Saint Chavara is one of the pioneers who founded the now-existing first Indian religious Congregation.He is the visionary, who along with his confreres, initiated a great process for the renewal of the Church, both Syrian and Latin, in Kerala, through systematic faith formation, retreat preaching, Sunday Homilies, and sacramental re-vitalization of the laity, during the 19th century at a decisive era of the Church, thus becoming a great reformer and defender of the Church.
The Congregation of Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI), the first indigenous religious congregation of India, had its beginning in the first half of the 19th century. It grew out of the intense God-experience in Christ of the founding fathers -Thomas Palackal (+ 1841), Thomas Porukara (+1846) and Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara(+1871; beatified on February 8, 1986 and declared as Saint on 23.11.2014) - who were priests of the then Vicariate Apostolic of Verapoly, Kerala, of the Apostolic Church of St. Thomas Chrisians in India. Under the paternal direction and guidance of the Vicar Apostolic, Bishop Maurilius Stabilini, these men of God started a spiritual movement at Mannanam on May 11, 1831. Jacob Kanianthara, a pious layman, shared the inspiration of the founding fathers and assisted them in the foundation and growth of the congregation.
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