The Discalced Carmelites
who maintain this site, were canonically set up as a
distinct province of the Order in 1981, on March 12.
Flashing back on the most important events that led to
this unforgettable date, we recall Msgr. Aloysius
Benziger, Swiss-born Carmelite of the Belgian province,
thanks to whose untiring zeal and unflagging efforts,
the Teresian Carmel opened its doors to the sons of
India at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Carmelite missionaries had been working in India since
the seventeenth century. There had been even a novitiate
and a theology-house in Goa, from where the Discalced
proto-martyrs, Blessed Dionysius of the Nativity and Redemptus of the Cross had left for their martyrdom in
Sumatra in 1638. But that foundation had not been
intended for Indians.
Bishop Benziger conceived the idea of re-founding a
Carmelite community in Goa during the third centenary of
their martyrdom in 1938. With this in mind, accompanied
by Fr. Mary Joseph, the old bishop, after retiring from
the see of Quilon, personally visited Goa that year and
paved the way for the new foundation in Margao, which
was soon realized. The next foundation undertaken by the
Flemish province in the Konkan region, was in Mangalore
in 1947 around the time of Indian independence. After
independence, the activity of foreigners was curtailed
and their movements, restricted.
As Indian vocations multiplied, more and more
foundations were made, and grouped into "provinces". The
Carmelite Tertiaries of Manjummel, founded in the latter
half of the nineteenth century, applied for integration
into the "first" Order and were granted this in 1957, at
a moment when the Mangalore foundation could easily be
absorbed into the new unit. But, since Goa continued
under the Portuguese till 1961, the Margao monastery
remained by itself till in 1964, that community, too,
became part of the Manjummel province. The following
year – 1965 – saw a new foundation in Mysore.
The process of raising the Karnataka-Goa region into an
autonomous province was initiated in 1978, and the unit
was first constituted into a General Delegation in 1979.
The Superior General of the Order, Rev. Fr. Philip Sainz
de Baranda, then on a pastoral visitation of the Order
in India, established the Karnataka-Goa province on 12th
Click on the map for an enlarged view
This province, set up under the patronage of the great
St. Teresa of Jesus of Avila, is now represented in many
dioceses of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat, apart
from the communities in Goa. Since 1992, a mission in
Tanzania has been entrusted to this province, some of
whose members are also serving various countries in the
East, West and Middle East.