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Carmelite Order

Carmel : 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 Carmelites.

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 Church.
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 members.

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 other countries.

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 today.

Carmel in Western India

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 simplicity.

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.

The Padroado
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 and Cochin.

Propaganda Fide
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 politics.

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 colonization.

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 Persia.

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 1669.

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 interchangeably.

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 (1855-56).

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 missionary journeys.

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 arrangement.

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, Sion.

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 Ankola.

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 in 1884.

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 past.

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 1853.

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.




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