What is it all about?
The Carmelite Order is one
of the five ancient Religious Orders in the Catholic
Church, and first one to be dedicated to Mary, who
sought God’s will in profound silence and did it with
all her heart and thus became the mother of all the
disciples of Jesus.
Mt. Carmel in Holy Land, symbol for prayer, silence and
solitude, has always attracted god-seeking people.
There were always solitary hermits or communities of
monks on Mount Carmel, living a life of prayer and
contemplation, inspired by the life and spirit of
prophet Elias and his followers from early days of
Christianity. They lived as hermits in the numerous
caves there from time immemorial.
In the beginning of the 12 century a few men living on
the slopes of Mt. Carmel organized themselves as the
Brothers of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel The written history
of the Order up to A D 1200 remains however shrouded in
the lives of Latin hermits who lived in the caves of Mt.
Cannel, in silence, solitude and to witness Gospel
Mystery of Interiority.
It is believed that St Berthold assembled various monks
living scattered on Mt. Carmel into a community and St
Brocard, his successor, requested a norm of life for
them from St Albert, the Latin Patriarch and Papal
Delegate of the Holy Land and this was granted in 1209.
contemplation - living out their special calling
Eventually they migrated to Europe, especially due to
the threats of marauding Moslem armies in the region,
and their leader in England in a difficult moment of
their existence, received a vision from Mary with the
command to wear the Holy Scapular as a sign of deeper.
Commitment to Gospel values and therefore of one’s
personal salvation. That becomes down the centuries a
true symbol of authentic love of God in prayer and of
taking upon oneself the yoke of service in imitation of
Mary, the true disciple.
Pope honorius III confirmed this rule in 1226-27. Pope
Innocent IV, who introduced certain modifications into
the rule in order to suit it to the new circumstances
and time, later approved it in 1247.
Pope Eugenius IV mitigated this Alberto-Innocentian Rule
in 1431, after the pest known as ‘black death’, at the
request of the Superiors of the Order. From then on
there were several attempts to go back to the pristine
observance. As a result there arose many reformed
Congregations. But they did not last for long, as they
could not achieve their aim fully.
Charism in Full Bloom
In 1562, St. Teresa of Avila started a reform movement
among the nuns and then with the help of St john of the
cross, among the friars in 1568 in Spain. All the
reformed more austere way of life were generally known
as the Discalced. After a period of waiting, the
Discalced Carmelites were allowed to form a separate
Province under the direct jurisdiction of the Prior
General of the Order in 1580, as it was a quasi
re-foundation of the Order. Further development resulted
in the institution of a separate branch of the Order
with a proper Vicar General in 1587 and an independent
Order in 1593.
The reform itself was divided into three separate
congregation and later in 1857 under Leo XIII were
re-united into the present Order of the Discalced
Carmelite Friars today numbering almost 4500, that is
spread all over the world divided into 45 Provinces, 3
General Delegations 5 Commissariats, 9 Regional Vicarates, and 23 Provincial Delegations.
The international Carmelite Order comprising of three
branches of Men, Cloistered Nuns and Lay Persons, spread
through Europe very fast and then in South America and
now in Asia & Africa. Today it is present in more than
90 countries round the globe. St. Therese of Lisieux
known as Little Flower and St. Edith Stein, Bl.
Elizabeth of Trinity, St. Rapheal Kalinowski, Bl.
Kuriakose Chavara, Bl. Mary of Jesus Crucified too are
The congregation of religious numbering some 70 today,
retaining their juridical autonomy, share in the Charism
of the Order in various degrees. So the Apostolic Carmel
(AC), The Vedruna Sisters, The CSST Sisters, The CCR
Sisters or The CMC Sisters, The CM Sisters and so many
involved in apostolate in India and abroad all form true
members of a very big family of Carmelites in the
The Carmelites in India.
During the early 17th century the reformed (Discalced)
Carmelites of Sts. Teresa and John of the Cross, came to
the Middle East and India; The first Carmelites reached
the shores of India in the year 1619 in Goa. They were
the instruments of fruitful evangelisation all through
the western coast of India for the last 5 centuries.
