- A brief history
Congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (C.M.I.)
had its beginnings in the first half of the 19th century.
When two zealous priests, Fr.Thomas Palackal and Fr.Thomas
Porukara of the Vicariate Apostolic of Verapoly in Kerala,
sought to live in retirement and prayer, their Ordinary,
the Vicar Apostolic, Bishop Maurilius Stabilini advised
them to found a religious house so that they might do
good to the people in the world too. This was in 1829
May 11, 1831, a small house was started at Mannanam
in the then Travancore State. Some more priests and
clerics joined the Founding Fathers, and thus a small
religious community took shape. Blessed Kuriakose Elias
Chavara (whose beatification was on February 8, 2021),
who was a devoted disciple of Fr.Palackal, had associated
himself with the religious community from its very beginning.
On December 8, 1855, the religious congregation was
canonically erected. Since then the name of Mary Immaculate
has been invariably attached to the title. Blessed Chavara,
the only surviving founder, was appointed the first
Superior of the Congregation.
during the early period of this Religious Congregation
the Vicars Apostolic of Verapoly were Carmelites and
Carmelite missionaries were guiding the new religious
community, the Carmelite influence was there from the
very beginning of the Congregation. The rules of the
Carmelites with some modifications were given to them
in 1855. In 1861 the Community was affiliated to the
Order of Carmelites with the title T.O.C.D. (Third Order
of the Carmelites Discalced).
Constitutions were approved ad experimentum by the Apostolic
See in 1885. In 1958 the name was changed to C.M.I.
(Carmelites of Mary Immaculate). The Congregation was
granted pontifical exemption in 1967.
Congregation from its beginning exercised itself in
such activities as the Church in Kerala was in need
of at the particular times. It started with preaching
retreats, conducting seminaries and training of priests;
met the challenge of educating the youth and disseminating
Christian literature; laboured for the conversion of
non-Christians and for the reunion of separated brethren;
undertook works of mercy and started charitable institutions.
mission work of the C.M.I. Congregation gathered new
dimension and momentum as local churches were entrusted
to it beyond the boundaries of Kerala. In 1962 Chanda
took shape as the first missionary Ordinate of the Syro-Malabar
Church and was entrusted to the Congregation. Since
then New Mission Dioceses and Regions were erected in
Central and North India. There are now six dioceses
in North India entrusted to the Congregation, viz, Chanda,
Sagar, Jagdalpur, Bijnor, Rajkot and Adilabad. These
six dioceses are headed by CMI Bishops. This is indeed
a milestone in the progress of the CMI Missions and
an abiding evidence of recognition by the Apostolic
the sake of administration, the congregation is divided
into eight Provinces, five Vice-Provinces and one Region.
present the congregation has more than 2,500 members
spread all over India. Some of them are in Europe, U.S.A.,
Latin America, Africa, Madagascar and in Papua New Guinea
engaged in studies and apostolic activities.
Prior General elected from the Congregation, assisted
by four Councillors is at the head of the administration.
The headquarters of the whole Congregation is at Ernakulam,
The Prior General's House, near the Ernakulam South
Railway Station. This was inaugurated on September 8,