The Discalced Carmelite presence in India dates back to the beginning of the 17°° century. The first Carmelite monastery was established at Tatta in Sind, now in Pakistan, and the Second in Goa in 1620. The missionary activities of the Carmelites extended to the great Mughal Empire at Surat, Bijapur, Mumbai, Karwar etc. The Carmelite mission work in Kerala can be traced back to 1640 when two Carmelite Priests from Goa, Fr Diego of Jesus and De. Alexis of Jesus and Mary came to Kuravilangadu with the intention of establishing a house there among the St Thomas Christians whom they considered as fruit of the works of their fore-fathers from Mount Carmel. Upon reaching Kerala, they established contact with Archdeacon Thoma Parambil and with his help they established the Confraternity of the Holy Scapular as a first step towards a Carmelite presence.

At the request of the Archdeacon Thomas Parambil, on behalf of the St Thomas Christians, Pope Alexander VII sent two groups of Discalced Carmelites to Malabar in 1656 — one under Rev. Fr Hyacinth of St Vincent, OCD by sea and another under Rev. Fr Joseph of St Mary, OCD, later known as Msgr. Joseph Sebastiani OCD by land, to settle the disputes and also to bring harmony between the St Thomas Christians and the Jesuit Archbishop of Cranganore. Though intended as a temporary mission, the Carmelite Mission in Kerala rooted itself as a permanent missionary presence. They contributed significantly to the Church in Kerala by their missionary activities, especially, in the Reunion Movement, pastoral care of the faithful, evangelization of non-Christians, formation of the native clergy, founding of the native religious congregations and socio-educational activities.



The work of the Carmelite missionaries in India would not be complete without the establishment of the Carmelite Order in our country. They opened Novitiate and a Study House in Goa exclusively for the European candidates. From there we have the two proto-martyrs of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites: Blessed Dionysius (a priest from France) and Blessed Redemptus, a Lay Brother born in Portugal.

The initial attempt to start a Novitiate for the natives in the second half of the 19th century was initiated by Rev.Fr.Aloysius Benziger OCD, later Bishop of Quilon (1905-1931) and supported by His Excellency Msgr. Ladislaus Zaleski, the Papal Delegate. The province of Flanders in Belgium took initiative to found a Novitiate House in India for the training of the natives. Thus, a group of three friars — Fr Pauline OCD and Fr Philip OCD and Br Arnold OCD from Flanders Province, reached Quilon on 14 April, 1901 with the mission of founding a Novitiate. His Excellency Msgr. Ferdinand Ossi OCD, then Bishop of Quilon received them cordially and allowed them to have a plot of land at Alenchi (Alanchicaud) near Colachal in the present Kanyakumari district of Tamilnadu.


The Varapuzha Unit — South Kerala Province

In April 1981, during the pastoral visitation, Very Rev. Fr Philip Sainz de Baranda OCD, the then Superior General, changed the internal arrangements based on the rite and region of the Province for the growth and development of Carmel in India. Thus, Varapuzha unit of the Order was formed for those members of the Latin origin from Kerala. This unit grew steadily and has become a Province and it is known today as South Kerala Province.


Tamil Nadu General Delegation — Tamilnadu Province

Tamil Nadu General Delegation was also formed in the same way with four houses from Malabar Province and two from Manjummel Province for the Tamil-speaking members from both Provinces who opted for the Tamil Nadu General Delegation. The Tamilnadu General Delegation had a phase of rapid growth and it is now the Tamilnadu Province.


Malabar Carmelite Mission of Punjab - Province of Delhi

Malabar Carmelite Mission of Punjab, in the Jalandhar Diocese was the realization of a long-cherished desire of Malabar Province to have a mission of its own in North India. The Mission had its beginning in 1979 with two friars reaching the Diocese of Jalandhar. More friars joined the mission soon and the mission flourished in spite of the challenges from within and from outside. It was the selfless dedication and commitment of our pioneer missionaries that made it a flourishing Mission. Along with the expansion of the Church, implanting of the Order was equally a concern of the missionaries. The Jalandhar mission soon became the Provincial Delegation of the Malabar Carmelite Mission. On 22 February 1994 Rev. Fr Camilo Maccise OCD, the Superior General, raised the Delegation to a Regional Vicariate under the patronage of St Therese of Lisieux. The Regional Vicariate was raised to the status of a Commissariat in 2004, and it became a Province in 2010 with the title Province of Delhi. It is in fact the fruit of the mission work of Malabar Province.

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