They were sent in directly by the pope expressly for the
spread of gospel message and not as part of the
colonizers. The marked catholic presence in the western
coast of India, from Kerala to Gujarat, is greatly due
to the work of the Carmelites. The Beautiful Church
built at Sardana in Haryana by a Moslem Princess who was
converted to Christianity is a monument for the
missionary zeal of the Carmelities. The Mumbai
archdiocese extending all over the erstwhile mogul
empire was served by the Carmelites from 1720 till 1846.
The other missions entrusted to Carmelites were the
Malabar, Verapoly, the Mangalore, the Sunkeri, the
Bijapur, the Bidanore and the Coorg missions at various
times of its history.
The First Novitiate of OCD Friars in India, in recent
memory, was opened in 1928. Today there are 6 Provinces,
1 Commissariate, and 1 Regional Vicariate and 2
Provincial delegations in India with over 900 professed
There are along with friars. 33 Cloistered Carmelite
Monasteries of nuns who spend their entire life enclosed
within the cloistered walls away from out noisy and
selfish world of today. There they witness to us the
beautiful side of Christianity.
There are almost 30,000 secular Carmel members spread
throughout India, who live their calling to be the
mainstream Christians living their role in the family,
the world and the church motivated by sound principles
of Carmelite spirituality and Christian holiness.
The Spiritual Identity of the Carmelites
In a nutshell therefore, we can say the Carmelite Order
is called in the Church to live, witness and promote the
mystery and beauty of Contemplative - prayer of Jesus
through the communitarian life and apostolic
initiatives. The main apostolic activity they involve in
is responding to the spiritual needs of the clergy,
religious and laity by retreats, counseling, preaching,
institutes of spirituality, media apostulate as well as
missionary and parish social apostolate whenever the
local church requires.
Moved by the teachings and life witness of Saints Teresa
of Avila and John of the Cross, both eminent doctors of
Spiritual life in the Church, the Order moves forward in
service of the humanity.
The first priority of the Carmelites is Prayer and
Contemplation. They are also engaged in ministry and
other missionary activities. In other words, it is an
affirmation that as a flower blooms with light of the
Sun, the human life blooms fully, only when it is
totally open to God. Human person is capable of greatest
growth and able to live a high quality of life and love
only when he is open profoundly to God, as was Jesus.
Thus the Carmelites affirm that the holiness is not what
we achieve by our efforts alone, but what happens to us
when we meet God in the intimacy of the heart and do His
Holy Will. Prayer is not merely what we say to God and
ask of Him, but an intimate and perennial friendship
with Him, being present to Him, whom we know loves us.
It is an affirmation that it is possible to meet God for
you for me and for every one right now.
Karnataka - Goa - Maharashtra province, which is spread
over four Indian states of Karnatka, Goa, Maharashtra
and Gujarat has about 180 professed religious serving
not only in India but also in Tanzania, South Africa and
We, through our ministry of the spiritual life uphold
the inner worth of the human person. We defend the right
and dignity of every human being to be a God’s child,
God’s image. We are committed to build a society where
people rise beyond every form of human selfishness and
enslavement to live in peace and harmony with oneself
and with others as a community of disciples of Jesus
The Carmelite Order
appeared on the world scene at some point of time in
early 12th century on the slopes of Mt. Carmel in
Palestine. A few of the western pilgrims who kept coming
to the Holy land opted cumulatively to live a radical
response to the Gospel in a hermetic life style,
inspired probably by the oriental hermits and monks
living in the area. So much was their preoccupation for
their commitment to interiority they did not even bother
to leave an identity of the beginners.
This new group gathered itself near the fount of Prophet
Elijah not far from present Haifa, as a community of
hermits and were known initially as the Brothers of our
Lady of Mt. Carmel, the first religious community in the
church to be founded in imitation of Mary mother of God.
They appeared on the scene as harbingers of radical
Gospel values of inner worth of human person as a
privileged dialogue partner with God and therefore
living a life of intense evangelical fraternity. They
proclaimed loud and clear the capacity of human person
to be open to God in contemplation and to build
communion with all though evangelical fraternity and
This style of radical life reached its climax in the
life and teachings of St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila) and
St. John of the Cross. They kept aloft the evangelical
fervour of deep contemplation and bridged it, without
contradiction, with committed evangelization through the
healing touch. These hence become the two planks of
their essential charismatic identity of the order. These
were then followed by eminent spiritual masters like St.
