Friday, 28 December 2012

Leadership of Chavara and Growth of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) Congregation

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Some of the leadership qualities we can find in Bl Chavara are fairness, vision, openness, dedication, integrity, planning and so on. Fairness is dealing with others consistently and just.  Vision is having a clear idea about the end or aim. Openness helps to listen to new ideas. Dedication is spending time or energy to accomplish the task. Integrity is the integration of outward actions and inner values. Planning is making certain assumption about the future. The greatest contribution of Bl. Chavara to the church were founding of two indigenous congregations.  He understood that his mother church did not have its own religious communities. Together with Fr. Thomas Palackal and Fr. Thomas Porookara he worked relentlessly for the establishment of the religious community. Due to their intense prayer experience many wanted Chavara to open monasteries at their own locality and so with the help of the archbishop he started different monasteries.
St. Philomina’s Monastery Konnammavu (1857)
The Archbishop wanted to have a religious congregation for Latin priests. So he enlarged the presbytery and appointed a priest and two scholastics there. But the experiment did not succeed. So he requested Chavara to take over that house and send three priests and two scholastic from Mannanam. As per the request, Chavara send Fr. Munjanatt, Scholastics Thoppil, Parapuram, and Kanatt koonammavu Missionary Fr. Marceline received them. Later Fr. Mathew Manjanat was appointed vicar to the monastery church.
Elthuruth Monastery (1858)
The northern part of Kerala felt the need of a monastery. So collected money and brought a large compound. Bl. Chavara called this place as God’s Island (El - Thuruth). On the feast of purification of the Mother of God, February 2nd 1858, Fr. Prior laid the foundation stone for the monastery as per the order of Vicar Apostolic. The bishop ordered to contribute excess  of income of the church for the construction of monastery. On 8 October 1866  the consecration of new chapel began under the leadership of Fr. Prior. In the course of time Elthuruth Monastery attained a status in the north equal to that of Mannanam in the south.

Plasnal Monastery (1858 - 1859)
Fr. Antony Kudakkachira was refused admission to the religious community at Mannanam. So he went with a vengeance that he would establish a monastery of his own. With the help of his parish he built a monastery. But unfortunately he and his candidate died while visiting Bagdad. Vicar Apostolic Bernardine asked Bl Chavara to take that monastery. But all those who were sent to that monastery had to come back due to sickness. So it was given up.
Vazhakulam (1859)
During the visit of Archbishop in Arakuzha parish Fr. Nambiaparambil informed that he was ready to give his property to build a monastery. On the feast of St. Joseph,  Fr. Jacob Kanatt was appointed vicar. Fr. Mathew Kalapurackal and Kurian Palackal and two brother co - operators from Konnammavu were sent to to the new monastery. On 1859 June 21 the new monastery was inaugurated.
Pulincunnu Monastery (1861- 1866)
After a retreat in the Pulincunnu parish by the TOCD fathers the people wanted a monastery there. They were ready to gift the chapel of St. Sebastian and the property around it to build a monastery. The work slowly progressed. First it was made a regular monastery and in 1872 it was became a seminary.
Ampazhakad Monastery (1868)
Earlier there was a Jesuit monastery at Ampazhakad and people were very much attracted to it. So vicar apostolic wanted to have a monastery at Ampazhakad. But the place was on the hand of a notorious person  called Mr Thomas Ittoop Kanichai. Due to some quarrel with his neighbour he was sent to jail. On that period he had a thought of donating the property to monastery.  Meanwhile Fr. Leopold was making inquires about the land. Finally they made an agreement with Itoop probably on 6 August 1867. But further development became difficult due to the quarrel in Kodassery family. With the help of Diwan the problems were settled down and the first members were Fr. Sebastian, Fr. Philip, Fr. Jacob and Fr. Mathew Maria. On December 15, 1868 they took the in charge of construction and collecting funds.
Mutholi (1869)
Bl. Chavara and Fr. Gerard OCD were on the way to Palai for helping the people to solve the problems of Rocos Schism and Padroado Schism. On that way they found this place. They made proper agreement with Mannor family, the land owners. In January 1871 the then pro vicar apostolic Philip OCD, laid the foundation. In 1875 Fr. Varkery Thaliath began to reside there and in 1878, on the feast day of St. John of the Cross, the Chapel was consecrated and the monastery was dedicated in his name.

Chethipuzha (attempts started from 1870)
The vicar of Changanaserry Fr. Cherian Chakkalayil happened to meet some of the TOCD fathers. He suggested having a monastery at Changanaserry as it would be helpful for the people. Bl. Chavara discussed this matter and wrote to Fr. Cherian to have an appropriate place for monastery. Fr. Cheiran suggested Chethipuzha. But at the same time the arrangements were being made for the establishment of Ampazhakad monastery. So Fr. Prior communicated this to Fr. Cherian. Meanwhile Bl. Chavara passed away. The foundation stone was laid only in 1883.
Affiliation of the Congregation to the OCD
Bl. Chavara prepared a set of rules based on the daily life the community was leading and submitted it for approval, but the Bishop Bernadine of Vearapoly sent him the Primitive Rule of the Carmelite Order. Bl. Chavara with the Bishop made appropriate modification and began the use of Reguala. In 1860 the religious institute of the Servants of the Immaculate Mother of Mount Carmel was affiliated to the Discalced Carmelite first order as the third order regular. All this happened because the bishop wanted others to be considered himself as  founder of this community. The Apostolic See approved the constitutions ad experimentum in 1885.
Implications of the Affiliation
It is to be noted that the affiliation made no much change in the life of the Institute. Its activities continued as before. The affiliation was effected in such a manner that the Prior General of the first order became the prior general of TOCD. He delegated Bishop Baccinelli, the Vicar Apostolic as the provincial of this community. The delegate appointed Bl. Chavara as the common prior. As a result the new member had to take vows to the VicarApostolic and to Fr. Prior and their successors.
Proposal to Make TOCD an OCD Province
During the time of 1st Vatican Council Fr. Leopold made arrangement to make TOCD as an OCD province. While Fr. Leopold was making the arrangements, the then prior General of OCD and Bishop Bernadine passed away. The new Prior General and Archbishop Leonard had a difference in opinion about this.  Fr. Leopold was called back due the difficulties with the new archbishop and the new OCD prior general entrusted all the affairs of the third order to Archbishop Leonard. So the effort to make TOCD an OCD province got stopped.
TOCD becomes CMI
In 1958, the name Third Order of Carmelites (TOCD) was changed to Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI). The Congregation was granted pontifical exemption in 1967.  

1 comment:

  1. More books, articles, images, videos, prayers, etc., On Saint Chavara available at :- Chavara Library