CARMELITES OF MARY IMMACULATE
The Carmelites of Mary Immaculate [CMI] is the first indigenous religious institute of India. It had its humble beginning in the first half of the 19th century, when two zealous and God experienced men - Fr. Thomas Palackal and Thomas Porukkara - started a spiritual movement at Mannanam on May 11th 1831. They were inspired by God to restore religious life of the St. Thomas Christians. Their Ordinary, the Vicar Apostolic Bp. Maurilius Stabalini approved their idea and gave them full support and encouragement.
Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara, a student of Fr. Thomas Palackal, associated himself with these pioneers in restoring religious life among the St. Thomas Christians. Before the fulfillment of their long cherished dream, the two acharyas, Fr. Thomas Palackal and Fr. Thomas Porukkara were called to eternal reward in 1841 and 1846 respectively. Many dedicated priests of the Kerala Church joined this spiritual movement led by Bl. Chavara.
On December 8, 1855, the religious institute received full ecclesiastical recognition when the first eleven fathers under the leadership of Bl. Chavara made the profession of religious vows. They were given Carmelite Rules with certain modifications and were known as ‘Servants of Mary Immaculate of Mt. Carmel’.
Since the Ordinaries of Verapoly were Carmelites, under whose jurisdiction and guidance was the congregation in its early days, a Carmelite influence was obvious. In 1860, the general chapter of the OCD named our religious institute as ‘Third Order of the Discalced Carmelites’ [TOCD]. Correcting the mistake done by the general chapter of OCD in 1958, the name was changed into ‘Carmelites of Mary Immaculate [CMI]. Pleased with the apostolic activities of the religious institute, the Holy See, entrusted to it mission territories beyond the boundaries of Kerala, in 1960s.
There are now 6 eparchies in north India entrusted to CMI, namely Chanda, Sagar, Jagadalpur, Bijnor, Rajkot and Adilabad. In course of time the mission of the CMI has spread across the seas to 23 countries of the world at large.For administrative purpose the congregation is divided into 13 Provinces, a vice-province, a region and 6 sub-regions. At present there are about 2800 members in the religious institute.
ST. PAUL’S PROVINCE, MYSORE
Reading the signs of the time and needs of the people the CMI missionaries under the leadership of Rev. Fr. John Berchmans Kureeckal cmi of S.H Province Kalamassery, reached Karnataka in N.R Pura and started the Mysore mission in the year 1954. This mission under the title “Mysore Region?? was formally entrusted to the Sacred Heart province, Kalamassery as its ‘Mission’ by the Rescript (Proto No. 586/59) from the Vatican on 8 May, 1959. The formal erection of the region was in the year 1965. Rev. Fr. Cyprian Vithayathil was appointed as the first Regional Superior with the mission head - quarters at Gonikoppal, South Coorg. Rev. Fr. Regulus, Rev. Fr. Barnabas and Rev. Fr. Frederick were his successors as Regional Superiors.
The geographical area of CMI St. Paul’s Province, Mysore, covered the civil districts of Mysore, Mandya, Coorg, Hassan, Chikkamagalur, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Shimoga. In order to facilitate the mission work of the district of Hassan, His Excellency Rt. Rev. Dr. Jacob Thoomkuzhy, the then Bishop of Mananthavady, made a contract with Rev. Dr. Thomas Aykkara CMI, the then Prior General of the CMI ( for the sake of then St. Paul’s Vice-Province of the CMI, Mysore) on 19 April, 1981. They agreed through the contract ‘to handover’ to the CMI’s of St. Paul’s Province the district of Hassan ‘with full responsibility for intensive and extensive evangelization of the people of the district and in due time the Holy See may be pleased to erect it as a new eparchy or exarchate as the case may be’ (Ref., Contract between Rt. Rev. Dr. Jacob Thoomkuzhy, the then bishop of Mananthavady and Rev. Dr. Thomas Aykkara CMI, the then Prior General of the CMI’s, no.1). After 29 years of this agreement we come to know formally on 18th January 2010, when Mandya Eparchy (Diocese) was erected by the Synod of Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Church and from the communicatio n that came in the media on that day given by the synod of Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Church as well as of Vatican that the newly erected eparchy of Mandya includes the civil districts of Mandya, Mysore, Chamarajanagar and Hassan of Karnataka. We understand that it is in tune with the communication given to Rev. Fr. Thomas Ayankudy CMI, the then Provincial of the CMI Mysore Province on 29 November 2004 by His Excellency Rt. Rev. Dr. Jose Porunnedam, the Bishop of Mananthavady through his letter of erecting one eparchy comprising of the four districts of Hassan, Mandya, Mysore, Chamarajnagar. None of these districts alone was found to be large enough, in terms of especially the faithful, to erect separate eparchies ( Ref. Port. No. 1211/2004).
Considering the remarkable progress of the mission activities in this region, the 30th General Synaxis held on May 2, 1978 elevated this mission region to the status of a Vice-Province placing under the patronage of St. Paul, having Carmel Bhavan as its Provincial headquarters. Rev. Fr. Fredreick was appointed as the first provincial. Fathers who served the vice-province as Provincials were-
- Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Fredrick Mundathanath (1978-1984),
- Rev. Fr. Gabinus Petta (1984-1987),
- Rev. Fr. Thomas Kunianthodath (1987-1990 & 1999-2002),
- Rev. Fr. Joseph Angadiath (1990-1993),
- Rev. Fr. Thomas Joseph Vithayathil (1993-1996) and
- Rev. Fr. George Kalambukatt (1996-1999).
The 35th Ordinary General Synaxis of the Congregation held in Bangalore raised the Vice-Province to the status of a full-fledged-province on the 9th of April 2002. Since then,
- Rev. Fr. Thomas Ayankudy (2002 - 2005),
- Rev. Fr. Antony Sebastian Moolamattam (2005 - 2008) ,
- Rev. Fr. Varghese Koluthara (2008-2011) served as the provincials.
- Rev. Fr. Rathappillil Joseph is the present provincial (2011-2014) .