Therese of Lissieux, Bl. Elizabeth of Trinity, St. Edith
Stein and others who epitomized the modern thirst for
truth and taste of authentic and integral human life.
The Teresian (Discalced = Reformed) Carmelites reach the
shores of India, precisely at old Goa, from Italy
through Persia. Initially it was supposed to be a safe
refuge and a health resort for the missionaries working
in the Arabian lands. But soon the old Goa becomes the
motherhouse of all Carmelites in the east. The
circumscription of today's Karnataka-Goa province in
India includes areas and centres where the Discalced
Carmelites worked and exercised their ministries since
the beginning of the seventeenth century. Some of the
missionaries who visited Goa had been born in the
life-time of St. Teresa herself, and had been captivated
by her enthusiasm for the missions, when they came of
age. A sketch, therefore, of their pioneering endeavours
for the evangelizing of our ancestors, in the very
regions where we ourselves live and work today, will be
not only relevant but also highly inspirational.
St. Teresa's Missionary Ideals
As St Teresa mounted the rungs of the mystical ladder,
her vision grew wider until she embraced the mystical
body of Christ, which is the Church. Moved by a vision
of hell, around 1560, St. Teresa began to experience
deep anxiety and intense concern for the salvation of
the Christians who had broken away from the Catholic
Church. A few years later, the Franciscan missionary,
Fr. Maldonado returning from South America, further
stimulated her maternal solicitude to embrace those also
who had never heard the good news of salvation. Inspired
by the holy Mother, Fr. Jerome Gracian, as first
provincial of the Discalced, dispatched in 1581, a
missionary expedition to the Congo in Africa. That first
venture met with disaster, and was therefore a failure
from the human point of view. It was an adventure for
the sons of St. Teresa, who thought that life itself was
just a small sacrifice for so great a cause.
Fr. Maldonado was just one of many missionaries that the
Spanish government, in collaboration with religious
superiors, had sent to the Americas for the
evangelization of the natives. The kings of Portugal,
too, had shown keen interest in expanding Christendom.
As a consequence, the popes conferred on Spain and
Portugal the Right of Patronage (Padroado) which, while
obliging them to evangelize the territories they
conquered and maintain the missionaries, and build
churches, also entitled them to propose the names of
candidates for bishoprics and other ecclesiastical
offices and benefices.
After its conquest of Goa in 1510, Portugal began
sending various religious groups for the spiritual
conquest of India. Her spiritual conquests. By the
middle of the sixteenth century, before Teresa had even
begun her reform in Spain, the evangelization of India's
west coast was going on in full swing, with Franciscans,
Dominicans, Augustinians, Theatines and others already
in the field. In fact, St. Francis Xavier and the
Jesuits made their foundations in Goa before they had
their foundation in St. Teresa's Avila and made their
own several pockets on India's western coast, notably
Goa, Mumbai, Bassein, Diu, Salcette (in Mumbai), Honavar
By the beginning of the seventeenth century, Portuguese
power was on the wane. English, French, Dutch traders
and soldiers were arriving in India. Though Portuguese
no longer in a position to fulfill her Padraado
obligations, she continued to cling to her privileges.
Politics and religion had been too much intermingled,
and sometimes evangelization had been undertaken for the
sake of colonization. The popes were already thinking of
establishing central offices in Rome that would handle
the missions of the Church without undue involvement in
When Pope Clement VIII wanted personnel for the mission
he was projecting in Persia, not being able to rely on
Portugal, he turned to the Discalced Carmelites.
Approaching the Spanish superiors he asked for men to be
sent to Persia. They however, imbued with the spirit of
Doria, did not see eye to eye with the pope. Clement
VIII therefore proceeded in 1600 to separate the
Discalced in Italy into an independent congregation.
Thus was born the Italian Congregation of Discalced
Carmelites, with its own proper superiors and
administration. To the three customary religious vows,
these added a promise to depart for the missions
whenever obedience required it of them. By 1604, the
Discalced were already in Persia.
