Thursday, June 12, 2014


A few weeks ago our new Chaplain arrived. He is originally from Jagdalpur, India in the State of Chhattisgarh.  Just this week the Vatican announced that Nov. 23  will be the canonization of the founder of Father Mathew's order.

I love this Blessed- not knowing much about him- as there are some  lovely art portraits of him- surround by BIRDS.

BL. KURIAKOSE ELIAS  CHAVARA, T.O.C.D., was the co-founder and first Prior General of the first congregation for men in the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, now known as the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, and of a similar one for women, the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel.

Bl. Kuriakose Elias Chavara a pioneer of education, tried  to do away with the caste distinction in Kerala and make it possible for all the children irrespective of caste creed to sit together and study.

He was born in Kainakary, Kerala, India in 1805. In his childhood, Kuriakose attended the village school studying language and elementary sciences. He entered the seminary at the age of 13  and was ordained in 1829.

Bl. Kuriakose joined with two other priests, Thoma Palackal and Thomas Porukara to lead a monastic life. On December 8, 1855, Father Kuriakose  and ten other priests took vows in the Carmelite tradition. He was nominated as the Prior General of the Monastery. The congregation became affiliated as a Third Order institute of the Order of Discalced Carmelites.

Bl. Kuriakose introduced Retreat Preaching for the laity for the first time in the Kerala Church. He popularized devotions and piety exercises such as Rosary, the Way of the Cross and Eucharistic Adoration.

Bl. Kuriakose  was also a social reformer and played a large role in educating the people of the lower ranks of Indian society. He started as school at Mannanam in 1846. He first introduced the system called "A school along with every church" which was successful in making free education available for everyone. He also founded the first printing press of the Indian Catholic Church at Mannanam.

 He believed that intellectual development and the education of women was the first step towards overall social welfare. Hence, he founded the first religious congregation for women in 1866, with the help of an Italian missionary, Father Leopold Beccaro, O.C.D., the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel.

He died in 1871, aged 66, at Koonammavu, of natural causes. Many miraculous favors were reported through the intercession of Bl. Kuriakose.  St Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception, F.C.C., who became the first  female saint of India, testified in 1936 that Father Kuriakose had appeared to her twice during her illness and relieved her suffering.

The main work of the Congregation is education aiming at the intellectual, social, economic, moral and spiritual advancement of people, especially women and children. It works today in eight countries with almost 5,000 members.

Bl. Kuriakose will be canonized with another Indian, Bl. Eufrasia Eluvathingal of the Sacred Heart.

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