BLESSED LIFE

BLESSED KURIAKOSE ELIAS CHAVARA

 THE SUNSHINE OF THE INDIAN CHURCH 

His Life
 Birth          10th February 1805
 Priestly Ordination           29th November 1829
 Religious Profession of Vows           8th December 1855
 Death         3rd January 1871
 Burial         4th January 1871

Declared BLESSED by Pope John Paul II:        8th February 1986

 Postal Stamp released in his honor   by the President of India        20th December 1987

                                      Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara, one of the founding fathers and the first Superior General of C.M.I. (Carmelites of Mary Immaculate) congregation of the Catholic Church, died on January 3rd, 1871 in the odor of sanctity leaving behind him the high reputation of a very holy monk. He was declared blessed on February 8, 1986 by His Holiness Pope John Paul II.

                       His mortal remains, transferred from Koonammavu where he died, were piously  kept in the chapel of St. Joseph's Monastery, Mannanam, Kerala, India. Because of his sanctity and his showering of blessings upon those who seek the intercession of him, Mannanam has become a pilgrim centre. Hundreds of people come to the tomb of Blessed Chavara on every Saturday. The feast of Blessed Chavara is celebrated with great devotion and solemnity every year on January 3rd.

                       For what the C.M.I. congregation and the Kerala Church today is we owe a great deal to the great dreams and efforts of the great luminaries, Malpan Thomas Porukara, Malpan Thomas Palackal and Blessed Chavara the first founding Fathers and Brother Jacob Kanianthara of the C.M.I. congregation.

                        Just like his teachers, Malpan Thomas Porukara and Malpan Thomas Palackal, Blessed Chavara was a great visionary. There is no areas of human endeavour where the fingers of Blessed Chavara has not touched. To his credit there are many firsts in the history of the Kerala Church: the first indigenous religious congregation, the first Sanskrit School, the first catholic printing press, the first Indian congregation for women. He was first to edit and publish the East Syrian Breviary. He prepared the first liturgical calendar in the Malabar Church in 1862 which continued to be in use until the recent years. It was through his efforts Syriac was first printed in Kerala and the first prayer books in Malayalam were printed at Mannanam under his care.

                         Besides the first house at Mannanam, he started several religious houses in different parts of Kerala. Starting of seminaries for the education and formation of clergy, introduction of annual retreats for priests and people, starting of forty-hour adoration, a house for the dying and destitute, special attention to catechumens, schools for general education were among the few of various activities under Blessed Chavara's leadership. Besides, in 1866 with the co-operation of Fr. Leopold Beccaro O.C.D. he started the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel (C.M.C.) for women. He was the pioneer of popular education in Kerala and the one who inspired the Catholics to start schools in every parish along with their churches. That is why in Kerala schools are popularly called "Pallikkoodam" - a place for education attached to the church.

                        Amidst his diverse and manifold activities, he found time and leisure to write a few books, both prose and verse, for the benefit of the faithful. His counsels to the christian families given in the form of a "Testament of a Loving Father" are universally applicable and are relevant to this day. Essentially a man prayer and intense charity, he stayed in close communion with the Lord, amidst his several religious and social activities, permeating his spirituality to all around him, so much so that he was accepted and referred to as a man of God, from his early years.

 
 
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