Clement VIII made several attempts to establish these
central offices in Rome for the evangelization of the
people. Among his advisers in this area were eminent
sons of St. Teresa, among whom Father Jerome Gracian
(after his expulsion from the Spanish congregation), and
Fathers Ferdinand of St. Mary, Peter of the Mother of
God, Dominic of Jesus and Mary and Thomas of Jesus.
It was Pope Gregory XV who finally established in 1622,
the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide, now known as
the Pontifical Congregation for the Evangelizing of the
Peoples. That same year, 1622 saw Teresa's canonization.
The aim of this new arm of the Holy See was to
coordinate all the missionary ventures of the Church,
and to separate effectively evangelization from
Carmelites in Goa and Diu
For the financial support of the Persian mission, plans
were drawn up for a foundation in Goa, the capital of
Portuguese India. The Roman Carmelite, Fr. Benigno of
St. Michael visited Goa in 1610, and after a cordial
reception from the Jesuit provincial, having lodged with
the Augustinians, returned with a handsome collection to
By 1619, even before the constitution of Propaganda, we
find Fr. Leander of the Annunciation, a native of
Burgos, contacting authorities in Goa for the purpose.
As luck would have it, Portugal, at the time, was
governed by Spain, and this situation would last till
1640. Fr. Leander was able without great difficulty to
secure temporary licenses from Don Cristobal de Sa
Lisboa, to put up a church and a modest residence, which
soon grew into a novitiate community. The same Fr.
Leander made a foundation in Diu in 1628--- a mission
that was destroyed by an Arab invasion from Muscat in
An early candidate, who applied for admission to the Goa
novitiate in 1626, was Fr. Leander of the Resurrection.
He was sent for a foundation in Bassein in 1643. Whether
or not this was realized, is not known. Fr. Leonard of
the Holy Spirit, is another renowned person, born in
Genoa in 1590, came to Goa in 1623, and later proceeded
to Diu. He is found again in Goa in 1634, as prior.
Another prior of the community was Fr. Dominic of
Christ, of the Roman province. Later, in the 1630s, a
Frenchman, Fr. Philip of the Trinity was prior, and also
professor of theology.
Blessed Dionysius and Redemptus
During Fr. Philip's term in office, two unusual
candidates were among the novices. One was a Portuguese
soldier who had captained the garrison at Mylapore. He
opted to be a non-clerical Carmelite, Br. Redemptus of
the Cross. The other was Peter Berthelot, a French
sailor, an excellent seaman, and cartographer, one of
whose charts of the Indian Ocean is preserved in the
British museum till today. This was Fr. Dionysius of the
Nativity, who needed the permission of the Portuguese
viceroy to enter Carmel, because he had been promoted
though a Frenchman to a position of major significance
in the Portuguese navy.
Much to the dismay of the Portuguese, Peter resigned
from the navy, and after discussing his spiritual
affairs with Fr. Philip, was admitted to the novitiate
in 1635. He was ordained priest in 1638. A short while
later, when a Portuguese delegation was being dispatched
to the sultan of Acheh in the East Indies, the services
of Peter Berthelot now known as Fr. Dionysius, were
requisitioned because of his knowledge of the seas in
that part of the world. The community had to agree to
the decision of the government. For the journey Fr.
Dionysius requested that Br. Redemptus be given him as
companion. Scarcely had they reached Sumatra when the
two religious along with many others were thrown into
prison and massacred, the chief of the delegation a
certain Francis D'Souza was released with some others.
Fr. Philip, having collected all the evidence he could,
immediately let for Rome to introduce their cause for
beatification. Even though he later became superior
general of the Order more than once, he could not hurry
up the process. The protomartyrs of the Teresian Carmel
were beatified only in 1900 by Pope Leo XIII.
Flight to Karwar
Political unrest began unsettling the Carmelites after
1640 when Portugal won independence from Spain, and came
to a head in the opening years of the eighteenth
century. One reason for this conflict between the
Portuguese and the Carmelites was that most of the
Carmelites were non-Portuguese. They had no intention of
submitting to any political power that would jeopardize
their allegiance to the kingdom of God. Being informed
in time that the king of Portugal had ordered their
arrest and deportation to Portugal, they fled the
territory in 1709, all their property in Goa and Diu
being confiscated. Under the able leadership of the
Genoese, Fr. John Baptist, they proceeded to Sunkery in
the Karwar region, where they found some hospitable
Englishmen of the East India Company. Karwar by that
time fell under the Vicariate of the Great Mogul.
