the light of wisdom that was moulded and formed in the educational nursery of the CMC .
At this juncture, let us turn our attention to the apostolic services of the CMC that has gained a place in the history of the society and church of Kerala. The services which the CMC sisters do perform are the virtues of this land. Generations after generation had passed through her hands. Through her educational institutions many have received wisdom and spiritual light. There have been countless testimonies of healing touch on body and soul received through her hospitals ,Clinics and Palliative care units.
The CMC sisters are present actively in the fields of sharing the Word of God through centres of retreat and family counseling giving timely help and support to different groups of the people of God especially the hapless. She has been vigilant in several fields to make the living Jesus present In the modern world torn on account of dissention and selfishness .She , from the very beginning, has been making conscious efforts to stand with the poor and the marginalized. Several of our members have opted their life for the Service among the drug or liquor addicted, rehabilitation of the street children and the AIDs patients.
Besides, many sisters have committed their lives to bring back the differently challenged persons to the normal way of life. Many work hard to soothe the relations in the broken families, to wipe the tears of rejection and lowliness, to instill the spirit of courage amidst misfortune, to give hope for the future through frequent house visits, Prayer program as well as professional counseling. Besides, our sisters are actively involved in city evangelization program and parish animation through faith formation, pious associations and family fellowship gathering. Women empowerment, protection of the exploited and the suppressed, guidance to the youth and the children.
They also stand for the problems of the aboriginals, conduct social outreach program for the Dalit and the poor colonists. A number of sisters have opted for the Hill top families in the developing places. Protection of the non-substantial farmers by demanding justice from the Government , guidance in organic farming and vegitable gardening are some other areas of service taken up by our sisters.
The CMC sisters make their presence felt by showing the face of a ‘merciful mother’ of the Church of Christ in other fields of service such as raising our voice for the voiceless migrant labourers from other states that those who deserve may get some sort of help, knocking frequently at the door of the Government and private agencies to get justice done to the exploited, voluntary service to those who suffer from natural calamities as land slide ,earth quake, flood etc,.
The CMC has been preparing in a special way with renewed strength and social awareness to step in to the Sesqui-centenniel Jubilee year. For the happy memory of the service during the past 150 years and to perpetuate the memory of the Jubilee, 150 houses will be donated to the homeless families. Another 150 landless families will be given land free of cost. Marriage of !50 young women will be sponsored and again, another 150 children will be provided scholarship for their higher studies.
Besides providing value based education, by penetrating deep in to the problems of the society and staying with them the CMC has been doing the duties entrusted to her. Of the total 6500 sisters, there are 1500 working in different parts of India. 85 are doing commendable service in African mission. It is really a proof of the Divine Grace that the sisters work for the love of God in totally poor and developing areas of Africa which are often deprived of light, in constant fear of robbery , natural calamity and murder,by proclaiming the light of Truth courageously and witnessing to the Gospel of Christ. As a result of their commitment, they have started getting religious vocation from the locality and other mission areas. We understand that there are several other realms also waiting for the service and the activities of the CMC. For that we need more zealous vocations. “Harvest isplenty but labourers are few .Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send more labourers”. Let this words of Jesus inject a new spirit of enthusiasm in the veins of the families and the youth.God gave our forefathers in kerala an opportunity to see and grow the life of the religious through the CMC. It was a blessing for them to be the pioneers of the women religious in our country. Therefore, God chose them to give training to the members of a number of other newly established congregations in their initial stage and thus play a remarkable role in the history of their beginning and growth. There are, thus, as the beginners many things to be considered on our path of growth and development and memories to be thankful and give glory to God. Today, the dream of saint Chavara to have saints from among those who received faith from St. Thomas, the Apostle of Jesus Christ ,is fulfilled. Praying that the lamp of the Sesqui-centenniel Jubilee of the CMC may enlighten all the consecrated and the whole human kind we the CMC enter this Jubilee year.