CMI a short 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 A.D.
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
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 See.
the sake of administration, the congregation is divided into
eight Provinces, five Vice-Provinces and one Region.
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.
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, 1941.