The Apostolic Vicariate of the Great Mogul
After Aurangzeb had absorbed the territories of Bijapur,
Golconda and Gujarat into the Mogul empire, the
apostolic vicariate of the Great Mogul, was a juridical
entity created by the Holy See in 1696 to include the
huge empire of the Moguls in India, and entrust its
evangelization to the Carmelites. Around the same time,
the Vicariate of Malabar too was created for the
Christians of Kerala, and entrusted to the Carmelites.
An apostolic vicariate was a legal territorial entity
akin to a diocese; it was placed under a superior, who,
to all intents and purposes, had Episcopal authority but
were not called bishops mainly because the Portuguese
would object that their Padroado rights were being
infringed, if bishops were appointed and dioceses
created without their being consulted. The new
vicariates were apostolic because they were administered
directly by the apostolic see. In the following pages
the terms apostolic vicar and bishop will be used
Fr. Peter Paul, OCD., a nephew of Pope Innocent XII, the
first to be appointed vicar apostolic of the Great
Mogul, had scarcely reached his mission, when he
received the summons to his eternal reward in 1701. His
successor, Fr. Peter Alcantara of St. Teresa, made Surat
his headquarters. Among the Carmelites appearing off and
on in Surat between 1728 and 1751, was Fr. Alexander of
St. Sigismund, a German who had qualified as a medical
doctor. He used the opportunities his practice afforded,
to baptize dying infants.
Among the Carmelites serving in Surat, we find Fr.
Hyacinth of St. Joseph (1760), Fra Angel Felix of the
Holy Spirit (1770), Fr. Charles Joseph of St. Peter
(1778). Later, in the nineteenth century, Fr. Michael
Anthony of St. Aloysius (1828-36) Augustine Mary of
Jesus (1836-41); Fr. Maurice Mary of Jesus (1849-52);
Fr. Nicholas of St. Joseph (1852-53); Fr. Thomas of the
Passion (1853);Fr. Juvenalis (1854-55); Fr. Cornelius
During the tenures of Fr. Peter Alcantara of St. Anthony
and the last Carmelite apostolic vicars of the Great
Mogul, Carmelite missionaries seem to have at least
visited Baroda, Baroach, Kaira, and Hyderabad in Andhra.
We find a certain Fr. Irenaeus of St. Teresa,
Piedmontese, who, sent to Bombay in 1844, was for five
years at Deesa close to Ahmedabad. He later went to
Karachi, Hyderabad (1855), and Quilon (1858), and
finally to Mangalore (1868).
The Karwar Mission
The Discalced Carmelites resided and worked in the
Karwar region for more than a century. This mission came
under the Apostolic Vicariate of the Great Mogul, which
was set up by the Holy See in 1696, and entrusted to the
Carmelites. After Fr. Maurice of St. Teresa, the third
bishop of the apostolic vicariate, had made his
headquarters at Sunkery in 1712, he received an
invitation from the English governor in Mumbai; to come
with six missionaries and cater to the spiritual needs
of the Catholics on the island.
Though Mumbai did not officially belong to the vicariate
of the Great Mogul, the Holy See allowed the Carmelites
on a temporary basis, to be installed in Mumbai, since
the English had decided to expel the Portuguese clergy.
After the suppression of the Jesuits in 1759, the
Carmelites had to be concerned with the Christians of
Kumta and Ancola as well. The eminent Fr. Dominic of St.
Clare, who had been superior in Sunkery was elevated to
the office of apostolic vicar of the Great Mogul. An
energetic and indefatigable missionary, he died at Sirva
(South Kanara) in 1772 after many adventures and
In 1784, when the archbishop of Goa was a Portuguese
Discalced Carmelite, the Sunkery mission was destroyed
by the Tiger of Mysore, Tippu Sultan. It was re-built at
the beginning of the nineteenth century by Fr. Francis
Xavier of St. Anne, an extraordinary remarkable
administrator, who after visiting Coorg, where he made
friends with the ruler who was of the Wodeyar family,
and settling disputes occasioned by some champions of
the Padroado, was appointed apostolic vicar of Verapoly
--- a see that had been governed by the Carmelites since
the beginning of the eighteenth century.
