Kuriakose Elias Chavara
Kuriakose Elias Chavara, the founder of the CMC congregation and the guiding light and inspiration for all our endeavors, was born on 10 February 1805 at Kainakary, Alapuza.
St. Chavara was instrumental in founding two Catholic Religion Congregations- one for men/ Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) and the other for women Congregation of Mother of Carmel (CMC), for the spiritual renewal and all round development of the society.
Starting seven ashrams and a convent in different parts of Kerala, Chavara Initiated a spiritual movement among the people of Kerala. Being a visionary, he realized that social change is possible only through education. Hence he established the first catholic Sanskrit school, a major Seminary and a printing and publishing house at Mannanam. He directed that every church should start a school attached to it and encourage children of even poorer sections to attend the schools by supplying mid day meal and dress for them. He initiated the attempts in the empowerment of women by establishing the first boarding school for girls at Koonammavu and training them in various skills and handicrafts together with academics. He founded a “Home of Charity” to take care of destitute, beggars, the uncared, the sick and the old.
Essentially, however, St. Chavara was a man of prayers and great charity. He lived for 65 years and died on 3rd January 1871 at Koonammavu. His sanctity was officially recognized by Catholic Church, when Pope John Paul II declared him “Blessed” on 08 February 1986. He was officially declared as “Saint” in the Catholic Church on 23rd November 2014. Blessed Chavara is the heavenly patrons of all CMI and CMC institutions.