Mercy Alive

THE CANONIZATION OF ST. CHAVARA

VOL. 37 NO. 44

FOUNDER OF THE CARMELITES OF MARY CANONIZATION – NOVEMBER 4TH FEAST DAY – JANUARY 3RD

Father Philip Eapen, CMI will soon embark on a journey to the Vatican to witness the canonization of the founder of his order. Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara, the founder of the first Indian religious Order for men, the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI), will be canonized in Rome on November 23, 2014.

St. Chavara was born in 1805 in the Indian state of Kerala. He joined the seminary at an early age and was ordained a priest in 1829 at the age of 24. During his priesthood, St. Chavara had three great devotions. The first was his devotion to the Holy Eucharist, which was the source of his spirituality. He spent many hours before the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration. The second was his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, which he had inherited from his parents. His dedication to the Blessed Mother was instrumental in the spread of Marian devotions including the rosary and the scapular throughout his State. Third was his devotion to the Holy Family, which was a motivating force in his spiritual life.

The need for spiritual renewal inspired St. Chavara to establish two religious orders, one for men and the other for women. The Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI), the religious order for men, was established in 1831 and remains the largest religious order to originate in India. In 1866, he founded an order for women known as the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel (CMC), which now has over 7,000 nuns serving throughout the world.

St. Chavara was a reputed scholar, versatile literary genius and a charming speaker. He took pioneering steps in 1864 to establish schools as an integral part of every parish church paving the way for widespread literacy in Kerala. He also started a printing press, making available religious and devotional books to the people of his State and founded a charitable institute for the care of the sick and destitute.

St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara inspires us to be genuine disciples of the Lord, to be a people nurtured by the Lord in the Eucharist, and to have a childlike devotion to Mother Mary. He was a man of God who led a simple life and had a great vision beyond his time.

We wish Fr. Philip a wonderful, fruitful and prayerful pilgrimage to Rome on such a beautiful occasion.

St. Chavara – pray for us!

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