Mysore and Madurai had also been part of the Jesuit
mission field before the suppression of the Society by
the Marquis of Pombal. Since these territories were
bordering the Mogul empire, the apostolic vicar was
requested to see to their pastoral needs at least on a
temporary basis under Clement XIV. Chikka Deve Raja
(1672-1704) bought Bangalore from one of the Mogul
generals for a sum of three lakh rupees. He extended the
kingdom of Mysore from Tumkur in the north, to
Coimbatore in the south.
Fathers Louis Mary of Jesus and Anthony of St. Fortunato
were to be sent there by a decree of Propaganda Fide in
1777. Fr. Louis Mary seems to have actually reached
there in 1777 or a little later. Fr. Aloysius Mary of
Jesus, who came out to Verapoly in 1773, was also
assigned by Propaganda to the Mysore-Madurai mission in
1777, whence he returned to Verapoly in 1783, to take
charge as apostolic vicar from 1785 till 1802. These
missions were later handed over to the Capuchins by a
decree of Card. Orsini.
The third apostolic vicar, Fr. Maurice of St. Teresa, as
already mentioned, took up residence at Sunkery. When on
a trip through Mumbai, he was courteously ushered into
the presence of the governor Mr. Charles Boone, who
informed him secretly about the plan to expel the
Portuguese clergy from the island, and replace them with
the Carmelites. The bishop informed him that the Holy
See should decide. Considering the need of the
Catholics, the Holy See allowed Bp. Maurice to accept
the invitation to Mumbai in 1720. Though Mumbai did not
pertain to the territory of the said vicariate, prompted
by the need, the Holy See allowed this temporary
What had been intended as a temporary adjustment, lasted
for more than a century. The Carmelite regime in Mumbai
continued till 1850 a period of many conflicts,
especially between Propaganda and Padroado.
The Carmelites were therefore installed in the following
churches of the island of Mumbai on 25 May 1720 : the
Esperanca Church near the Fort; the church of Salvacao
in Dadar; Our Lady of Glory Church in Mazagon; St.
Michael's, Mahim; and the Chapel of the Imm. Conception,
This installation of the Carmelites appeared to the
Portuguese in the neighbourhood, a blatant infringement
of the padroado rights and privileges. They reacted
quite unpleasantly against the Carmelite presence on the
island. And their resentment was re-fuelled from time to
time, and re-kindled during the whole regime of the
Carmelites in Mumbai from 1720 to 1850. During this time
eleven vicars apostolic were entrusted with the
apostolic vicariate of the Great Mogul.
One of the most dynamic of these was Bp. John Dominic of
St. Clare, who came from the Turin region in Italy, to
Sunkery around 1740. In 1757 he received letters, when
in Sunkery, from Rome, appointing him apostolic vicar of
the Great Mogul. He was consecrated in Verapoly by Bp.
Florentius of Jesus, the apostolic vicar of Verapoly. It
was during his tenure that the suppression of the
Jesuits in Portuguese territories took place. This
deathblow caused untold harm to the missions in India.
In 1750, some Goan priests grouped themselves together
and, receiving ecclesiastical approval, lived and worked
as Carmelite tertiaries. Bishop John Dominic sent Fr.
Lazarus of St, Joseph, a tertiary from Chimbel who had
been helping him in Bombay, along with another
non-Carmelite to replace the Jesuits in Sanvissar and
From February to May 1758, the bishop was administering
to the people of North Kanara. It is said he
administered confirmation to about 15,000 Christians.
The bishop became quite popular, and the British, Dutch,
French and even the Portuguese are said to have opened
their purses to him and the Jews of Surat, too. His
mastery of Konkani was one of the achievements that
furthered his success in the missions. During a
visitation of S. Kanara in 1772, Bp. Dominic departed
this life at Shirva.
Only around 1832, after the waning of the Mogul empire,
and the dawn of the British, was the name of Bombay
inserted officially into the title of the vicariate. By
that time the Mogul empire was fast passing into
history, to be replaced by the British empire.
The Belgaum Region
The Carmelites from Old Goa occasionally made excursions
into Northern Karnataka. One of these was Fr. Joseph
Elias of St. Teresa who visited the region before a
foundation was made in Bijapur in 1635. It may be
recalled that the founder of the Goa monastery was
summoned to his heavenly reward in 1630, at the court of
the shah of Bijapur. There was soon a Carmelite
community in Bijapur, which unfortunately lasted but a
few years. Later, around 1640, the Indo-Portuguese, Fr.
Sebastian of the Blessed Sacrament founded a mission in
the Carnatic, assisted by the Abyssinian, Br. Joseph of
the Blessed Sacrament.
Imbued with a missionary spirit, the tertiaries from
Chimbel appear to have attempted the evangelization of
North Karnataka. In the Belgaum region , After the 1835
suppression of religious Orders by Portugal, several of
them made their home in Pilar, while a few continued to
work outside Portuguese territory: Belgaum Khanapur,
etc. in the first half of the nineteenth century. It is
more than likely that they spread devotion to O. Lady of
Mt. Carmel and the Carmelite scapular. This devotion is
still widespread among the Catholics of Belgaum. We find
the name of Fr. Clement of the Mother of Sorrows, who
founded the Immaculate Conception church in Belgaum in
1826. He first resided at Khanapur, but later served as
military chaplain. After him came Fr. Mariano of the
Resurrection in 1841-42. His successor as military
chaplain was Fr. Michael Anthony, a Discalced Carmelite.
Born into a very religious family all three children of
which became religiousin San Remo in 1799. After his
profession in the Roman province, he came out to India
in 1825, reaching Mumbai after a tedious voyage of eight
months. He was appointed vicar of Surat and later,
visitor of Gujarat, before becoming vicar general to
three vicars apostolic of Bombay. In 1842 he was
chaplain to the military in Belgaum. Tall,
well-proportioned, and learned, he quickly mastered
Hindustani and Portuguese, the ecclesiastical language
in India. He was eventually appointed the second
Carmelite bishop of Mangalore. Another missionary, a
certain Fr. John Chrysostom of St. Joseph, Tuscan, is
found in Pune, Hyderabad, and Belgaum. He died in Pisa
There are signs of Carmelite presence in and around
Shimoga, which was once the kingdom of Bedanore. In
Shimoga the feast of the Carmelite scapular is still
celebrated in the cathedral with greater solemnity than
that of the patron of the diocese. According to a local
tradition, devotion to the Carmelite scapular saved the
people from a flood, at some unspecified date in the
By a rescript of Pope Gregory XVI in 1838, Karnataka was
withdrawn from Goa's jurisdiction and placed under
Verapoly. Mangalore was raised to the status of an
apostolic vicariate, tentatively in 1845, in the same
year as Quilon. Its first bishop was Bishop Bernardin of
St. Agnes (1845-1852)
The Catholics of Mangalore who had been placed under the
jurisdiction of Verapoly, experiencing the inconvenience
of such an arrangement, asked the Holy See to make
Mangalore an independent diocese or vicariate.
The leader of the Mangalore Catholics seems to have
been, among others, a certain John Joseph Saldanha,
sub-judge of Sirsi. Their petition was granted in 1845,
initially on a temporary basis. On an experimental
basis, Mangalore was made an apostolic pro-vicariate and
Msgr. Bernardin of St. Agnes, coadjutor of Verapoly, a
Neapolitan, was appointed pro- apostolic vicar of
Mangalore, initially with jurisdiction also over Coorg
--- which was later attached to Mysore, a mission
entrusted by then, to the MEP Fathers.
A deputation was sent to Verapoly by the Catholics of
Mangalore to attend the rites of consecration; and they
accompanied him to Mangalore, where the Catholics
welcomed the new bishop, providing him accommodation in
what had been the quarters of the civil surgeon on the
premises where St. Anne's now stands. On these same
premises the bishop assembled a handful of aspirants for
the priesthood, placing them under the direction, first,
of two diocesan Fathers from Verapoly, and later, under
Fr. Louis of St. Dominic, OCD., a Venetian.
Bishop Bernardin opened an English school in 1849. He
raised the Rosario church to the rank of cathedral in
1850. Because of failing health he returned to Rome in
His successor was the now well-known Msgr. Michael
Anthony, who had worked in Gujarat, Mumbai and Belgaum
being consecrated bishop of Mangalore in 1853. The new
bishop's concern was to maintain the seminary which Fr.
Louis acting as apostolic delegate, when the vicariate
became definitive in March 1853, divided into two
sections one of which he located in Sunkery, under Fr.
Cyril of St. Teresa, and the other at Jeppu with Fr.
Columbinus of the Virgin of Carmel, a Tuscan, as rector.
Bp. Michael Anthony sent to France, Fr. Andrew of Jesus
and Mary to bring to India, the Brothers of the
Christian schools. For their lodging, he put up a
building in the cathedral compound. Fr. Andrew, who died
in 1869 was regarded by many as a pioneer of Catholic
education in Mangalore. In his honour a prize was
instituted in 1890 by a prominent citizen to be awarded
annually in St. Aloysius College. Fr. Andrew also
brought along with him from France, the Sisters of St.
Joseph of the Apparition.
The bishop had practiced austerity even as a bishop,
taking just one meal a day, and travelling by the
cheaper means of transport. What money he could save, he
kept for the poor and the orphans of the diocese. He
never refused those who applied to him for alms. “
Guileless and ingenuous as a child, unsuspecting
straightforward and simple in all his ways, he took as
much delight in conversing with the poorest and most
illiterate as with the rich and learned." Man of prayer
and austerity though he was, people and even his own
confreres, seem to have misunderstood him. To many he
seemed to have had the gift of prophecy, with the
ability to discern the state of their consciences. Bp.
Michael Anthony humbly retired in 1870, and went to Tuet
near Quilon, spending practically all his time in prayer
and penance, till he departed this life in 1878.
The third and last Carmelite bishop of Mangalore was
Msgr. Marie Ephrem, who came out as a young missionary
from Bordeaux in 1859 to Mahe where he studied English
and Malayalam. On some later occasion in Mahe, pointing
to the verandah of his former little house, he said “How
many tears I shed there for the sacrilegious invasion of
the papal states.”
He was consecrated bishop at Thangassery by Bp. Michael
Anthony with the prelates of Bangalore, Madura, and
Coimbatore as assistants. But when he went to Europe for
the first Vatican Council, he was transferred to
Mangalore. By that time, M. Veronica whom he had met in
India in 1861, had already completed her novitiate in
the cloistered Carmel of Pau. Miriam, the Arab, was now
Sr. Mary of Jesus Crucified.
He took part in the first Vatican Council. Before
embarking for India after the Council, Bp. Marie Ephrem
made arrangements for the foundation of a Carmel in
Mangalore. Six nuns from the Carmel of Pau were to leave
for India, along with three tertiaries trained by M.
Veronica, who had entered Carmel precisely with the
intention of starting such a tertiary congregation with
the approval of Bp. Marie Ephrem and the superior
general of the Discalced.
Accordingly in August 1870, three of these tertiaries
accompanied the six nuns to Marseilles where they
boarded the ship that would take them to Pondicherry
from where they would proceed to Mangalore. Along with
them went Fathers Lazar of the Holy Cross and Gratian of
St. Ann. On 19th. November, they reached Mangalore. But
only three out of the six cloistered nuns reached
Mangalore, the other three having succumbed to the
hardships of the journey. Among the survivors was the
Arab lay Sister, Mary of Jesus Crucified. She however
had to return to Pau in 1872 because of
misunderstandings in the community, and also with the
bishop. The community had by then been reinforced by new
arrivals from Pau and also from Bayonne.
Initially all these Sisters of the second and third
orders had a common residence along with the Sisters of
Bp. Michael Anthony, till the cloistered Carmel building
in Kankanady was ready to receive the cloistered nuns.
The costs of the building were met by a Belgian count
who wished to do something in memory of his daughter
Matilda de Nedunchel who had offered herself to God for
the well-being of the persecuted pope, Pius IX.
On the whole, the administration of Bp. Marie Ephrem was
a peaceful one, free from protests and agitations.
During a pastoral visitation of the diocese, in Lent the
bishop contracted malaria while at Sirva. With
presentiments that he would not recover, he made a
general confession with deep humility. He expired on
Maundy Thursday 1873.